Forums The Gear Room Spring touring shell
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    24 Posts

    Looking at buying a shell for spring splitting (and hiking to upper elevations to split). Looking for proven shells that people have actually been using and enjoying, not what the companies profess.

    I’m looking at the Marmot “Stretch Man Jacket” and the Marmot “Interfuse Jacket”. I like Marmot because their gear is cheap and I’ve used their rain pants for years. But I’m open to suggestions.

    679 Posts

    If so, fabric preferences (Gore, Neoshell, Event, Membrain, etc)?
    Weight range (in ounces or grams)?
    Price range?
    Waist or hip cut?
    Pocket configuration?
    Room for a puffy or ‘athletic’ fit?
    Need pit zips?

    291 Posts

    What shell do you use in winter?
    Why not use the same shell?

    My choice for 4 seasons: Norrona Lofoten ProShell Jacket.
    Lightweight (approx. 550g) and packable,
    snow-skirt (removable),
    great hood that fits to a helmet as well,
    long arms,
    very long pit zips.

    Terribly expensive, unfortunately.

    For very cold temperatures in winter I combine it with a lightweight fleece jacket.

    24 Posts

    Waterproof would be nice. Yet nothing is actually waterproof, so I would like it to shed rain and snow well and wick moisture well.

    The venting thing is probably more important for me. So I’d like pit zips. The Marmot Stretch Man that I mentioned has pit zips that cut out toward your stomach area for “Core Zonal Venting”. I usually sweat because of my pack. There is no way to not sweat when you are booting up a couloir with your split on your back.

    Anyway. I tend to run hot and therefore I’m usually in my cap baselayer when other people are still skinning or hiking with their insulating layers on.

    Just looking for some opinions and stoke on shells. So I’d just like to hear someone say that “I like x jacket because…”

    163 Posts
    875 Posts

    @jondub wrote:

    The venting thing is probably more important for me. So I’d like pit zips.

    If you really want some major pit/core zips, check out some of the Outdoor Research offerings such as the Furio. They make a side zip that runs from your bicep all the way down to the waist hem, and can be left completely open on both side much like a poncho if desired. I had an older model with this feature and loved the way it could dump some serious heat, unfortunately my jacket was stolen…still pissed about that. :nononno: OR stuff is bomber, and their customer service is top notch. Happy hunting.

    165 Venture Divide/Spark Frankenburners/La Sportiva Spantiks
    163W Jones Solution/Phantom Alphas/Dynafit TLT5s
    162 Furberg


    1490 Posts

    For spring I like to use a softshell, my favorite is the Arcteryx powershield ones with hood (Gamma MX I think…). Then, for full bombproof protection, I would also carry a fully waterproof lightweight shell, the best is probably the Arcteryx Beta FL, with the new super breathable Gore Tex. I do not have the Beta FL, but I sure want it!
    Like all Arcteryx stuff, this is an expensive solution, but you only live once… I think the Beta FL could be a suitable shell for all winter long, weighs around 11 ounces, and of course has great warranty backing form Arcteryx (as it should for the money).

    7 Posts

    For spring conditions, I prefer a softshell as well. It has the versatility to shed snow/light rain or use as insulation on colder days. The only downfall is that it is heavier and bulkier than a true shell, but since it could replace two layers, that could balance out. Marmot gear seems to fit me well and I love my Rom Jacket. I find myself bringing it more often than my Arcteryx ProShell, especially since it breathes better. Mine is a few years old so they may have something better out now (pit zips would be nice).

    46 Posts

    I’ve been using a HH Odin Mountain jacket two years now and been very happy with it.
    I’ve had gore pro-shell before and found the breathability ok, but not great.
    Event breathed well, but the seam tape on pants and jacket rolled off (stoic and REI brands).
    The HH fabric breathes better then gore or event without a doubt. Even if I do sweat moderately heavily I find myself dry again quite fast. That being said if it’s not windy and over 25 degrees my shell just stays clipped on my pack for the tour up.

    The pit zips open well with a pack on and the 4 front pockets also double as vents. It is quite light and packs well. Another bonus is that the fabric has a slight stretch to it also, never felt constricted by my shell.

    My only gripe is that the fabric around the collar has pilled up, but that’s expected with a beard of sand paper. Also the arm pocket is just slightly too small for my radio to fit in.

