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Christo
29
May 24, 2018
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Can we have some context for the jackets use? I use different jackets depending on the conditions and look for different features depending on the intended use of the jacket. As an example; pit zips are nice to have in a rain shell but useless in a down jacket being used for warmth or using a 2.5/3 layer membrane fabric on a down jacket would also be unnecessary but important for a rain shell. Heck even the denier of the fabric would differ depending on what it was intended to be used for (wind shirt, rain shell, down, apx, etc).
May 24, 2018
Duncan
3636
May 24, 2018
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I think you're right in asking this as the interest check is definitely broad. Would love to hear what you prefer for different situations.
May 24, 2018
Christo
29
May 24, 2018
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Rain shell for expected wet conditions I prefer a silnylon fabric (like Anti-Gravity Gear's) with pit zips as it is far more waterproof than a 2.5/3 layer garment and will vent better. If the conditions only reflect intermittent or emergency rain protection a jacket like the OR Helium II is more than sufficient and is typically what I bring being in So Cal. Hard shell for snow/cold wet conditions I would move towards a 2.5/3 layer garment with pit zips. I haven't had a chance to try out any of the new dyneema laminated fabrics and the new membrane on the outside fabrics such as what The North Face, Columbia, etc offer concern me as I feel that backpack straps will wear out the exposed membrane - waiting to see some more real world use on these fabrics until I spend the money on one.
Wind shirts I typically like any type of calendered 10d (15d would be the highest I would go) fabric such as the Copperfield made by Enlightened Equipment, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite, etc. Not sure on the 7d fabrics, they seem to be a good active layer but not as good at blocking the wind which for me is more important given my typical conditions and use of a wind shirt - which is usually only at rest.
For an insulation jacket I tend to lean more towards something around a 10d fabric for down jackets as they tend to be more downproof than a 7d. If I'm using an Apex or similar synthetic fill jacket then the lower denier fabric is fine as I don't have to worry about it being downproof. I will usually always lean towards the lightest fabric for my insulation layer so it's more breathable and less overall weight since the jacket typically stays in my pack except when at camp. The fabric does not need to be waterproof, a dwr coating is fine but again not necessary as my shell will handle that job.
Again all of this depends on the trip's location and expected conditions as to what I'll bring. But generally speaking since the majority of my trips are pretty rain free I carry a OR Helium II or MH Ghost Lite wind jacket and either a down jacket or down vest. Although I've come really close to buying some of the new Apex and wind shirt/pant items from EE and Nunatak.
May 24, 2018
Duncan
3636
May 24, 2018
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Greatly appreciate the thorough response! Think I've learned a thing or two as well.
May 24, 2018
Christo
29
May 24, 2018
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Good to hear, I forgot about softshells but wasn't sure if that was part of this question or not. But just to throw it out there, I absolutely love my MH Super Chockstone jacket. I don't take it backpacking but for day hiking, general town wear or for trips to the snow it's a great jacket that pairs well with fleece.
Hmm, should we also delve into fleece jackets? :-)
May 24, 2018
Duncan
3636
May 24, 2018
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Yes we shall!
May 24, 2018
Christo
29
May 24, 2018
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Here comes the great Melanzama debate, lol
In all honesty though since they've been shut down for online ordering and given that their stuff has become very trendy in the UL world it might be a good idea to do a drop with them if possible.
Just whatever you do, do not do a drop with Luke's Ultralight. Even the laundry short drops create quite an uproar given how many people he's burned recently. Sad because he made great gear.
May 24, 2018
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