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Looking for a good softshell that can withstand serious abuse
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Andrew Weldon
Looking for a good softshell that can withstand serious abuse on 11/13/2012 15:22:11 MST Print View

I started a full time trailwork job last month, and it's starting to get mighty cold out there.

I generally wear a merino or underarmor baselayer, then a second, slightly warmer baselayer. Usually I've got my beloved patagonia sun hoody on top for general wear after I've warmed up swinging tools around.

Lately, on top of that I've been just wearing a Carhartt full zip jacket, which is warm enough to keep me happy during lunch. The problem is that it's cotton (and it's very rainy lately), and very bulky. With decent baselayers, it's warm enough into freezing temps.

What I really need is a new softshell that can provide similar or better warmth, compress better (not difficult) and withstand the ridiculous rigors of trail work. Inexpensive is a major bonus as well, since trail work doesn't pay too well.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
TNF Apex Bionic on 11/13/2012 15:30:12 MST Print View

I've been beating up a TNF Apex Bionic jacket for years and it's treated me well.

It also comes in a hooded version, called the Apex Android.

With a midweight fleece vest underneath I've taken it down to freezing temps in low activity. With some activity it's plenty warm with nothing but a t-shirt.

For bonus points, the windproof membrane also makes it pretty close to waterproof, besides the seams.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Looking for a good softshell that can withstand serious abuse on 11/14/2012 05:27:45 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 08:34:11 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
tough softshell on 11/14/2012 11:35:51 MST Print View

For everything you describe save compactability, I don't think there's anything better than a Pendleton wool shirt.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: tough softshell on 11/20/2012 16:16:38 MST Print View

The North Face Nimble jacket - super cheap right now if you can find it in your size. Dick's Sporting Goods has a good assortment of options. I like the Triumph Green color.

I use it mountain biking in colder weather. Breaths great (stretch-woven softshell, non-membrane) and thin, so you choose how much insulation you want by layering underneath it, and great durability. Crashed in rocks, bashed into trees, still holds up great - better than my body.

Great for casual use also. I use it as my shoulder season jacket around town.

Edited by lindahlb on 11/20/2012 16:19:18 MST.

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
softshells on 11/20/2012 18:22:33 MST Print View

For trail work, I would think about looking for something cheap, so searching Landsend or Cabela's, campmore, etc, the discount outdoor gear places. So I find for example:

I put in a tiny url that should work "cabela's temperate full zip softshell". I haven't seen that jacket at all, but cabelas stuff is usually reasonable quality that is $35.

Edited by mbenvenuto on 11/20/2012 18:24:18 MST.

Andrew Weldon
Re: Re: tough softshell on 11/21/2012 19:22:51 MST Print View

Thanks for the suggestions

I was shooting for the $70ish range in price, and leaning more and more towards just ordering something that seemed good from moosejaw or something.

Just found this though, which is extremely tempting, though sort of expensive and not wind resistant. I really do like wool.

Before I spring for that wool jacket, I'll find out what local store has the largest selection of TNF and some other brands that have cheaper options and try a couple on.