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NeoShell durability

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NeoShell durability

Postby Dave B » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:53 am

Just noticed the sub-12 oz. Westcomb Shift Hoody is the lightest NeoShell jacket on the market. Looks pretty sick.

I've been wanting to replace my lightweight shell with one of the newer material jackets. Does anyone have experience with NeoShell durability? I've only held the fabric once and it seems a bit more burly than the paclite my current shell is made from, but is it like typical softshell in terms of abrasion resistance?

Any other NeoShell opinions out there?
"There is no cheating in climbing, only lying." - Semi-Rad

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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby JohnP FTC » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:01 am

Hey Dave,

I'll try to remember to bring my Rab next time we do something. I've only had it out a few times (got it late last season) but so far I like it a lot. We'll see how it holds up from here on out.

Late,

John
If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. -Carl Sagan

Re: NeoShell durability

Postby Bean » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:18 pm

I've heard of durability issues with the Shift (and seen photos of said issues). I've got the Rab but have used it a grand total of zero days. Seems well-constructed and I've heard from others with the same jacket that it's held up to a good amount of use. Time will tell I suppose.
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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby Carl » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:44 pm

I haven't seen the Shift Hoody in person but I imagine it's fairly similar to the Switch LT Hoody, which I got last year. Neoshell but a few ounces heavier. First impression is that it's a pretty sweet jacket but I've only skied a few peaks in it last season so I haven't really put it through the ringer. At 16 ounces I don't plan on doing much tree skiing (or any resort skiing) because it just isn't as durable as my heavier jackets. They did make the jackets wider by an inch last year, so if you're fat that's nice. I've also go the Specter LT. It's eVent and about 11 inches. I've had that jacket on quite a few trips with wet heavy snow and it's done really well. If you want to see either of these Westcomb jackets in person and can't find them locally I can bring them to a 14ers.com HH.

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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby JB99 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:52 pm

I haven't had a chance to use any jackets with NeoShell, but I did just get the Marmot Hyper with their Membrain Strata material and so far I'm pretty impressed. Can't speak to the durability since it's still a new jacket, but the stretch in the material instantly made it one of my favorite jackets. It's got way more stretch than any of my soft shells (both my real woven soft shells and my faux ones with membranes). Waterproof, around 11 ounces, helmet compatible hood... an ideal jacket for a lot of the year for me and I'm pretty sure I only paid around $100 for it.
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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby Dave B » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:10 pm

Bean wrote:I've heard of durability issues with the Shift (and seen photos of said issues).


This is exactly what I wanted to know, thanks for saving me $400.

Bean and JohnP_FTC wrote:...the Rab...


I wish Rab cut their stuff a bit longer, I tried on the Stetch Neo at Neptune and it was a bit too short. Seems like an awesome jacket though.

Carl wrote:...fairly similar to the Switch LT Hoody... ...I can bring them to a 14ers.com HH.


The Switch LT looks pretty awesome too, I might have to take you up on your offer, I thought I'd seen a few Westcomb things either at Bent Gate or Neptune last year but the selection was pretty limited.

JB99 wrote: ...Marmot Hyper...


I bought my wife one of these for a light weight alpine/multi-pitch shell. She's in love with it and it's stood up to a couple of days on crystalline lumpy ridge granite. She hasn't been in a good rain storm with it yet, and I'm curious about just how water proof it is. Dane at Cold Thistle raves about the Hyper. Although he hasn't commented much on durability the price is right for a non A-bomb-proof shell.
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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby Carl » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:24 pm

Dave B wrote:The Switch LT looks pretty awesome too, I might have to take you up on your offer, I thought I'd seen a few Westcomb things either at Bent Gate or Neptune last year but the selection was pretty limited.


Bent Gate used to carry Westcomb but has taken a break from them as of a couple years ago. Maybe that had a few items left over last year. I don't think you'll hear them talk negative about Westcomb, but with so many sweet jackets from Arcteryx and Mammut the competition is stiff for floor space at BG.

