This summer I want to buy some non-membrane soft for backpacking and climbing. What are your types?
For summer I'm mainly inclined to go for lighter and just some sort of windshell, though one with stuff like map size pockets. Rab's Alpine looks good for that, I have a Rohan Windshadow which I like.
Peter has your nice orange Ready Mix gone to that great gear shop in the sky or does it still get the occasional trot out?
I use it remarkably often. It's my default cycle jacket when it's cool and while my walking is rather curtailed by family commitments at the mo, when we're out I'm quite likely to take it (don't want to put off the kids by going out on miserable days). The Windshadow starting to take over now it's warming up a bit but it's just that bit chunkier when the weather's not so nice.
I originally thought it would be a bit of a niche item but it's got a very large amount of wear, primarily on the bike.
It is easily my most used item in spring and autumn (for walking). It's just a very breathable, comfortable, light jacket.
In winter I am a Paramo convert and try to wear my Alta II as long as I can (just easier to not worry about carrying or wearing a hard shell).
But about this time of year I start to switch to the Ready Mix. It's had one outing so far but it is looking like back to Paramo this weekend!
I bought in a sale but I been pleasantly surprised with the Montane Krypton. Its a minimum-insulation wicking liner stitched to Pertex "Classic" (it says on the sleeve). Not worth the RRP: £90 but at the £40 I paid, is fair and its one of those surprisingly "just right", it needs to be cool to be active, about 45F. So for summer, you're talking walking in damp fog/hill-cloud type cold. In summer if sun shining, I think that's a thin base with a windproof packed?
Krypton has an excellent stiffened hood and not flappy, its much tighter than the Litespeed, probably as its a next-to-skin type role.
Well you asked I know I did one before, but some more have sprung up with the new spring/summer ranges about.
Firstly 'real' softshells:
ME_Javelin, ME_Orbital, Haglofs_Boa, Haglofs_Krait, RAB_Fusion, RAB_Scimitar, Montane_Dyno, Rohan_Windshadow, Norrona_Falk_Flex1 , Pataguiici_SimpleGuide, Klattermusen_Frode, Fjallraven_Kalfjall, Bergans_Microlight, Marmot_Tempo
I did link a bunch of hooded windshirts too but you can find them all if you search those websites (well dead bird do one too.). And there's lots more.
It'd be really silly to pretend to be able to reccomend something from such a long, far from exhaustive list with considerably varying fits, weights functionality etc.
Pataguicci just keep canning soft shells for no obvious reason. Like the ascenionist which got terrific reviews but..... Or those powershield pro things they briefly did this winter!
Rab's Scimitar and ME's Javelin and Orbital jackets are quite similar in overall design and concept to the Ready Mix. On paper I prefer the Rab because I like pockets I can warm my hands up in.
But that'd be a bit chunky for summer (assuming we reckon summer == "reasonaly warm"), as is the Ready Mix. Great for Autumn through to Spring with an extra mid layer in winter. There will surely be summer days when they'd be great but you can get away with half the weight on nicer days.
Montane dyno might fit the bill.
Not wind proof, but fairly wind resistant (for a certain value of "fairly").
Not particularly warm.
Two fairly high (above belt) handwarmer-style pockets that can easily take maps.
Hood with wired peak - works quite well but would not be helmet compatable.
I also use it as a midlayer underneath paramo in cooler conditions. I guess it is probably about as warm as paramo, but not windproof
"Flexable" is just Haglofs name for their own brand soft shell fabrics.
I have Haglofs Ibex II pants made from their Flexable fabric. Great trousers but for winter, I think it is much more towards the chunkier end of the spectrum.
If you look at their jackets, Lizard for example weighs 135g/m2.
The Vig Hood weighs 230g/m2.
Both made of Flexable.
Well the Vig is flexable pro == windstopper relative. The main Lizard flexable fabric is ~205 g/m2 and they use that one on quite a few things now.
At least they give good fabric info on the website so a chance to sort it all out so long as you're careful.
Like Haglofs as per normal I think. Fairly tall/thin as befits a Scandinavian brand, but not extreme.
As Peter noted above, for summer, they're probably still a little bit too warm/heavy to be ideal. Their hooded shield jacket - here - is basically a fancy midweight hooded windshell and would be much easier to pack etc.
But then maybe your summer means Spring/Autumn here
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