PSA, What’s Available in Polartec Neoshell?

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  
Marmot shell jackets.

Marmot Zion shell jackets made with Polartec Neoshell.

Someone asked, so here we go: Polartec NeoShell is available in the fall ’11 collections of Westcomb, The North Face, Marmot, Mammut, Rab, 66North and Vaude. All are making jackets, Rab is also making pants, and Mammut is also making some gloves. Westcomb, Rab and 66North are using more hardshell-like versions of Polartec NeoShell (with nylon faces and flat tricot backs). TNF, Marmot and Vaude are using more softshell-like versions (with stretch woven faces and brushed fleece backs), and Mammut is using a super bomber, stretchy Polartec NeoShell fabric that’s kinda in between.

FYI, the Westcomb Switch LT Hoody, made from a flyweight ripstop nylon version of Polartec NeoShell fabric, is the lightest, most minimalist adaptation. For comparison’s sake, the Apoc weighs 16.8 oz and the Switch LT Hoody weighs 15.5 oz.

Westcomb Apoc Jacket
Made from all-new Polartec® NeoShell® fabric, the Apoc is an active alpine jacket optimized for fast-and-light expeditions, including minimalist alpine features like a helmet compatible hood and well-placed pockets and vents with YKK water-resistant zippers. Featuring new Polartec® NeoShell®, the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market, its soft hand, comfort stretch and durability performs for all-around high-energy outdoor activities.

Marmot Zion Jacket
Made from all-new Polartec® NeoShell® fabric, the Marmot Zion is a waterproof and highly breathable soft shell jacket designed for active use in harsh conditions. This version of Polartec® NeoShell® fabric has a soft brushed tricot back, which provides thermal insulation and allows users to take just one garment for cool weather activities by combining the thermal qualities of a softshell jacket with the weather protection of a hardshell. Added features include a stiffened laminated hood brim, water-resistant zippers and screen printing on the shoulders to keep packs and skis from slipping.

The North Face Jammu Jacket
Made from all-new Polartec® NeoShell® fabric, The North Face Jammu is a waterproof and highly breathable soft shell jacket designed for active use in harsh conditions. The particular Polartec® NeoShell® fabric used has a brushed fleece back, which provides thermal insulation and allows users to take just one garment for cool weather activities by combining the thermal qualities of a softshell jacket with the weather protection of a hardshell. Added features include a fully adjustable fixed hood, well-placed pockets, a hideaway hem cinch cord, and non-abrasive molded cuff tabs.

Rab Stretch Neo Jacket
Rab used a lightweight Polartec® NeoShell® stretch waterproof/breathable fabric to make these do-it-all jackets and pants for men and women. Perfect for harsh alpine environments, the jackets incorporate a foldaway hood and well-placed pockets sealed with YKK Aquaguard® zippers. Polartec® NeoShell® is the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market, offering a combination of full protection and dynamic two-way air exchange that helps to keep the user dry and comfortable, no matter what the conditions.

Rab Stretch Neo Pants
Rab used a lightweight Polartec® NeoShell® stretch waterproof/breathable fabric to make these do-it-all jackets and pants for men and women. Perfect for harsh alpine environments, the jackets incorporate a foldaway hood and well-placed pockets sealed with YKK Aquaguard® zippers. Polartec® NeoShell® is the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market, offering a combination of full protection and dynamic two-way air exchange that helps to keep the user dry and comfortable, no matter what the conditions.

Vaude Alpamayo Jacket
Constructed from a stretchy and durable Polartec® NeoShell® fabric with a fleece back for added insulation, the Alpamayo was made using ultrasonic seam welding with exterior taping to reduce bulk while optimizing strength. The combination of Polartec® NeoShell®, the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market, and features like a technical hood, well-placed pockets with water resistant zippers and vents for thermal regulation, this jacket is ready for the harshest conditions.

Mammut Gipfelgrat Jacket
Constructed from a stretchy, durable Polartec® NeoShell® fabric, which provides the most breathability of any waterproof fabric on the market, the Gipfelgrat Jacket was designed for technical alpine use. Suitable for adventures in a wide range of conditions, the Gipfelgrat provides superior protection and comfort, including a reinforced hood shield to withstand strong gusts of wind, ergonomically tailored frontreach sleeves, and front access pit zips for optimized thermal regulation.

