Thanks for the recommendations and insight Mark. Regarding the Montbell Stretch Wind stuff, where do you put it in terms of wind-resistance compared to schoeller dryskin and dynamic and Houdini, could you guestimate a CFM? And of course it won't be as durable as the Schoeller fabrics, but do you think it's appropriate material for pants (it's pretty thin)?
Regarding Vapour Rise, have you used the newer Pertex Equilibrium vapour rise stuff? If so, is it as quiet as the older pertex varieties?
On that note I did notice that Rab has an interesting pant with a newer heavyweight Pertex Stretch Equilibrium (4.6 CFM) paired with eVent in the knees and seat. Those sound sweet, if heavy, but are pretty pricey.
I tried on a pair of the new REI Mistrals, noting that the new fabric they're using is quieter than dynamic, and rated the same in terms of wind resistance, but I suspect they ditched dynamic for price reasons rather than performance and will hold off for some more consumer feedback before I look seriously at them.
Douglas, I avoid hardshell as much as possible, partly because I'm sweaty and partly because I detest the stiff, crinkly nature of the stuff. I've pretty much gone all soft/windshell and pack DriDucks if rain threatens. DriDucks is very fragile, especially on the legs, but it is soft, quiet, cheap, super-breathable and never needs a DWR-refresh. Now, if they could figure out how to make eVent softer and quieter I would be all over it, but I guess they need the PTEFE membrane to be pretty thick, and thus crinkly.
Ken, thanks for the recommendation of Ibex. I had an Icefall softshell jacket a while back and loved the fabric, although it was a bit too permeable for my present needs. My knees are sensitive to cold winds these days and I will put up with being a bit hot and sweaty if it means I can keep my joints warm.