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Joe

Joe

Northern California

Joe's Bio

I like to play in the mountains. Hiking/backpacking/mountaineering, skiing/ski touring/ski mountaineering, fly fishing/kayak angling. Mostly in the Sierra Nevada and along the Northern California coast.

Joe

Joe wrote a review of on October 19, 2012

3 5

Bought this more as an around town shell with a touch of warmth, though it could potentially see some alpine use. Sizing is pretty trim and short, more like a mid layer than an outer layer, but the fabric is on the less stretchy/supple side for a softshell and I don't find it as comfortable as other softshells with a close fit. For these reasons, I sized up to an XL, whereas my 6'1" 190lb frame typically fits best in a Large. Oddly, I did come across what I can only guess was a size Medium tagged as an XL -- it was noticeably tighter fitting than a Large that I ordered for comparison. The second XL I ordered fit as expected, so watch out for that! Haven't really put it through its paces yet, but I expect it will be fine in the waterproof/windproof departments with breathability to be determined. Not a big concern with my intended use.

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on June 22, 2012

3 5

This implementation seems just about as good as any other Power Shield Pro jacket (PSP). At 5k mm waterproof rating, the fabric should be waterproof enough for most of my uses (compared to Gore-Tex at 28k and Neo Shell at 10k). Like almost every other PSP jacket out there, the seams aren't taped and the zippers aren't water resistant. It seems that this is a limitation of the fabric -- the only PSP jacket I've seen with taped seams is the Eider Power Pro which has seam tape on the outside of the jacket where it's probably more susceptible to wear. At around 2 CFM air permeability this stuff should strike a really nice balance between breathability and wind protection (compared to more or less 0 with Gore-Tex and eVent, and around 6 CFM or so for the original Power Shield). So, I'm bummed that the moisture protection isn't quite what it could be. Should be great for colder alpine applications where there won't be too much liquid water trying to push through the untaped seams, but it's not going to hold up in serious rain. So, there is a place for this in my outerwear arsenal, but it's not going to entirely replace my hard shells.

The "tricot" lining is extremely thin and flat. No insulation value at all, really, just there to encapsulate the membrane. It functions more like an unlined hardshell. I'm a fan of this feature as I run very hot, even in cold weather, and usually don't require any insulation when active. It also keeps the jacket on the light side, though my size L comes in at 550g on my scale, so I'm not sure I'd believe the manufacturer's weight.

Fit is where this piece really shines. It's a bit more trim fitting than most Patagonia gear, but still pretty comfortable on my shape which is just a bit to the other side of athletic. A perfect cut and nice stretch results in a shell that really moves with you; it's the most comfortable shell that I've worn. At a not quite athletic 6'1" 185lbs, L is a perfect fit. Not bulky, but can fit a R2 fleece or Nano Puff underneath pretty comfortably. Helmet is a bit snug on my ski helmet, but much better if I unzip the collar a couple inches. Hood should fit excellently on lower profile climbing helmets. It is a pullover, for better or worse.

At full retail price this jacket probably wouldn't make total sense for me, but at the current off season close out price it's hard to pass up. As it's June, it'll be a while before I can put this through its paces, but I'll report back. I do wonder if the increased wind/water resistance over most other softshells will be worth the trade off in breathability given the weak spots in the seams and zippers. Sure, there are times that this will be the perfect choice, but I'm not sure how often I will overlook this piece for a more breathable softshell or more water resistant hardshell.

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on June 20, 2012

3 5

I'm a pretty big Patagonia fan, but this one doesn't do much for me. As thin as the fabric is, it still manages to be a pretty heavy jacket at over 550g (really?). For comparison the Millet Cruise PWS (Polartec Power Shield) provides a lot more protection at 508g in XL, and the light weight OR Ferrosi comes in at 382g in large. Simple Guide will probably beat the Ferrosi in water resistance, but neither are going to perform well in any serious rain. I don't really see an application where this piece wins.

However, it's not too bad on the wallet, so...