(Please note, most of these items may not yet be available at retail, with availability soon. We’ll try to provide shopping links as the stuff comes on the market.)

Comments

25 Responses to “PSA, What’s Available in Polartec Neoshell?”

  1. Greg Louie September 8th, 2011 7:55 pm

    Gipfelgrat? Catchy name, but I think an English word like “summit” or “peak” might have been a better choice . . . the German speakers would still get it.

  2. Verbier61 September 9th, 2011 5:36 am

    so any first-hand report from neoshell users? it looks like the next big thing :)

  3. Lou September 9th, 2011 6:37 am

    Verbier, I used the Westcomb Apoc most of last winter, and used it extensively as I discovered I really liked how Neoshell performed in comparison to my usual favorite classic no membrane softshell. That’s what led me to my vote of Neoshell being one of last winter’s best, as in the previous post. I didn’t review the jacket because it wasn’t going to be available till this fall, and though we do review stuff in advance, the jacket while very nice (it got used) is not that big a deal, it’s the Neoshell that was the big deal.

    I can say, however, that if you want a nice minimalist shell made with Neoshell, the Westcomb Apoc easily passed my muster.

    Shopping suggestions: Weight of course is always a top consideration for WildSnowers, beyond that make sure the hood is helmet compatible (Apoc is), the seams are taped, and the pockets configured in a way you can life with.

    Lou

  4. Tom September 9th, 2011 6:39 am

    I hope that some of them become available soon… The only jacket you can get now is the Rab, for 250 pounds. At one store, that is.

  5. Lou September 9th, 2011 6:44 am

    Tom, my take is it’ll be out there soon, otherwise I would have held off on the shouting about it… if I’m wrong, apologies. I really liked the stuff. Kind of a blend of hard and soft shell performance.

  6. Tom September 9th, 2011 7:58 am

    Don’t worry, I’m not mad. ;) Anyway, it’s very nice that you supplied the information about which brands make soft/hard-shells. I always liked a soft-shell over a hard-shell, so now I know what brands to look at.

    By the way, have you ever tried eVENT? Or even better, have you already done some comparation between eVENT and Neoshell? I’m perticularly interested in the breathability. The specs say the following:
    - Neoshell: 0.5 CFM
    - eVENT: 0.1 CFM
    - GTX: 0 CFM

  7. Eric September 9th, 2011 10:20 am

    Hmm….this sounds interesting. I use a non-membrane softshell (Schoeller?) and it works well, unless the wind is blowing hard. Then I need to bring a lightweight shell with me. It’d be nice to have 1 jacket that breathes well and is windproof.

    How does the NeoShell breath compared to a non-membrane softshell like what I use? And how windproof is it?

  8. Lou September 9th, 2011 10:28 am

    Very windproof, and breaths almost as good as softshell. That’s why I like it. When using, I didn’t have to carry my minimalist hard shell. Nice to eliminate that from the rucksack, as I hardly ever use it and get tired of carrying it.

    But, I still like my true softshell for times when it’s hot, and I know the weather won’t be cold and windy. I also still like the true softshell for things like uphilling workouts and hard hiking, when breathability has to be maximum.

  9. Harpo September 9th, 2011 1:57 pm

    I would also like to know the event/neoshell comparison. Also is the neo as waterproof as a hardshell?

  10. Tom September 9th, 2011 3:25 pm

    I can answer your question about the waterproofness: yes it is. Making your clothing waterproof is, however, not that big of a deal. Some plain plastic does that as good as the most expensive shells. In addition, there is nothing as “twice as dry”. Dry is dry. :)

  11. Lou September 9th, 2011 4:29 pm

    Depends on the hardshell. I disagree with Tom and would say the Neoshell jacket I tried extensively was not as waterproof as a plastic bag, but I found it to be plenty waterproof for most activities (excluding things like backpacking in 10 days of rain, and stuff like that).

  12. Henri Chinasque September 9th, 2011 8:30 pm

    How does this stuff compare to “power shield pro”? I had really thought that power shield pro was going to be the next big thing (even more water resistance with great breathability) but polartec seems to be pushing this stuff into quite a few more jackets, while power shield pro is left to languish.

