In for review, VauDe's new winter shell made with the acclaimed Polartec NeoShell fabric.
Polartec's new NeoShell fabric is rapidly carving out a reputation as arguably the most breathable waterproof fabric out there and has already landed several awards, but there aren't actually that many NeoShell garments around in the UK, so we jumped at the opportunity to take a look at the new VauDe Alpamayo Jacket.
Backer Adds Insulation
Like Rab's Stretch Neo jacket we reviewed recently, the Alpamayo uses NeoShell, but in this case, the tough-feeling face fabric is backed up with a soft synthetic backer which gives the fabric even more of a soft shell feel and adds a little insulation.
For some users that'll make it a tad warm, but if this winter's anything like the last two, it may actually prove to be spot on worn over a cold weather base layer. You'd expect a weight penalty too and there is one, but at 650g for a medium, we'd sayj that the extra grammage isn't excessive and will probably pay for itself in extra warmth.
On top of that, the very breathable fabric should help to balance the extra insulation when you're working hard.
The jacket itself is pretty striking, with proper soft shell-esque looks. Seams look to be bonded with external taping, zips are full-on water reistant ones on both pockets and main opening, cuffs, hood and hems are all adjustable with the shock cords for the hem accessed through the hand-warmer pockets, which is neat.
Sort Of Water-Proof Soft Shell?
Once on, the jacket does a nice job of feeling both soft and tough at the same time with the stretch in the fabric and articulated sleeves and a shaped, but not over-snug fit working nicely. The hood fits well and while the peak isn't wired, it's still pretty stiff.
Our first thoughts are that the Alpamayo should, with its high breathability levels, work well as an all-mountain in a soft shell-esque snowy winter environment, but with added waterproofness meaning it'll be able to double as a straight waterproof when it's cold and damp – counterbalance the extra warmth of the liner, by subtracting other layers.
The looks are quite distinctive and we suspect you'll either love 'em or hate 'em, but if what you're after is a full-on winter soft shell-type garment that's also genuinely waterproof, take a look. Price is a thought-provoking £370.
More details from www.vaude.com