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soft shell recs?

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looking at mammut laser (schoeller®-WB-400 NanoSphere® dryskin extreme)

mammut ultimate hoody (windstopper)

or else something else that is powershield based (backcountry.com shift welder..millet super touring jacket, arcy gamma mx if i can find it in my size/discounted).

 

seems like powershield stacks up a little better on the water resistance than windstopper? i read people here rave about the schoeller stuff but have never had anything made out of it.

mostly for use in winter/spring volcano snow stuff. my fiance has the ultimate womens hoody from a few years ago and I think it seems pretty awesome, but would be curious to hear gearheads take on those 3 materials &/or those jackets? at the end of the day I think I'd be happy with any of those materials. right now I have an rab latok alpine (or whatever the slightly dumbed down version is) as my shell in winter, and use a marmot windshirt a lot when its warmer.

 

thanks for any feedback

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Best piece of winter clothing I own for climbing....gamma MX hoody....but no way I'd ever pay retail for one.

 

backcountry.com in SLC had been my go to store for the MX....but you have to be quick on sizes when the stuff goes on sale for 50% off. Google search is your best bet.

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The Arcteryx Epsilon series is some noname fabric and hence is a lot more affordable than the Gamma (Poweshield) or Venta (windstopper) (eg.)

 

Worth a look IMHO.

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The Arcteryx Epsilon series is some noname fabric and hence is a lot more affordable than the Gamma (Poweshield) or Venta (windstopper) (eg.)

 

Worth a look IMHO.

 

Don't think Epsilon has any stretch though. Last time I tried one on I felt like I was in a straightjacket.

 

The MEC powershield jackets have always treated me well. I have an old version with welded seams that must have over 200 days on it and I'm dreading the day it finally gives out.

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'Tis true that the Epsilon is not stretchy. It's not very warm. It's only moderately wind resistant and doesn't repel water as well as other soft shells. That being said, it costs way less than most others, and of the 6 soft shell jackets I own it is the one I wear the most. If you don't want to be the Imelda Marcos of soft shells, there are many options that do it all well.

 

The best soft shell jacket I ever owned was made by Beyond Fleece. This is like the Feathered Friends of soft shells. Their factory is in Seattle and they make custom tailored clothing to your measurements. For a measly $184 I bought a Schoeller WB-400 jacket with watertight zipper from these guys. The fit was superb, the water resistance good, the breathability good, warmth was fine for fall/winter/spring. It was pretty damn tough.

 

Not many manufacturers are using WB-400, which is a bit puzzling, because it is a great fabric.

 

Check out Beyond Fleece, although it can be tempting to start adding options. All the pockets, extra zips, and nifty features sound cool but you don't need them and they add to the cost/complexity/weight/price quickly.

 

Party on, Garth.

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I would get the one that fits you better/is cheaper if they both fit. Haven't tried the Laser, but it looks comparable to my vote for the Gamma MX.

 

I love my Gamma MX Hoody (so much I have a non-hoody on the way). Powershield is a great fabric, not waterproof, but very weather-proof. Breathable and 98% windproof last I heard. I've been using mine for ~5 years of ice and probably have ~150 days on it including a Denali trip.

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The new offerings from Stoic (The housebrand of Backcountry.com) are nothing short of amazing.

 

Impeccable construction, excellent fit, etc.

 

The only test remaining is actually getting them out in some real inclement weather. I've been too busy with work and havent made it outside since the weather got real cold. However, around town, they've been fantastic.

 

This weekend I've got a 2 day tour coming up, and also a day of ice climbing in the catskills. I'll come back with a full report afterwards.

 

They're also pretty damn inexpensive - definitely better than Mammut or Arcteryx.

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I'm in the market for a similar jacket. hood required. about to pull the trigger on a Cloudveil Firsturn hoody. May want to give a look. Clouveil is a long time user of Schoeller and now using their own version. I have always liked the schoeller material over the powershield, but that's just me.

 

Anyone used this jacket yet? ton cheaper than the Arcteryx or Mammut

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Norrona Falketind softshell and the Patagonia ascensionist are my current favorites.

 

I did like my gamma mx hoody, but found it to be pretty heavy, and when it got wet it held water like a sponge.

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thanks for your feedback everyone--like I said in the first post, i have little doubt either would be great. Found the mammut laser in my size for $200 and just waiting for it show up in today's mail, hopefully.