  13. Tom September 10th, 2011 6:29 am

    I decided to buy the Rab. Yep, hardshell. It’s available at cotsworldoutdoor, but at edgelifewear as well. I ordered it at Edge, just because you can pay with PayPal. I really hope it lives up to the expectations. :)

  14. Lou September 10th, 2011 7:31 am

    Tom, please please let us know your take once you use it. Thanks, Lou

  15. Tom September 11th, 2011 7:13 am

    Will do, but the only activities I’ve planned on doing are the daily bike-trips to work and back. However, I live in Holland, so the weather is… not always that good, if you know what I mean. The Dutch fall is perfect for testing out your gear: you need waterproof and very breathable stuff as the temperature oftenly stays +10 degrees Centigrade. Speaking of rain, it is absolutely gushing down here right now…

    And I still have a small question: do you know how this shell compares to a softshell of a very good quality, like the Serendipity with Schoeller dryskin? I’m still a softshell lover. :P

  16. Tom September 11th, 2011 1:00 pm

    Oops, I of course mean the subjective breathability, not the whole idea. That difference is obviously quite clear.

  17. Telemark skier October 2nd, 2011 1:58 pm

    The neo shell fabric appears to be what I am looking for, I just need a designer to construct a ski jacket with powder skirt good pockets and a lift pass pocket on the sleeve. Helmut compatability is a must + in a nice bright colour.
    Let me know ehn its on the market. Thanks

  18. SnapDragon October 14th, 2011 5:01 am

    Be nice if there were a non-Alpine style jacket available – something with a body length more suited to general outdoors activity.

    Any idea if someone’s going to sell something like that?

  19. Lou October 14th, 2011 8:50 am

    Snap, this stuff really works so I’d say you’ll get your wish, just keep looking. Sorry but I don’t have a direct answer, pretty tough to track what twenty or thirty clothing companies are doing… hard enough to track avalanche airbag backpacks!

  20. Scott October 19th, 2011 1:16 pm

    @Lou,

    I notice that many of these jackets do not have pit zips. Is the neoshell breathable enough to where that is OK? I’d like to take the plunge, but that is one thing I was worried about.

  21. Kevin December 11th, 2011 8:00 pm

    FYI Flylow is coming out with a pant this month that uses Neoshell. Cut pretty loose for most of the Wildsnow crowd, but I have checked out their other offerings and they are well built for sure. They are sticking with their inner/outer thigh vents on these, maybe excessive with a supposedly super breathable fabric.

  22. Herf January 8th, 2012 1:23 pm

    @Scott especially . … I have the Marmot Zion. It’s my new favorite jacket, for a lot of conditions and activities. I’ve had several other soft shells. This is my first, limited season with it, but I have not seen the need for pit zips, which I typically don’t like. Between its relatively lightweight, breathability, and possibly opening pocket and other zippers, it has been real comfortable. For example, rode my bicycle last night in the cold, wet snow and stayed warm and dry.

  23. RalphE February 16th, 2012 4:02 pm

    I ended up with Rab NeoShell jacket & pants which replaced 17-year old Marmot 3-layer Alpinist-style parka and ultralight Thunderlight pant. Both of those pieces had lost their water resistance years ago but were otherwise still serviceable. I choose hardshell for durability against drippy ice climbing.

    I’ll report back as I use these more, as these have seen only one resort ski day and one day on ice. I can say that the new-age purty green colors are dirt magnets not only against 5.7 dirt climbing you’re often rewarded with at the top of ice flows, but even ordinary ski lift riding. It seems like these new lightweight jackets cannot endure as long as the old school stuff and we’ll let time tell, and expect to add some extra insulation underneath. The pants are a decent fit for a tall & skinny guy, and adding elastic cord through the bottom grommets allowed me to leave the usual boot gaiters behind at least for low snow powder approaches. Rab customer service was on the other hand dismal… a dull story.

  24. Zeb October 21st, 2013 9:11 am

    Lou–back around the time of this post, I bought a neoshell product (from EMS), which I like very much. Your review was also positive. But it seems to have gained no traction in the market; I don’t ever see anything from the clothing manufacturers about it. And BD doesn’t seem to have included it in any of its new line. Do you have any idea what happened? Thanks.

  25. Serena Raymond February 12th, 2014 12:26 pm

    When you screen print on these jackets, do you have to use acetone to wipe them down first? Meaning, do you have to remove the weather proofing for the screen printed ink to stick.

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