    369 Posts

    I sware by my rab latok alpine for 4 seasons in the North East. It Breaths and repels water in the worst conditions. It’s not my favorite to ride in, it’s a short cut, but it’s light, packable, and reliable. If you don’t mind black, they are normally on sale for under 200. They don’t have pit zips but I’ve never missed them on this jacket. It’s a minimalist shell designed to save your ass in any weather, in my opinion. I got worked up because they wouldn’t warranty some pack rub on the jacket, but after two seasons, it hasn’t been an issue.

    298 Posts

    I wouldn’t really get a hardshell for those conditions. Unless you expect a lot of rain, a softshell will breathe better and be waterproof enough. They are also more comfortable to wear.

    Untill you’ve tried a good softshell you won’t believe me though. I use hardshell pants (because your knees and ass get wet from sitting in wet snow) but wear only a softshell jacket most of the time even though I have a gore-tex shell too.

    Marmot has some nice softshells too, the Nabu has Neoshell fabric but is also expensive. The cheaper ones are slightly less waterproof, but unless you’re walking in the rain for hours they will keep you dry.

    Gore X-Fast is supposed to be very nice material for softshells, but I haven’t tried it myself.

    794 Posts

    Consider Mountain Hardware Dry Q:,default,pg.html

    After seven straight days touring in a Dry Q jacket I’m now a devotee. It breathes as well or nearly as well as many soft shells (that I’ve used), is waterproof and far lighter. I run hot too; I had remarkably few layer additions or subtractions (some days none at all) while wearing it over a base layer uphill and down on long days with wide temp swings.



    I love my patagonia triolet shell, Its a hard shell (oficially) but it breathes well… I would also look at the Patagonia Mixed Guide Jacket, and the Patagonia Knifeblade Pullover….(yes, a pullover) both of these are incredible shells, and the knifeblade combined with a down jacket would be a great deep winter setup aswell.

    820 Posts

    I second DryQ Elite. It works great for me, and I wear it generally up to 40ish degrees and it breathes awesome. Warmer than that, a windbreaker may be best for straight up spring skiing, just due to the thickness.

    Normally in spring I tour in a tshirt, and keep a jacket in my pack if wind / weather comes in.

    151 Posts

    If you can get it on sale, the patagucci super alpine jacket is awesome. It weighs about half as much as my old burton hover shell (also goretex pro-shell), but is just as tough. It’s designed for ice climbing but I think it’s really well suited to touring.

    I use it in any conditions, spring or deep winter.

    The hood is great, it’ll cover your beanie and cinch up, but it’s also big enough to go over a helmet.

    The chest pockets are huge.

    Of course it’s got pit zips too.

    It doesn’t zip into pants, so I’d recommend wearing it with bibs in powder.

    194 Posts

    I have the Stoic Stash which has been pretty good, especially since I got it for $75. Plenty of Stoic love as well as some Stoic hate on other threads. Make no mistake that this jacket is on the flimsy side. Earlier in the season I caught a tree branch and shredded mine nearly in half but the return policy had me a new jacket inside of a week. The upside is that it’s freaking light as hell and packs tiny. Breathability is OK, it’s a little light on pockets (I miss having an outer chest pocket), it has long pit zips for ventilation. I’ve worn the replacement probably 40 days this season with no more trouble from -5 F to +40 F but I don’t recommend it for super cold days… I just now checked on and it’s up to $140 so not sure it’s such a great deal at that price. Also, they only have XL which is fine for me as it runs small. It seems to be discontinued, but hey, as long as they have enough inventory left to keep replacing mine as I destroy them, I’m happy.

    Also, one of the reviewer comments is all-time, “Buy this jacket or the model wearing the green jacket in the photo will find you and shatter your kneecaps.”

    167 furberg
    163/26 Venture Helix

    29 Posts

    I work for a large online retailer so I have the opportunity to try clothing way beyond my price bracket. I have the Arcteryx Beta FL in the quiver. For spring riding it is incredible. Super light and very breathable. So breathable I would suggest it as a summer rain shell. Its safe to say its waterproof too. Due to its breathability it is not a good jacket for standing around in. You get cold fast. Its also a slim fitting piece so my puffy normally goes on over it when I’m cold.

    The key to this jacket is the GORE active shell. Although Arcteryx has the best lines on their retail prices are insane. Mountain Equipment has the firelite jacket. Same GORE active shell a little less attractive lines (who cares) way cheaper.

    Hate to be stuck in the backcountry with either of these shells overnight, but when it comes to breathability you can beat active shell.

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