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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby COBuckeye » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:00 pm

"...cause I got changed by what I've been shown, more glory than the world has known, keeps me ramblin' on..." - Josh Garrels (Farther Along)

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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby Dave B » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:23 pm

COBuckeye wrote:Some more info from the folks over at TGR

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/235169-The-neoshell-thread


Thanks for that. I did a search over there and didn't find this; odd.
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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby MuchosPixels » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:09 pm

I have the Rab stretch neo and its awesome. Its basically my winter shell. Looks pretty durable and although ive mainly used it for skiing I did take a few good spills while wearing it and it still looks like new.

I have the Large and im 6-2 185 and fits great with a baselayer and powerstretch fleece jacket (or the marmot Variant jacket). Its certainly long enough.

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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby leadbelly2550 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:32 pm

i think Q's about the durability of "neoshell" should probably refer to specific jackets, if you're talking about the ability to avoid rips & tears & the overall resistance to abrasion and wear. It's kind of like asking about the durability of gore tex, which is used in lots of different jackets. As someone above observed, you have some very lightweight Neoshell options like the Westcomb Switch, and true soft shells like the Marmot Zion i picked up over the summer, which weighs in at nearly 29 ounces for an extra large. if you use a neoshell membrane with a very lightweight nylon shell, it's going to be more damage-prone than if you use the membrane with a thicker, heavier outer shell. The Zion, which I have now been able to use on a number of hikes & in the rain and snow, is a reasonably close-fitting soft shell that is not quite as stretchy as non-membrane soft shell, truly waterproof, very good against the wind (hasn't yet seen really high, +50 mph wind), and at least as good at venting moisture as gore tex and eVent. it is highly resistant to tearing and abrasion; bushwhacking and walking on overgrown trails haven't made a dent in the outer soft shell. the membrane is a little more like eVent than gore tex in that it is ever so slightly more air-permeable than gore tex. on one hand, i think that quality may help moisture escape a little better; on the other, i think that eVent (and maybe neoshell) allow a little more heat convection and may feel 'colder' in very high winds. as with many jackets, you could argue with some of Marmot's design choices on the Zion; I'm happy with it and plan to take it into some more challenging conditions over the next few months.

regarding durability of a different kind, has anyone heard anything about durability of the neoshell membrane itself? by that, i mean resistance to contamination or breakdown. waterproof/breathable membranes can be prone to contamination from body oils & dirt, which can ultimately inhibit their ability to let moisture out. GTX and eVent have different solutions to this. I'm wondering if neoshell has similar issues with compromising the ability to let moisture escape over time. also, as a slightly 'stretchy' membrane, can overstretching somehow damage the membrane and render it less waterproof?

i know that it may be too early to answer these questions based on field experience, the jackets are just too new, but has anyone heard anything at all?

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Re: NeoShell durability

Postby Dave B » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:52 pm

Interesting that this thread was resurrected today.

I ordered and received the Westcomb Switch LT recently. I ordered it looking for a one jacket replacement for my soft shell plus Gore Tex paclite backup shell for alpine and ice climbing. While it doesn't speak to the quality of the fabric, the arms were far too short for me and I would have significant problems with the hem riding up under a harness and wrists becoming exposed with much overhead reaching. It is also quite large through the mid-section so I see what Carl was talking about.

As for the fabric, the Switch is not stretchy at all, it is a straight up hardshell. For some reason, I'd assumed that NeoShell itself was stretchy but I guess that's just design with other manufacturers. I'd have a hard time taking this jacket through real rough conditions without worrying about it. The fabric was wispy but surprisingly noisy and stiff.

Long story short. I'll probably send this back. I bought it at Campsaver so I could test it for up to 6 months and still be able to return it, but initial impressions of NeoShell, just didn't get me too excited.

I'll stick with my traditional comfy stretchy cozy softshell. It's only very rare that I need to put a real shell on over it anyways.
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