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Thread: Is raingear still needed if you use high quality softshells?

  1. #1

    Question Is raingear still needed if you use high quality softshells?

    I have been updating my equipment this winter and have bought a jacket with the features very similar to the Mountain Hardwear Alchemy jacket and pants that are similar to the Mammut Champ pants (I even might still buy the Champs or the Sitka or Sporthills)

    I am wondering for those of you that have such softshell-type jackets and pants--do you still wear and/or take along raingear like the Helly Hansen Impertech or do you rely upon these softshells as truly your only outer shell.

    I am trying to keep my overall backpack weight down but don't want to be totally drenched and miserable and was wondering it these softshells can be relied upon through it all or only during mild rain/drizzle and actual raingear like the HH Impertech is still a must.

    I have both a sheep hunt as well as a coastal goat hunt planned for this fall--was thinking that maybe for the sheep hunt the softshells would be alright but with the expected continuous rain and wet vegetation along the coast I maybe would buy and take along a set of Impertechs.

    Thoughts on this set-up?

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I have not heard one report that declared any soft shell or breathable jacket as a replacement for impertech, especially for coastal hunts. I have a marmot precip shell and though it is very light and has proven water tight in the light rain I have used it in I have no doubt that in constant wet weather I would get soaked and be miserable. My vote is pack the impertech besides your bag won't be any heavier cause you will probably be WEARING it the whole time!

  3. #3
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    Default softshells

    I think if your concern is getting soaked, take the rain gear. I have a Mammut Ultimate softshell that is great in wind and misty conditions but as Lujon said, any breathable material will let you down in a truly WET condition. I still take my impertech. Worth its weight in gold, I find my jacket is the lightest, low profile, quality jacket I can take. Rain gear is a whole different ball game. I know a lot of guys talk about Frogg Toggs for looking to go even lighter with raingear, but I am sure there have been threads about that. Ahhh the joys of mountain hunting.

  4. #4

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    I have used a variety of shells over the years... For any rainstorm over an hour you need something like the Impertech.... Just my opinion....

  5. #5
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    TAKE THE RAIN GEAR! The breathable stuff will not hold up to a day of continuous rain.

  6. #6

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    I'd trust raingear. I get around the weight issue by carrying the packable kind, and the ones I'm happy with now are cabela's ultrapack. They even come in camo. Packable gear ends up getting a few rips every trip, but I think it's an easy fix and well worth it.

    If it's lightening the load that you're concerned with, I find the most effective way is to go with the lightest backpack, tent, and sleeping bag that will serve your purposes. They seem to be the heaviest items. It's also good to be strict about what you carry; every trip I find more stuff that krept into my bag that I end up not using. It's an ongoing process.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

  7. #7
    Member 454casull's Avatar
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    Default Softshell

    Those are some great softshells that you mentioned but they are not waterproof. They are coated with DWR and will hold back a little water for a little while (i.e. pressure against snow, light snowfall, light drizzle, wet foliage or rocks) but they are not designed for a constant rain, especially a wind driven rain like I know we have all got to enjoy on every fall Alaska mountain hunt. LOL. A light weight hardshell is a must for any extended backpack hunt here in Alaska. A lot of guys here like the Impertech although it is a little bulky and heavy for me it does work good. I prefer lightweight high end mountaineering hard shells as long as you keep up on the DWR coating.

  8. #8

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    Absolutely not. Soft shell = fancy name for windbreaker. However, some "soft shells" have a goretex membrane which basically makes them a hardshell. I have Patagonia soft shell and it's basically nylon with a bit of stretch and no membrane. Like anything else, they add a DWR finish so they can say it's good for a shower. They're not built for any sort of hard rain.

  9. #9
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    Is raingear still needed if you use high quality softshells?
    Only to stay dry!

  10. #10

    Default Huh?

    Yes, Impertech is always needed.

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