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on June 20, 2012

5 5

Great value when these are on sale. It's a pretty lightweight material. I find it comparable in quality to the my lightweight Ibex wool shirt -- no reason to spend extra. At 6'1" 185lbs the Large has a fine base layer snug/slim fit, not binding at all. Great for technical use. I've yet to find a wool t-shirt that really works for casual wear like cotton, no exception here.

I've gone mostly to Stoic for wool base layers at this point, so I own a few shirts and a pair of bottoms. I'm happy with the value and performance on all of them.

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on May 12, 2012

3 5

I have the 4-buckle black and yellow version. Plenty of power and fit my feet better than any other tele boot. But, man, the bellows and/or sole sure is stiff. I've skied about 10 days in them and still can't really flex the forefoot. I'm currently brainstorming how I can break this boot in. I'll probably like it if I can get that figured out.

Note, I believe these shells break on the full size (26.5/27.0 are same shell) rather than the half size (27.0/27.5 are same shell) as is more typical.

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on May 12, 2012

4 5

I primarily use this as a mid layer for resort skiing on very cold days, and it's great for this purpose. The breathable side panels really help to maintain comfort under a shell. At a slightly pudgy 6'1" 185 lbs, the large is a pretty snug fit for me (as is typical with Arcteryx). This works out well as a midlayer, but if I wanted to use it very much as an outer layer I'd probably want to size up.

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on May 12, 2012

5 5

An awesome piece of gear, I love mine. Very lightweight, warm and packable. My ever so slightly pudgy mid section just gets along great with the fit of Patagonia stuff. At 6'1" 185 lbs the large is absolutely perfect. It's somehow small enough to act as a mid layer while simultaneously being big enough to throw over a few other layers at rest stops or to use as a light belay jacket. Admittedly, the Arcteryx Atom LT is a little better suited for use as a mid layer with its venting capabilities and snugger fit, but my Nano Puff gets tons of use around town, stuffed in a bag for tavel, etc. It's very versatile and it looks good too.

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on May 12, 2012

3 5

Meh, for the money (particularly on sale) it's not a bad shell and has its uses, but I'm not so crazy about this one. I don't really buy into the idea that mixing a windproof but not very breathable material with very breathable but not very windproof panels somehow gives you the best of both worlds. Why not the worst of both worlds? I have found that it breathes pretty well, but the price for that is wind penetration while hanging from ski lifts in cold winds. This jacket makes more sense for touring and other aerobic activities in more wind-protected areas, but I think there are better choices for those applications.

I find that the fit runs quite long and roomy. I'm 6'1" 185 lbs and the Large is all around quite long and loose. Not really a problem as it leaves room for layers and is comfortable enough, but it's probably the roomiest Large of any shell I've ever owned.

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on May 12, 2012

5 5

Clean, classic simple lines on this goggle. Smith optics are top notch. So far Green Sol X has been a great lens for long bright spring days. Ignitor mirror is surprisingly comfortable on bright days as well, even though it seems to transmit a lot of light. Haven't really had any flat light to test lenses in yet.

I did have to pick up a helmet helper to make the strap comfortable on my helmet. It was cheap, but not so easy to find.

Happy with this purchase.

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Joe

Joe wrote a review of on May 11, 2012

5 5

Just pulled this out of the box and really liking it around the house. Figured I'd share my experiences regarding fit.

I'm 6'1" 185lbs -- just pudgy enough to avoid anything that fits too athletic. I'm typically a large from companies with a more generous cut (Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot etc) while I often have to move up to XL in an athletic cut like Arcteryx. The large is very comfortable with a base layer, just loose enough. I can fit a light mid layer or even 200 weight fleece under it, but it's not quite as comfortable.

I am intending to use this as a casual jacket around town in the summer as well as backcountry use, so I wouldn't mind a bit baggier fit. I tried the XL and the fit was really pretty good for this purpose, but the cuffs on the sleeves were too large to keep them at my wrists, and I knew this would by annoying. So, sizing up for a less athletic fit doesn't work too well with this garment. But, I'm happy enough with the fit of the large; it'll be great for technical use and should do ok enough around town.

Loving it around the house, so I'm excited to see how it handles the elements.

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