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Old 12-28-2012, 06:30 PM   #1
Mav OP
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Polartec Neoshell...

Anyone got any experience of this material? It's supposed to be as breathable as a softshell, and yet still waterproof! If it's as good as the review suggest, I don't understand why you'd make a jacket out of anything else (other than cost) and yet there really aren't that many jackets made from it - and very few from the mainstream manufacturers.

So, anyone got any practical experience? Are there any drawbacks? The jacket I'm thinking of is the Marmot Zion...
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:27 PM   #2
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Zion is a great jacket... and if you're looking for that perfect weatherproof softshell and $ isn't a concern, look no further than Neoshell.

Basic fabric industry waterproof standards require resistance of 10,000mm of water pressure. Neo does that and no more... more moves you into a hardshell category and you start to lose stretch and breathability. Where Neoshell really delivers is its ability to allow vapor to escape in little-to-no-pressure environments. In a traditional hardshell, heat and moisture have to reach higher pressures to be 'pushed' through the fabric while Neoshell allows moisture vapor to release much easier.

End result should be that under high exertion activities you're actively pushing moisture through (just like a hardshell)... but when you slow or stop moving - the moisture keeps on moving, not needing the high-pressure climate to keep 'breathing' which results in you being drier and feeling less windchill.

So the only drawbacks are... it is spendy and it is a newer technology. Why isn't there more of it? It is very costly in development, sourcing and manufacturing. Give it time and it will become as common as Gore-Tex. Polartec has its eyes on a winner here.

My experience: I have been wearing a Neoshell instead of my usual hardshell and for the last several months. What I have come to appreciate is its ability to manage interior moisture. So yes, I have noticed a difference... I can wear thinner baselayers and stay comfortable (read: less sweaty) without having to manipulate zippers and vents as I have had to when wearing a hardshell.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info patch - that's really useful
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:42 AM   #4
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you can get it in black size large for $224 which is a nice buy ~ http://www.backcountry.com/marmot-zion-jacket-mens

what will you be using the jacket for? whether its right or worth it really depends on what you will be doing.

Unlike the previous poster I have used almost all the materials out there except for the NeoShell, as I really don't need a jacket right now. Goretex has had semi stretchy shells out for a few years now, and now there are a TON of stretchy shell offerings out there. So keep that it mind, especially now that in-house products like Marmot's Membraine and Mountain Hardware's Dry.Q.Elite are super good and cheaper ~ many times just as good as the expensive Goretex, Schoeller and Polartec offerings but don't offer that 'cache'.

I tried on the Marmot Zion and was surprised at the heft and lack of true stretch. Its not really a true softshell and what they are intended for. It was typical nice Marmot quality, but I prefer layering systems and lighterweight materials vs a 700g shell. I also require a separate hood and collar ~ its an absolute must IMO if you want to use a jacket for any non-helmet activities. Also my bottom line has always been when skinning or any high exertion activities, pitzips are needed. No matter what the manufactures promise. If you think not, then your not working hard enough or don't need something that breathable.

That said I welcome more breathable with open arms.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:44 AM   #5
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check out Westcomb if you really want the 'good stuff'. I have their Skeena Hoody and their products are far and away the best I have seen. I would even rate them higher than Arc'Teryx, of which I own many products.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by snorske View Post
you can get it in black size large for $224 which is a nice buy ~ http://www.backcountry.com/marmot-zion-jacket-mens

what will you be using the jacket for? whether its right or worth it really depends on what you will be doing.

Unlike the previous poster I have used almost all the materials out there except for the NeoShell, as I really don't need a jacket right now. Goretex has had semi stretchy shells out for a few years now, and now there are a TON of stretchy shell offerings out there. So keep that it mind, especially now that in-house products like Marmot's Membraine and Mountain Hardware's Dry.Q.Elite are super good and cheaper ~ many times just as good as the expensive Goretex, Schoeller and Polartec offerings but don't offer that 'cache'.

I tried on the Marmot Zion and was surprised at the heft and lack of true stretch. Its not really a true softshell and what they are intended for. It was typical nice Marmot quality, but I prefer layering systems and lighterweight materials vs a 700g shell. I also require a separate hood and collar ~ its an absolute must IMO if you want to use a jacket for any non-helmet activities. Also my bottom line has always been when skinning or any high exertion activities, pitzips are needed. No matter what the manufactures promise. If you think not, then your not working hard enough or don't need something that breathable.

That said I welcome more breathable with open arms.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snorske View Post
check out Westcomb if you really want the 'good stuff'. I have their Skeena Hoody and their products are far and away the best I have seen. I would even rate them higher than Arc'Teryx, of which I own many products.
Thanks snorske - that's some useful insight

As for the neoshell in particular, I thought it was less about being stretchy but more about being much more breathable, no?
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mav View Post
As for the neoshell in particular, I thought it was less about being stretchy but more about being much more breathable, no?
Yes... increased breathability with waterproof performance are the key features. I was just adding that the fabric does retain some give... so it can be compared to the Gore, Schoeller and other stretchy products out there in that respect.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:42 PM   #8
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+1 on Westcomb. Great gear, good people. All made in North America as well, no outsourcing, thus the slightly higher price.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:54 AM   #9
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Turns out EMS has 30% off the Marmot Zion right now so pulled the trigger!



Feels really light to wear - wore it for a brisk walk in the rain this morning, about 45 degrees, and zero condensation on the inside. Don't think my gore tex would've been so dry. So feeling very good about this purchase so far
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