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Need opinions - Softshell jackets!

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Old October 2nd, 2010, 16:35   #1
ThunderCactus
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Need opinions - Softshell jackets!

Okay so normally only hardcore airsofters with lots of money get this far into the sport *cough* ALBERTANS *cough*

I'm looking at getting a new soft shell to replace my P.O.S. blackhawk level 5 softshell. So glad I got the set for only 140$ lol
I'm looking for either a level 5 or level 6. For those of you who don't know... level 5 is an all day windproof water resistant stretchy fabric, and level 6 is extremely lightweight gore-tex.

Now the level 5 jacket got me safely through the last claybank, I didn't mind getting only 40% soaked it was slow enough that it didn't sap away all my body heat, so it was sufficient. HOWEVER, due to the type of fabric used, it's prone to abrasive wear, especially from velcro.
I have a set of ACU level 6, fantastic stuff, easy to get repair patches for it, only ripped the pants when they got snagged in barbed wire. Jackets holding up really well.

So ups and downs to level 5;
-stretchy fabric
-lightweight
-wind proof
-very breathable
-around 60-70% water resistant, more designed for light rain
-you can fit the jacket in a utility pouch
-prone to abrasive wear

ups and downs of gore-tex
-waterproof
-tough shell, abrasion resistant
-lightweight
-again, you can fit the jacket in a utility pouch
-not nearly as breathable as level 5, gotta take it off when it gets hot
-you hear that crumply noise everywhere you go


And does anyone own a propper level 5 jacket? They claim their 4way stretch fabric is highly abrasion resistant
And as for specific pattern, I'm looking for something with a hood like the propper gore-tex jacket
http://www.acu.com/style_F740887366/
I'd like to pay less than $275, but quality is quality
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 16:42   #2
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Get whatever Arc'Teryx LEAF (you can get them from GrayGroup), but these bitches are expensive.

It's at least worth giving a look.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 19:00   #3
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To get rid of the noise you get from some rainjackets, just wear it under a BDU/Combat Shirt, it's how all of us wear our goretex stealth jackets. It's another option, but if you're set on a good rainjacket to be worn over your clothing then I'd go with Arcteryx like what was recommended above, but they are very expensive.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 19:22   #4
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I just love Arc'teryx. Thinking of getting a (civilian) snow jacket from them. Otherwise the LEAF series is what you want. They're hella expensive already so I don't know how much the military stuff will cost.

PS: For the people who aren't rich, what's a good general "budget" softshell for daily wear? I don't want to go all tacticool with the Arc'Teryx (but it would be nice, I almost snagged one on sale 2 years ago at a factory seconds blowout but too bad I spent all my money then) hell I would actually prefer a civilian version because I don't want to look like a wanker or a Walt. I already have a Sierra Designs soft shell but I'm thinking I want to get another one so I'm not wearing the same jacket all the time. A few companies I like; Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardware, Columbia Titanium, Stormtech, etc.

BUT I'll also consider ordering the TADgear softshell from RedDragon (Huangs supplier not the other guy....) if it has good reviews (already checked some reviews and they're good but I want to wait to see if someone tells me to buy something from another company first). PS: Anyone know if the softshell that Airsoftpark sells is the same one (or is it the EBBanned one that's crappier)? I already have an account with airsoftpark and they're good guys so I would prefer to deal with them if possible.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 19:34   #5
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Huang's supplier is Dragonred, not RedDragon.

If you want a bit of tacticool, but not too much, IMHO getting a black one is less "tactically obvious" than an OD or Coyote one.

I got one last week from RSOV, not sure which of the versions it is... it's the one marked with "SharkSkin" fabric and fleece on the inside. I'll probably do a review soon as I'm going with it on a 4-day hike on the 11th.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 19:42   #6
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The propper one I linked looks fantastic, good everyday jacket, only downside is the $350 price tag (down from 450 on the propper site), but considering the price of other soft shells, it's not bad lol
Worst part is you know they're getting all this crap made in vietnam for like 70$ a set
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 00:49   #7
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If you're going hardshell, look into eVent.
The more breathable (or so people say) cousin of GoreTex.
My TAD Raptor works well I'd say. Westcomb out of Vancouver works in eVent too, but no tactical line.

