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 Post subject: Pants.....soft-shell or hard-shell?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:28 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:39 am
Posts: 147
What's your preferred coverage?

Hard-shell with leg zips?
Soft-shell for stretch and breathability?

me:
Burton AK 3-ply Goretex for inbounds and some BC
Patagonia White Smoke for long hot BC (would be interesed in hearing about baggier pants...the WS are snug around the boots)

you?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm
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Location: California
I've always liked and used the Burton AK 3layer pants but over the last couple of years they (burton) seemed to have lost focus on who the line was designed for. I didn't care for last year's model but I have this years and it looks like they are getting back on track.

I have a pair of softshell pants too (MH Synchro) but haven't used them because they are too long for my short frame. It seems like having a hardshell and softshell pant for different conditions would be a great way to go if you can afford it. I believe Mammut makes a nice softshell pant that has a baggier cuff. Just say NO to the tight cuffed, skier look! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:46 pm 
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Location: Meyers, CA
What's up with the new fabric on those burton pants? I've seen them called "soft shell." I sort of suspect that's more of a marketing label and less a description of how well they breathe, but it would be nice if someone offered a soft shell pant that didn't make you look like a rando racer.

This is from the mgear website...

"Fully taped Gore-Tex® Soft-Touch 3-layer soft shell fabric offers the uncompromising waterproof protection and breathability of traditional Gore-Tex, but with a softer, more comfortable feel"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:00 pm
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Location: Northern CA
dishwasher-dave wrote:
What's up with the new fabric on those burton pants? I've seen them called "soft shell." I sort of suspect that's more of a marketing label and less a description of how well they breathe, but it would be nice if someone offered a soft shell pant that didn't make you look like a rando racer.

This is from the mgear website...

"Fully taped Gore-Tex® Soft-Touch 3-layer soft shell fabric offers the uncompromising waterproof protection and breathability of traditional Gore-Tex, but with a softer, more comfortable feel"


Read my response to another thread about mis-marketing of SoftShell fabrics!!! Gore-Tex SoftShell is the same thing!!!

Yoda wrote:
Here's a prime example of a soft-hand hardshell (softshell with a coating or membrain). Unfortunately the outdoor industry has capitalized on the softshell buzz and are now misleading the market... a consumer may be buying a (marketed) softshell garment that is no different from a hardshell.
Marmot, for example, is touting this Genesis jacket as a softshell... it is not. It's using Marmot's proprietary waterproof/breathable fabric - Tropo N-740SWPB – a (so called) softshell fabric with a stretch nylon woven face, polyester fleece back and with Marmot's MemBrain lamination. Mammut's Motion jacket is a hardshell using panels of Gore XCR stretch fabric that is constructed with a stretch nylon woven face with XCR lamination. Other than the lack of a fleece backing, you can see there is no difference between these two constructions, however the Marmot is marketed as softshell - whats up with that? Perfect example of mismarketing!
Just about every high-end clothing company makes a soft-hand hardshell, but other than a softer hand and maybe better abrasion resistance, there is no difference from this construction to a traditional hardshell. Both perform the same! I'm not saying this is a bad construction, it's just poorly marketed. For someone that likes some of the properties of a softshell, but is not ready to give up rain-proofness, then these soft-hand hardshells are the perfect answer. Something to think about!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:53 pm 
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Here's two more of my responses from other threads that address SoftShell fabrics!!!

Yoda wrote:
Scooby2 implied that softshell construction in pants was not favorable for wet conditions.
I wated to clarify the softshell term. True softshells have no coatings or membrains and no seam tape for waterproofness. As Scooby said in really wet weather they can get soaked. Unfortunately the clothing industry has capitalized on the softshell buzz and now are offing waterproof/breathable softshells - which are really a soft-hand hardshells. Gore is a perfect example of this mis-marketing. However some true softshells are more water resistant than others (i.e. Schoeller WB-400 vs. Dryskin) and hybrid construction gives you complete security when it gets wet. Mammut makes full softshell pants for someone looking for max breathablity all the way to full Gore XCR or Gore Softshell (both in 3-ply) which is a completely waterproof/breathable for wet and nasty conditions.
One fact about true softshells - if you are really working hard and putting off a lot of heat and sweat, I promise that you will stay dryer than in a hard shell in wet weather and without having to open vents... the reason is your body is working and with the true softshell design, it allows for that heat to release and creates a blowdryer effect to the fabric -constantly drying it out. If your just standing there in the rain or wet snow not moving for a long period of time then you could get wet.


