A nice lightly-insulated soft-shell jacket from Patagonia.
Fabric: stretch-woven nylon
Fill: light fleece
Price Paid: $150
A nice lightly-insulated soft-shell jacket from Patagonia. By spring 2010, I believe it's been discontinued, so you can probably find one on sale or clearance -- for a while -- if you're interested.
Summary: it's a soft-shell stretchy outer fabric bonded to a light layer of fleece (on the interior). It's nicely cut and offers an excellent array of pockets. It's quite wind-proof, pretty water-resistant, pretty breathable, and warm enough for spring/fall cool conditions.
The fleece interior allows me to wear it without any warm underlayers down to about 45 deg F. Any colder, I'll need to wear warm layers underneath. It's comfortable up to about 60 def F. Any warmer, I'm too sweaty.
I believe the main fabric used is Malden's PolarTech PowerShield. I believe it's a stretch-woven nylon with a 'discontinuous' polyurethane membrane bonded to a light fleece. This gives it excellent wind-proofness and water-resistance. It also has a DWR coating that helps promote water beading up and rolling off. However, it's not fully waterproof. Extended exposure to hard rain and it will eventually soak through.
The flip side of this combination of factors is breathability. This jacket is not nearly as breathable as some other soft-shell jackets I've worn that have no polyurethane membrane. So it's the usual trade off. This jacket lands on the more warmer, more weather-resistant, less breathable side of the spectrum.
My favorite features: it's a nice combination of warmth and weather protection for a large part of the fall, winter and spring. Certainly not the coldest days of winter, and certainly not the warmer days of late spring and summer. But very comfortable for much of the year. I also love the pockets. Two external reach-across mounted high, and two hand-warmers mounted low. Very useful. The fit is fine for me. Somewhat of an 'athletic' fit, but not too tight.
My nit-picks: the fabric is a bit thick and stiffer than I'd like. For the most part it doesn't amount to much of an inconvenience; but, the wrist cuffs closure tabs are made of the same fabric, and it makes the wrist cuffs a bit uncomfortable and bulky. Also, as I mentioned above, it would be nice if the jacket breathed a bit better.
All in all though, I definitely would recommend this jacket to a friend.
This is an excellent soft-shell. This jacket does…
Price Paid: $150
This is an excellent soft-shell. This jacket does what every good soft-shell should do, which is keep you comfortable in a wide range of conditions. The DWR finish repels all but the heaviest of precip. The jacket is comfortable in temps ranging from 30-60 F if you're stationary, and 15-50 F when active. Throw on a quality base layer and this jacket will keep you warm in even lower temps.
Most of what I could review about the Talus would follow along the same stuff people say about any quality soft-shell. It definitely has a high quality feel. It has a great athletic fit and is quite stretchy. The Talus cuts the wind, the zippers are smooth and the looks are great.
If you are in the market for a versatile soft-shell to wear on the mountain or even just around town, give this one a look.