Softshell, I think you hit most of the "Tactical" variations. There's also SORD's hardface jacket (had, and was pretty good).
Don't know if Patagonia has one in their MARS line.

Oh, forgot to add. You can get a custom jacket from Beyond Clothing/Beyond Tactical. Pretty reasonable pricing too.
Just not sure on their lead time now.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 01:59   #8
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that beyond tactical is some cool shit right there.
http://gearsoc.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=745
There's a review for the cold fusion. I must say I'm confused as to why their desert khaki looks like foliage green, but I'm not complaining lol
I would get the cold fusion right now if it didn't come with a fleece lining. I need a straight up soft shell, not a jacket
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 02:07   #9
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Did you look at the Glacier Shock? It's just the shell.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 02:15   #10
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I have, but I like the cold fusion tactical the best, I'm just going to ask if I can get it without the fleece lining, seeing as they're all about customization lol
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 02:18   #11
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Mmmm... Nice link. The prices are quite reasonable for such a personalized product.

Will definitely keep that in mind.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 02:38   #12
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I'm not very impressed by Arcteryx's water resistance with their softshell. Initially my softshell had a great repellant treatment, but after about a year of use, it's become not very resistant. It started out great. In a serious rain it was neat seeing the water beading up and rolling off, but the treatment didn't last forever. Very nice stretchy material that moves and breathes well, but it's not hugely water resistant.

I do wish that they'd include pockets in the usual place low down up front. While the pockets on the upper arms stay accessible while wearing a vest, they're not very useful for warming your hands in if you don't have gloves with you. The arm pockets are also awkward places if you have large or heavy items to stow in your pockets.

I really like the finish on Arcteryx products. Strong flat seams (welded if they're in GoreTex), collars that actually stop the wind without chafing, and wrist closure straps that work. I do find that they tailor their softshells kind of tight in the armpits. This is kind of bunchy if you're wearing a heavy sweater and a t-shirt, but it's really just an odd feeling. On the plus side, I find that the sleeves don't pull up as much when you stretch your arms over your head. I have a feeling that this tailoring decision is more rock climbing oriented. Climbers spend a lot of time with their arms up on the wall so they'd like to keep their cuffs up near their wrists. Jackets with low cut shoulder inseams are much less bunchy, but you'll find that the sleeve will pull down a lot when you raise your arms.

Perhaps I need to shoot on another 3M treatment to restore it's resistance, but I'm hesitant to because I have a baby daughter now and I'm trying to avoid bringing too many serious chemicals this early into her life.

Arcteryx's ProShell GoreTex is an entirely different matter. I've got three ProShell jackets now and they're all still as waterproof as the day I got them. One of the jackets is a Theta that I got for myself (non insulated shell). The other two are an Alpha (non insulated shell) and a Titan (well insulated jacket) were purchased for my wife. All three breathe very well considering their water resistance. My Theta (oldest of the three) doesn't roll water off like the other two jackets, but it's still not letting water through. I notice that the repellent coating has worn the most where my backpack straps sit, but I'm still happy that the material is still impermeable but breathable. Arcteryx makes excellent hardshells.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 07:10   #13
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Hey,

You might want to take a look into Condor Softshells there very nice and not to expensive either.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 11:15   #14
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MadMax. Looks like you just need to refresh the DWR. After time, it does wear out.
The two main brands are Nikwax and Grangers, and should be available at any outdoor store (MEC).

There are spray one treatments, but the better ones are a wash in treatments. As for the chemicals, it's something you'll have to look in for yourself.

I've personally used the Granger wash-in and notice everything beads again.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 13:53   #15
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Warfighter has the condor softshells, they're too baggy for me and I have no confidence in the material to stand up to abrasive wear.
Nice and cheap though lol
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