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Hardshells: 3-season, 4-season, etc.
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Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Hardshells: 3-season, 4-season, etc. on 09/28/2010 18:20:13 MDT Print View

Do you guys maintain separate hardshells for winter and non-winter seasons?

I can't imagine hauling my winter hardshells (which are thicker, stiffer, heavier, 3-ply layer) around on a summer hike and wearing them to deal with a summer squall. Likewise, my summer rainshell (2.5-ply layer) would be too thin and "unsubstantial" for winter use.

I mainly use my winter hardshells for skiing, snowshoeing, and random faceplanting in the snow. I don't do the same with my summer hardshells (obviously).

Is there anyone out there that uses one hardshell system all year long?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
yes... on 09/28/2010 20:26:15 MDT Print View

Yes, my Ski Patrol parka and EMS mountain parka are both 3 layer GTX hardshells. My summer parka is "one layer" PacLite GTX.

Huge difference in weight but the winter parkas offer better protection and a powder skirt at the waist, plus MANY more pockets.

If you can afford it better to get one for winter & one for 3 season. You'll still be going for the winter parka in late fall and early spring for cold drizzle and wet snow days.

BUT... I do use my summer PacLite GTX pants in the winter on occasion - with synthetic long johns. Of course in bitter cold I use Thinsulate insulated GTX ski pants and polar weight polyester long johns beneath.

Edited by Danepacker on 09/28/2010 20:27:58 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
No on 09/28/2010 21:39:18 MDT Print View

Laminate fabrics have no place in true winter conditions (ie no chance of rain).

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
yes on 09/28/2010 21:45:03 MDT Print View

bushwacking, scrambling, climbing ... my arcteryx shell does it all seasons ... a UL shell would prob get shreded quickly

in the PNW there is no such thing as true winter

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Laminate fabrics have no place..." on 09/28/2010 23:22:22 MDT Print View

Hmmm, well m' man, there a lot of folks who use "laminates" in the coldest weather who would disagree with your blanket statement - and that would include most of the world's modern militaries.

Sure, if you're GARANTEED no wet snow or rain then tightly woven, VERY tightly woven fabrics are fine. Me? I'd take eVent anyway for good breathability and being able to sit or lay in snow (say, when hunting) with no concern about body heat causing melting snow to leak through the shell.

BTW, even the coldest Alaskan winters do have Chinook winds.

Edited by Danepacker on 09/28/2010 23:41:12 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: yes on 09/28/2010 23:47:08 MDT Print View

eric opined, "in the PNW there is no such thing as true winter

In the PNW there is no such thing as true winter--- or summer. Six months each, Spring and Fall :)

I wear a laminate hard shell around town as it takes a beating. I don't do snow sports so, my light rain shell (Patagonia Rainshadow) is just fine. I used to cross country ski and never wore a shell-- I wanted {{{{{ventilation}}}}}.

Edited by dwambaugh on 09/28/2010 23:51:14 MDT.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
laminates on 09/29/2010 00:28:10 MDT Print View

We don't get Chinook winds out here and we regularly get -30 without windchill. No moisture for about 4 months Light weight Softshells and Windshells reign supreme for these conditions. Shells can be pretty useless except for a condensation catch

Babak Sakaki
(persianpunisher) - F
Re: Second on the Rainshadow on 10/03/2010 22:57:22 MDT Print View

I've used my Rainshadow several times for skiing Snowbird. But honestly, unless you are in the PNW, a softshell is money.

My Arcteryx Sidewinder SV has since been in the closet, being replaced by the Patagonia Ascenionist.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
yes on 10/04/2010 12:24:34 MDT Print View

heavier goretex proshell in winter...
featherweight golite (virga?) 3 other seasons

in PA

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Shells on 10/04/2010 12:46:29 MDT Print View

'Dry' cold, Buffalo Special 6 shirt with Montane Extreme hood. Worn next to skin.
'Wet' cold, Crux Flak eVent pullover. Traditional layering.
'Mixed' weather, rain in valleys, snow up higher, Paramo Aspira pullover.
Summer, TNF Triumph Anorak.

I use the Crux shell for backpacking in winter, as the layering system is more versatile for me in Scotlands changeable climate. The other 2 systems tend to be used for day walks/activities.

Used in Scotland.

Edited by MikefaeDundee on 10/04/2010 12:47:09 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Hardshells: 3-season, 4-season, etc. on 10/04/2010 14:51:58 MDT Print View

The Rab/ID eVent shells are about ideal as year-round hard shells. I can generally wear one almost as a windbreaker (almost...), & the fabric's tough enough for any season... at 10 ounces, not bad.

That said, for deep winter I usually just use a windbreaker. If it's 0*F it's not gonna rain, and I'd rather work on moisture management w/my layers. That said, if I know I'm going to be spending a ton of time rolling in the snow, ice climbing, etc then I might go for a hardshell. I do like Paramo-like garments for those conditions, too.

Always struck me as odd that Patagonia, for example, offers Houdinis during the summer months and not winter. In summer I'm guaranteed rain and soak-thru on a windbreaker. In winter, I get better breathability w/little concern for soaking thru w/the windbreaker.