 

john h -- any feedback on your trip with the stoic gear? I like bc.com stuff for sure, but stoic hasn't sold me for any particular reason. Plus I have to say I have found the fit to be funny on a number of bc.com long-sleeve things -- I think they must model it for their workers who must be bean poles--i tried a few of their shirts on and the sleeves came down to my 2nd knuckles, tight in the armpits, and hung down to my crotch--i couldn't imagine who it would fit since i am of normal proportions (5'8" 150) so long as you're not paying MSRP on mammut or arcy gear, its about the same price as stoic. but I'd love ot hear more firsthand opinions of field use of the stoic gear that aren't all bc.com employee raves

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The best soft shell jacket I ever owned was made by Beyond Fleece. This is like the Feathered Friends of soft shells. Their factory is in Seattle and they make custom tailored clothing to your measurements. For a measly $184 I bought a Schoeller WB-400 jacket with watertight zipper from these guys. The fit was superb, the water resistance good, the breathability good, warmth was fine for fall/winter/spring. It was pretty damn tough.

 

Not many manufacturers are using WB-400, which is a bit puzzling, because it is a great fabric.

 

Check out Beyond Fleece, although it can be tempting to start adding options. All the pockets, extra zips, and nifty features sound cool but you don't need them and they add to the cost/complexity/weight/price quickly.

 

Party on, Garth.

 

Have to second on the Beyond jacket. Had one for four years - needless to say it fits better than an off-the-rack. Looks like they have updated their line significantly since I purchased.

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It kinda depends on what you want it for. IMHO a soft shell shouldn't be your last line of defense (especially in the cascades wetness). I personally can't justify spending hundreds (even with a pro deal) on something that a gortex shell combined with a mid weight soft shell can do better, but thats just me. I've found that a mid weight Marmot softshell with windstopper is great for a huge number of tasks in the mountains. Don't get me wrong- if someone wants to give me a arcteryk softshell I'll take it and use the crap out of it. :)

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mammut lasers for cheap on ebay

 

sorry if this has been around the block on here before. Of course I'm extremely skeptical that this is the same as designer products on sale for $30 in NYC--the whole 'too good to be true' deal. Only caveat in my mind is that mammut makes their stuff in china -- and it wouldnt surprise me if someone was able to get it for dirt cheap or somehow acquire legitimate product from the production facilities. The other factor is, they have good feedback so 1) they have manufactured tons of false accounts/coordinated with other scammers to get lots of good feedback 2) the people they sell knock-offs to are too stupid to realize/notice the diff 3) a combination of 1 & 2?

 

thoughts anyone?

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right, i have to doubt it is legit but the positive feedback on other products + the fact that the legit ones are made in china, one wonders. If they only had 5 positive feedback reviews and 1 negative, I'd say its a scam, but they have a good amount.

 

i think the best test would be to compare it to one from a local vendor in the NW, as far as stitching, stretch, patterns on fabric, zipper appearance, etc. Then the second test would be under the faucet or showerhead..

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Ebay has become a mecca for fake items, I've read estimates of up to 90% of North Face jackets being fake, especially the "Buy It Now" listings. Being this is from China and dirt cheap I wouldn't go near it. Better to try and catch sales and clearances with Sierra Trading, Backcountry,etc. You'll pay more but you'll know what you are getting and have the refund/exchange option. My 2 cents.

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In every major Chinese city there is a open market area where you can buy North Face, Patagonia or any legit western brand name with world wide brand name recognition out of open air stalls. All rip offs and all pennies on the dollar. Easy to "rip off" as most of the brand names they are selling are also manufactured in China. Local population loves the stuff and its generally worth what you pay for it.

 

In person we bought some great designer clothing really cheap but no way I would do it over the Internet. Stuff is generally made only in sizes for the locals. That often means a XXL is a medium or worse. My wife's ankle length leather coat, while beautiful, is a XXXL which is just barely big enough. And she wears a 6!

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thanks for the good words blunorthern and dane. I picked up a Laser for $200 from altrec a little bit ago, and am satisfied with it. stumbled across this today and wondered, would make sense that there would be facilities just for knocking off designs..

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I own a "real" Laser (well, I assume it's real as it was bought at a major outdoor store etc.). The fabric is absolutely incredible and the fit is excellent for climbing. For daily duty, I was bothered by the lack of extra pockets. Also, the sizing was on the small side, which again, was perfect for climbing, but shitty for layering and when used as a "car coat".

 

When I saw the ebay jackets, i thought I'd risk the $35 and spring for one size larger. What I received *appears* to be authentic right down to the smallest detail (zipper pulls, hang tag, etc). However it is NOT the same jacket. Similar, but different in several regards. One possibility which I've considered is whether the ebay Lasers are the earlier "laser light" which comes up on some reviews found by googling. Or perhaps some other discontinued product etc.

 

Unfortunately the ebay laser was missing some of the best features of the USA Laser, such as the thumbloops. I've now replaced it with a MH Manticore (no longer made) which I'm very happy with for general outdoors duty.

 

YMMV....

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interesting. Thank you for sharing! Now that I look closer in the pictures I can see indeed the cuff is different. What other differences have you noticed/features missing? does the fabric bead water well/stitching look to be on par with your store-bought laser?

 

again, thanks for your feedback.

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