Softshells?

Discussion in 'Clothing & Footwear' started by Myles21, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. Myles21

    Myles21 Ultralighter

    Just been thinking about my layering and reading around a bit and I can't see where softshells fit in.
    At present, depending on the season and weather, I'll wear a light or medium weight merino base layer, then in colder weather a Patagonia R1 or other fleece on top. Then almost always a windshirt (Houdini). The rain shell and down puffy stay in my pack for when I really need them. So where do softshells fit in? I can't see that they insulate, particularly, so I'm guessing you'd still need a baselayer at least, and it seems they're generally not as waterproof as a shell. So do they perform the same function as a windshirt? They must have certain advantages as so many retailers stock quite a range. Anyone here using one who can tell me more?
  2. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    Perfect for going to football and a wander up the high street.
    cathyjc and Myles21 like this.
  3. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker

    I think the idea is they replace your fleece and windshirt. They work well when it's cool, windy and dry or just light showers/snow. Their not so good when it's pouring down. I know a lot of Alpine ski tourers swear by them and only take lightweight packlite waterproofs if any at all.
  4. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

  5. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    I don't use one and I don't know of many people who do but my understanding is that it somewhat replaces your R1+windshirt combo for activities where changing layers often is a bit of a bother e.g. climbing. Definitely less of an issue when walking and an awful lot of lighter (but more fragile) active insulation is on the market nowadays.
  6. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Ditto for Jackets.
    Softshell troos are a bit more useful in inclement weather and I use them a lot in the cooler times.

    Buffalo style fleece inner plus windproof outer are categorised as "Softshell" too - and are definitely usefull kit in poor weather - I'm a fan of Buffalo.
  7. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Paramo is softshell too.

    When it's raining hard and consistently, you get slowly wetter..... just like you do with a hardshell but with a different word in front. :)
    cathyjc, Nigelp and Myles21 like this.
  8. Myles21

    Myles21 Ultralighter

    Does a softshell basically replace both a fleece midlayer and a windshirt?
  9. Myles21

    Myles21 Ultralighter

    Strange, the replies above weren't displaying for some reason, hence my most recent Q a moment ago regarding softshell replacing fleece and windshirt.
  10. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Yes, in the case of Buffalo (style), can do.
  11. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Use mine mostly for below zero temps.
    Keeping heat in and cold wind out ...
  12. Jim_Parkin

    Jim_Parkin Trail Blazer

    Ha - my most common wear for a lot of the time as a montane dyno, which I think is the predecessor to the sabre - no stretch.

    Worn over a light fleece it's good even when it's quite cold, but can dump a lot of moisture as it's not completely windproof.

    Also, when I'm doing winter daywalks from my house, I tend to wear a paramo Velez smock, I can have that underneath and have decent pockets - and sufficient warmth... but that's not really using it as intended.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
  13. I will wear mid-weight unlined softshells (top and bottom) throughout the winter and spring for any activity (ski touring, winter hiking/mountaineering) where I am expecting to be dealing predominantly with snow rather than rain.

    For me they are more comfortable (breathable), less restrictive (stretchy), and more robust than hardshells or windshirts while being weatherproof enough if you are not expecting extensive rain.

    Outside of this use I would probably never wear my softshell jacket although might wear softshell trousers in the Autumn and Spring on colder but dryish days.
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  14. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Mardale pile smock is my winter favourite, then montane hydrogen smock.
    I've an old OR schoeller dryskin soft shell jacket that is great. It punches well above its weight in terms of water resistance, drying ability and yet very rugged.
    Schoeller are the king of softshell fabrics imho. I've had a few softshell trousers with their fabric... Can't go wrong for an all rounder.
    cathyjc likes this.
  15. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I've got a pair of Marmot softshell troos in Schoeller Dryskin - I've been wearing them for 10+ years and only recently is the arse starting 'to go' - been brilliant - if expensive.
    No longer made - but I luckily bought a 2nd pair when I realised how good they were and they'll be moving out of storage soon :angelic:.
    WilliamC and Chiseller like this.

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