27 Feb 2007 23:08:52
Advice on which softshell to buy

I am looking to buy a running softshell and have narrowed it down to
the following:

Patagonia Core Skin
Arc'Teryx Sigma AR
Arc'Teryx Sigma LT
Marmot Sharp Point
The North Face Sentinel

I am looking for a very good level of wind protection with some light
rain repellant. Also looking for something that layers well, as it
gets well below zero in the upper midwest. any insight is helpful.
thanks.



28 Feb 2007 14:56:37
Elflord
Re: Advice on which softshell to buy

On 2007-02-28, [email protected] <[email protected] > wrote:
> I am looking to buy a running softshell and have narrowed it down to
> the following:
>
> Patagonia Core Skin
> Arc'Teryx Sigma AR
> Arc'Teryx Sigma LT
> Marmot Sharp Point
> The North Face Sentinel
>
> I am looking for a very good level of wind protection with some light
> rain repellant.

If it's raining, a soft shell jacket is going to be *way* too warm. The above
items are serious blizzard gear. I bought a soft shell a while ago (lighter
than the above) and had little use for it (Manhattan area)

It may be worth it if you can get it at clearance dirt cheap, but usually these
items cost a lot of money, and you can do much better (for the limited purposes
of running in the cold, that is) for much less.

> Also looking for something that layers well, as it
> gets well below zero in the upper midwest. any insight is helpful.
> thanks.

It might be worth it if you can get it at clearance *and* if you think you'll
wear it outside of running. Most of these items look nice, and would probably
make decent additions to your casual wardrobe, especially as pre/post race
clothes. But I don't think you'll have much use for them outside of January.

If you haven't already got something like this, would recommend Sporthill's
XC or explorer top, or the similar item from Sugoi. These items are warm and
windproof enough to function pretty well as single layers (I don't wear any
more than this) have very little bulk (so also make good layering pieces)

Cheers,
--
Elflord


28 Feb 2007 18:36:25
Dot
Re: Advice on which softshell to buy

[email protected] wrote:
> I am looking to buy a running softshell and have narrowed it down to
> the following:
>
> Patagonia Core Skin
> Arc'Teryx Sigma AR
> Arc'Teryx Sigma LT
> Marmot Sharp Point
> The North Face Sentinel
>
> I am looking for a very good level of wind protection with some light
> rain repellant. Also looking for something that layers well, as it
> gets well below zero in the upper midwest. any insight is helpful.
> thanks.
>

I'll echo Elflord's sentiments. I looked at the models last night, but
didn't post since I didn't have any experience with any of the models
and thought you might have some comments by users by morning. Aside from
being really expensive, if you look at their weights, they're really
heavy. I didn't see any reviews or comments suggesting they were good
for high aerobic activities, like running (although I'll admit I
sometimes use climbing stuff ok). If you do go that route, I'd suggest
getting one with pit zips, as you will be roasting except on the well
below 0 days.

I would avoid Windstopper or similar products as your main layer. It's
fine for an outer shell. If you look at other North Face products,
you'll find they have ratings for wind resistance like 0 cfm to 20 cfm
(maybe more breathable also, can't remember) indicating how much wind
can get through. That may also relate to how well they breathe. N2S for
me is indistinguishable from Windstopper, but I've heard there is a
thinner, more breathable version out. Malden Mills also has (or had,
difficult to find last I looked) a wind rating on their home page to
judge which materials have some wind resistance, but not block it
totally. Materials that use a laminate are usually windproof and have 0
to negligible breathability. The wind resistant, but reasonably
breathable, ones generally get there through denser weaves of fabric.
With windproof materials, you can't blow through them when you hold
fabric to your mouth. Wind resistant fabrics let varying amounts through.

As I've been acquiring gear and looking at "soft shells" (they're "in"),
I noticed they were heavy and most were windproof. I've heard there's
some lightweight windproof gear that does breathe, but not of mine does.
I live where a windy day can be 30-50mph (usually above 0F, near 20F)
and we sometimes get 70-90 mph winds (usually near 0F or colder).
Windproof gear is good and I use it a lot, but it doesn't breathe well.

