Cheap and Darned Good Softshell
Been looking for a "Go To" softshell jacket. Not an exped bit of kit, more of a "what's the weather doin' today" kinda jacket. So did not want to spend $100s.
Google-fu came up with the Condor Softshell
A bit military moronesque, but function over form. Lots of good reviews around the net, only concerns being the zips (not YKK) and the sizing is on the small.
I figured for $85 ish, what the heck.
Had it for just over a month now and probably the best $85 I have spent. Firstly the sizing is now sorted - I wear an XL, bought an XL and the fit is perfect - enough to add a couple of layers under, but also can still get a good XL waterproof shell on top.
The zips, while not YKK, I have seen a lot worse on far more expensive jackets. I figure if I really have an issue I can go to maritime outfitters and have a waterproof YKK put on main zip.
No Softshell is supposed to be waterproof, just good water-resistant. This jacket has surpased my expectations - I have various North-face, columbia, Berghaus "waterproof jackets and always a bit of seepage somewhere. This jacket has so far kept me bone dry in up to 2 hours of Kodiak torrential downpoor. More than expected for a softshell. The outershell got soaked, but nothing got through the middle membrane. It dried completelty in about 10 mins.
Also the pockets have kept my phone, wallet and cigs bone dry. The big bonus is the chest pockets fit a good size fishing lure box!! In fact all of the pockets are well designed - a place for phone/wallet, pocket knife, flashlight etc. The arm pockets especially useful when on the river for flys, smokes etc.
The hood is designed to go over a helmet, great for when you are fishing as it covers a ball cap nicely.
The jacket is also nice and warm (totally windproof) and the pit zips allow great ventilation.
I have no affiliation with the company. And as I say, I would not recommend this as an exped jacket, but as a "go-to" everyday jacket, fishing or even hunting it is a good deal.
Well, this looks perfect for me! I am going to order one up I think. I am 6'5" and 250lbs so I am hoping that the 3xl fits good. Always nice to hear people complain about too long of sleeves, that means it just might fit me! While I may well wear it as a jacket back home but it's intended purpose will suite me perfectly! Having pockets that I can get to under my IBA will be a big bonus and pit zips for hot rides in the back of a CH47 will be a god send! Pockets on the arms is another positive feature. I have pockets for my iPod on the vest but I get nervous with them because when I bump up against stuff the iPod is pinned against the SAPI plate so I am constantly affraid that I am going to bust a screen. At $300 for 32 gig Ipod touch that is a big "oops". Oh and more places to stash gatorade when leaving the chow hall is always welcome!
Did not put in OP, but I am recently retired after 20 years mil. This jacket would have been a go everywhere bit of kit. Ideal for sandbox cold nights. Never carried an iPod in my mil kit though!! FWIW I am 6'2" 210# and the XL is perfect. If you go to the Condor site there is a sizing chart last of the pictures on this link
just measure a good fitting jacket for your size.
LOL, yeah I use the ipod for FOB hopping in choppers. Good in ear headphones and I get to enjoy music instead of listening to the rotor whop. Occasionally I get on a rotator flight that will last for HOURS!! Being crammed in there at my size is bad enough, good tunes takes the mind off it. Thanks for the link to the sizing chart!!
Have you wore it in the rain yet? What about backpacking in the rain. I'm curious if it stays waterproof and how well it breathes.
I have worn the jacket pretty much everyday since I bought it. It's been huntin shootin and fishing with me and serve all very well. I have been caught out in some serious Kodiak downpours and it has not let a drop in. Altough the softshell is only water resistant so after a while it hols some water, the middle membrane repels everything.
I have done a few long hunting hikes where breathability has been important and it works very well, the full length pit zips aid venting a lot. Been through high grass, alders etc and no pulling of the shell material at all. The zips (which according to reviews are a weak point) have been 100%.
As said in my OP, I bought it as a "go to" jacket and so far (winter still to hit) it is working out to be my only jacket. The only thing I adjust are the layers underneath it; either a t-shirt, thermal (when hunting), microfleece or a mix of each.
To emphasise, my wife is fairly fashion conscious with her outdoor gear, she has now asked me to get her one of these jackets - black or foliage.
Just a darned useful bit of kit for little money.
I have one As well and it is awesome! Far north tactical here in fairbanks carrys them in black tan od green and foliAge as well as a bunch of other condor stuff. I think they are asking 90 for them which is more than retail bit if you factor in shipping then it's about the same
Thanks for the update, I think I need one.
I was all set to pick one up then SAC put up a $350 mountain hardwear jacket for $105 and I jumped on that instead.
Just a quick update. I have worn this Jacket almost everyday since I got it last August. In rain snow, sleat and general AK weather. It's been hunting, fishing, sledding, skiing, you name it. It really has proved to be my do it all jacket and I could not be more pleased with it's quality and weatherproofing. It is not 100% waterproof (not designed to be), yet only once I have felt the need to throw an event shell on top.
All of the zippers, velcro cuffs etc have functioned flawlessly in all weather and it has kept me warm. In the coldest days I have only ever had a thermal top and microfleece under it. The material has not snagged or pulled at all, even when crawling through alders.
Only damage it has suffered is when I strapped it on top of my pack and manged to stuff a carbide tip from a hiking pole into the sleeve!! A quick stitch and it was fixed.
Probably best feature is the butt pocket, always has lightweight hat, neckwarmer and liner gloves in there and gets constant use.
Without doubt, the best $85 I have spent on a jacket and I would actually be pleased if it had cost me twice as much. Very highly recommended.