Monday, September 5, 2011

Soft Shell.

Among that pile of gear pictured above is one item that is with us everyday in every kit. Whether we are doing a float, a small stream or a mileage hike into seldom fished water. A soft shell jacket is with us now until seasons end.

My first soft shell was from Latok Mountain Gear. Though the cut of the jacket lacked some design features I wanted, the fabric was very breathable, abrasion and water resistant. While on a climbing trip to Mexico it was stolen and I would have to wait until Cloudveil emerged on the scene. Cloudveil's Serendipity jacket has been one of the best outdoor items I have ever used. Too bad Cloudveil lost their way when growth took over quality. I'm still abusing my Patagonia soft shell hooded jacket that was specifically designed with the fly fisher in mind. I've had it patched, zippers replaced (my fault) and it hasn't given up the ghost yet.

After seeing the new Simms soft shell line up I may replace the workhorse Patagonia. Though I do really like the cross over potential that Patagonia puts into their gear. Ice and alpine climbing season is just around the corner. Tough choice.

This bomber material really comes into it's own in lighter weights. Soft shell field shirts are a great addition when a base layer isn't enough and lighter fleece is too much. Using soft shell pants for back country travel and wet wading eliminates one item in the pack. Shorts are a staple during the summer months. We've used this material for a variety of activities from climbing, skiing, bird hunting and pub crawls. It's tough, dependable and light.

If you are thinking of delving into a new soft shell don't cheap out. Go with Simms or Patagonia on this purchase. We've seen plenty of client's big box failures and honestly we can't stand seeing anymore junk out there. Save your hard shells for consistent heavy rain (like the last two days trips) and lobster.
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1 comment:

  1. Love my Simms soft shell...good recommendation!