What I do, and is much cheaper and more functional for running, is to
actually layer wind resistant layers under windproof shells. They're
lighter weight (I've weighed them) than one big heavy garment, probably
warmer (dead air gets trapped between layers), and cheaper. I've gotten
most of my gear on closeouts or sale (generally 40-60% of list, $25-$60,
iirc)- Sierra Trading Post, MileMarker Sports (Sporthill), REI outlet.

Near 20F, I'll wear Infusion top over synthetic t and under windshell;
closer to 0F, I'll use Catalyst rather than Infusion, maybe with a
lightweight long-sleeve layer under it; near -20F, I'll wear t,
infusion, catalyst, and windshell. And if the wind is blowing, I'll have
my hood up and over my hat, neoprene ear band, and neoprene face mask.
The Infusion and Catalyst are both very breathable but do have some wind
resistance of their own (relative to, say, power dry, but not as wind
resistant as 3SP), so once I'm warmed up and if it's not windy, I can
take off my shell to avoid getting wet. Also with layers like this, it's
easier to dry should you get wet, whereas 1-piece softshells look like
once you're wet, you're wet.

I do have an Explorer, but rarely wear it (once or twice a year). It
doesn't fit me as comfortably as infusion (feels like hiking boot
relative to running shoe). The concept of more wind resistance in front
than back may be useful for fast runners in dead air, but it's not that
useful for slow runners running in wind, esp. when you've turned so it's
a tailwind. My first experience with it had a downhill, downwind start,
and I about froze before I finally warmed up - and I had a hydration
pack on. I almost stopped in the first 10 min to put my shell on, but
decided to give it a chance. Windshell + infusion works much better for
me than Explorer. YMMV.

Dot

--
"A winner is just a loser who tried one more time." -Captain George M.
Moore, Jr., United States Air Force (retired),
http://www.avdlm.com/press.php?page=stories&storyid=1



28 Feb 2007 22:33:44
Dot
Re: Advice on which softshell to buy

If you're running in conditions like this
http://www.alaskaultrasport.com/latest_news.html
you might consider something like you asked about, but I suspect those
folks have layers rather than softshells.

Dot

--
"A winner is just a loser who tried one more time." -Captain George M.
Moore, Jr., United States Air Force (retired),
http://www.avdlm.com/press.php?page=stories&storyid=1



01 Mar 2007 21:43:21
Re: Advice on which softshell to buy

On Feb 28, 2:08 am, [email protected] wrote:
> I am looking to buy a running softshell and have narrowed it down to
> the following:
>
> Patagonia Core Skin
> Arc'Teryx Sigma AR
> Arc'Teryx Sigma LT
> Marmot Sharp Point
> The North Face Sentinel
>
> I am looking for a very good level of wind protection with some light
> rain repellant. Also looking for something that layers well, as it
> gets well below zero in the upper midwest. any insight is helpful.
> thanks.

"Softshell"??? WTF are you, reeetarded?



02 Mar 2007 06:03:22
Tony S.
Re: Advice on which softshell to buy

<[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>I am looking to buy a running softshell and have narrowed it down to
> the following:
>
> Patagonia Core Skin
> Arc'Teryx Sigma AR
> Arc'Teryx Sigma LT
> Marmot Sharp Point
> The North Face Sentinel
>
> I am looking for a very good level of wind protection with some light
> rain repellant. Also looking for something that layers well, as it
> gets well below zero in the upper midwest. any insight is helpful.
> thanks.

I got some mid/lightweight softshell pants (lowe alpine) and jacket (mammut)
this past Fall. This was the best winter running investment I've ever made.
The pants are perfect for under 20f, and/or windy conditions under 35f. The
jacket is fantastic under about 40f, with a single light wicking layer, or
for colder conditions, add a mid-weight microfleece over wicking layer, and
softshell on top. Since I tend to be cold, especially if I'm out there for
hours, I'd rather be warm and wind-protected.

Another system that works very well for under 20f, is loose fitting fleece
over a thin wicking layer, then covered by a thin nylon breathable shell.
This is more like an eskimo fit, coming down to the upper thighs, with no
drawcord. It's very loose, comfortable and warm, but gives your body room to
breathe well also; great for longer runs in the cold.

-Tony