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Technical Shell (Denali, Rainier, 14'ers)
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Travis Wilson
(spidiracer) - F
Technical Shell (Denali, Rainier, 14'ers) on 06/03/2011 10:25:29 MDT Print View

Hello everyone,

I've been lurking for awhile and thought I would make my first post. I've backpacked for a long time but I am just now really getting into it. I have acquired a lot of gear thus far but now I need to add a good technical shell. I will be doing Rainer next summer as well as a few 13 - 14ers. Eventually to Denali and who knows where else. I need a good shell. I was looking at the goretex pro shells but I have read on this site that they do not breath as well. But is the pro shell more durable than some of the other fabrics?

I was looking at the Outdoor Research Mentor, Mountain Hardware Optimo, and Marmot Troll wall. Any opinions about these? They are expensive jackets so I want to make sure I get a good one that will last me for years in some rugged places.

Any help is greatly apprecited!


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
eVent parka on 06/03/2011 10:59:55 MDT Print View

Travis, I'd go for a good eVent parka. The REI Sushkan is about the least expensive but other good ones like the very top-of-the-line Westcomb parkas from Canada, who have more features on some parkas, if that's what you're looking for.

Travis Wilson
(spidiracer) - F
Technical Shell (Denali, Rainier, 14'ers) on 06/03/2011 13:34:16 MDT Print View

Thanks :) I am checking out the westcomb stuff right now. I've read a lot about the eVent stuff but I have not heard a lot of reader reviews yet.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Technical Shell (Denali, Rainier, 14'ers) on 06/03/2011 13:49:28 MDT Print View

Montane, or Rab eVent shells. I Use a windshell like a houdini though about 95 percent of the time because it stops the wind, and breaths WAY better than any hardshell. Especially because I live in drier and colder environment. Last couple trips haven't even taken my waterproof shell, just a Windshirt like a kings canyon or a Houdini.

Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
eVent beats Goretex every time and twice today. on 06/03/2011 13:54:17 MDT Print View

I have the REI Shuksan eVent Jacket and I love it. Great for what you are looking to do. RAB also makes some eVent Jackets that are alot lighter and I believe are liked alot on this site. I have never held or worn one.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
shells on 06/03/2011 14:03:00 MDT Print View

I climb quite a bit. Really like my Alpha SL, not much reason IMO for a heavier jacket.

(jpovs) - F - M

Locale: Arrowhead
Re: shells on 06/03/2011 14:04:26 MDT Print View


Edited by jpovs on 02/02/2015 09:39:12 MST.

Chris Gray
(ChrisFol) - F

Locale: Denver, Coloado
Re: Technical Shell (Denali, Rainier, 14'ers) on 06/03/2011 16:36:03 MDT Print View

For climbing clothing I really like the stuff by First Ascent: I own both their BC-200 and Frontpoint jackets.

The best part is if live close to an EB Outlet or if you can wait until one of their sales at a regular EB store then you can find the Frontpoint for under $250 and the BC-200 for under $200 making them quite a bargain when compared to other products.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Westcomb on 06/03/2011 22:02:07 MDT Print View

I was just recently on the quest for a good shell. Something durable, breathable, and light. PU based jackets were a no-go. Gore Tex Pro is nice but way too $. I settled on the Westcomb Specter LT with eVent, it weighs around 12oz. What impressed me about Westcomb over other brands was the high quality construction. It is very well made. The hood is fully adjustable and helmet compatible in the event I get into technical climbing. My recommendation would be to get one of their slightly heavier jackets that has more abrasive resistant eVent and drops a little lower. Westcomb's fit is roomy enough to have a light puffy insulation layer underneath.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
just sayin; on 06/04/2011 08:10:29 MDT Print View

Selling an Alpha SL on the swap right now...


S Long

Locale: Wasatch
Re: just sayin; on 06/04/2011 17:09:35 MDT Print View

Westcomb Specter, Eddie Bauer BC200 or Rab Momentum. Full featured, helmet compatible, light weight, durable (given their weight) and highly breathable.

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Patagonia M10 on 06/05/2011 17:56:20 MDT Print View

Patagonia M10

My size small weighs 10.4 ounces. THe M10 seems to be more breathable than any other shell I've worn before, certainly better than gore-tex. It has a nice hood and all around great fit for me. The pit-zips are combined with the pockets which I think is pretty brilliant. I used to wear a marmot mica jacket in the summer and the M10 in the winter, but I have found the bit of extra weight worth the better performance during the summer months too. Its now my all-season and condition shell.

The price is outrageous but I've seen a couple on gear swap and it isn't too hard to get 30% off at

Travis Wilson
(spidiracer) - F
you guys are great on 06/06/2011 17:23:49 MDT Print View

Thanks all :)

I spent a large chunk of my weekend shopping around. I agree on the eVent material. I want to test it out. I love goretex but that does not mean there is not something better out there. The Westcomb jackets looked really nice to me too. Though I have not seen one in person. I am still looking around but my choices are narrowing thanks to all of you.

Tough decisions!

Travis Wilson
(spidiracer) - F
Patagonia on 06/06/2011 17:25:31 MDT Print View

Also, I have had very good luck with anything I have gotten from Patagonia... their stuff is all top notch. I do not know what they use for their material though... I know the name they use but what is it? How does it compare to eVent?

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Patagonia on 06/06/2011 17:29:03 MDT Print View

The M10 jacket is pretty solid. All business, no pockets just a chest pocket and large pit zips. breathed pretty well when i was using it on the coast. but it is $400+. next season its going to be GTX pro shell.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
eVent v. GoreTex Pro on 06/06/2011 20:31:38 MDT Print View

Travis, I was an eVent addict until I tried a Gore-Tex Pro Shell jacket from Norrona. I found that fabric to be comparable in performance (including breathability) to eVent. My review of the Norrona falketind is at

I've given eVent products from Westcomb and Wild Things comparable reviews however. You can't go wrong with either.


John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
The REI Sushkan Worries Me on 06/07/2011 08:55:17 MDT Print View

Travis, I had the REI eVent Sushkun for three seasons. On the third season the jacket started to wet out on me. I would wash it and retreat ir, but it just would continue to wet out. I now own an eVent Westcomb for one season. We'll see how that goes.

Jason Acker
Any REI branded product worries me... on 06/07/2011 08:58:19 MDT Print View

I too have had bad experiences with many REI brand products. Any REI brand product with a zipper that I have bought went back due to zipper failures. Also the shell I bought started wetting out after only a few uses.

Edited by NWCLIMBER199 on 06/07/2011 09:00:22 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Any REI branded product worries me... on 06/07/2011 16:41:03 MDT Print View

Their record is spotty, for sure, which is where that return policy comes in handy. They make a pretty good line of Thermal Pro base layers, though, IMO.

DT Lay
(KiwiMtnClmbr) - F

Locale: Northeast Highlands
Patagonia M10 available... on 06/07/2011 17:28:04 MDT Print View

I've got a brand new in the bag Patagonia M10 shell, size Med, in the gecko green available if you're interested. PM me if you'd like to hear more about it...

Edited by KiwiMtnClmbr on 06/07/2011 17:28:36 MDT.