Yoda wrote:
If the description states anything about a laminate (Gore Windstopper) or a coating then its more of a hardshell. A true hardshell actually has sealed seams. A Windstopper jacket is deemed as water resistant/wind proof because the seams are not sealed.

Look for jackets made with only "stretch/woven contructions". Schoeller and Malden Mills (Polartec) are the leading brand name fabrics using this construction. Patagonia, Mammut, and The North Face - just to name a few, also offer their own propriety versions (Japanese made) of stretch/woven fabrics. Most fabrics are available with insulation options (various weights of fleece linings).

There are some variations of true softshells that lend to either more water resistance or more breatheability The so called coatings used on Polartec Power Shield and Schoeller WB-400 is the glue for the layered constuction. It does somewhat reduce the breatheability, but it is more water/wind resistant... where as Polartec Power Shield Light and Schoeller Dryskin or Dynamic are just a single woven layer and offer more breatheability.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:00 pm
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Location: Northern CA
Check out Hybrid constructed pants... you get best of both worlds!!! 8)

Waterproof/breathable fabric in the key areas (i.e. knees & butt) and breathable/stretchy softshell fabric everywhere else. :D

Mammut, Arcteryx, Patagonia and a few others make pants with this type of construction. :mrgreen:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 12:29 pm
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Location: Bend, OR
so your telling me that if a softshell jacket/pant has a DWR coating then it's no longer a "True softshell". WFT?

Do you realize that over 90% of all "softshells" have some sort of DWR coating? DryTech, 3X Dry, Nanosphere, all of that stuff is DWR.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:02 pm 
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dishwasher-dave wrote:
What's up with the new fabric on those burton pants? I've seen them called "soft shell." I sort of suspect that's more of a marketing label and less a description of how well they breathe, but it would be nice if someone offered a soft shell pant that didn't make you look like a rando racer.

This is from the mgear website...

"Fully taped Gore-Tex® Soft-Touch 3-layer soft shell fabric offers the uncompromising waterproof protection and breathability of traditional Gore-Tex, but with a softer, more comfortable feel"


Hi Dave,

Mgear is either selling last years AK pants or they just haven't updated the product description for this year. Burton did use that Gore soft-touch stuff in the past (2006) but its not being used in this year's line. I have last year's pant and never used them because of the shell fabric and overall design.

I also have this year's AK 3layer pant and they are using a much stiffer (almost too stiff) and more durable shell fabric this year. The design is getting back on track to what the AK line should represent (in my opinion) but it still has a way to go. An example being…the pants have six pockets…do we really need six pockets! They should keep the cargo and front pockets and lose the back pockets.

jlag wrote:
WFT?


What F*ck The??? ;)

jlag wrote:
so your telling me that if a softshell jacket/pant has a DWR coating then it's no longer a "True softshell".

Do you realize that over 90% of all "softshells" have some sort of DWR coating? DryTech, 3X Dry, Nanosphere, all of that stuff is DWR.


I think the point Yoda was trying to make in his rant was more about laminates in softshells and less about the outer coatings (dwr). His point is that once you add a laminate (gore tex) to a softshell it no longer is a softshell…it's really a hardshell with a soft face fabric. Yoda may feel the same for the outer coatings but in my opinion that doesn't effect the shoftshell's breathability the way a laminate can.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:00 pm
Posts: 293
Location: Northern CA
jlag wrote:
so your telling me that if a softshell jacket/pant has a DWR coating then it's no longer a "True softshell". WFT?

Do you realize that over 90% of all "softshells" have some sort of DWR coating? DryTech, 3X Dry, Nanosphere, all of that stuff is DWR.


There is a BIG difference between a DWR (durable water repellent) coating and a waterproof/breathable coating. Some mfg's use a polyurathane micro-porous coating (i.e. Triple Point Ceramic) as a W/B barrier instead of a laminate (i.e. Gore-Tex). DWR is like wax for your car... it only helps the fabric's exterior repel water and aid in faster drying. DWR is not actually a coating, but more of a treatment applied to the fabric. Some new types of DWR encapsulate the fabric's threads and improve its performance, but it still offers no barrier from water intrusion.

All fabrics used in quality outerwear have a DWR coating... as a matter of fact, "true" softshells rely heavily on the DWR treatment for their water resistance along with the mechanical benifits of their fabric construction.

So to answer your question... Softshells with only DWR treated fabrics are "true" softshells, where as, softshells with a W/B coating or laminate are NOT "true" softshells. :D


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