Loading Notifications...

GROUP TEST: Bombproof Winter Mountain Shells

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Bombproof shells group test What's the ideal shell for Scottish winter climbing and gnarly hill walks? A beefy and protective one! Here we review tough technical jackets from 12 leading manufacturers.

Read more
 Jon Wickham 25 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Wow! What a thorough review. Well done and thank you for taking the time over this. Just a shame that the Haglofs Spitz Jacket isn't included. I assume they weren't interested?

 geordiepie 25 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear

Good review thanks, makes me think the Alpkit is worth looking at given the price of shells now.

Jackets aside I’m intrigued by the running vest style water bottle in some of the photos. I usually drink very little in winter so having something strapped to my chest would just be extra faff for me. Does it not just freeze?

In reply to geordiepie:

> Jackets aside I’m intrigued by the running vest style water bottle in some of the photos. I usually drink very little in winter so having something strapped to my chest would just be extra faff for me. Does it not just freeze?

Rarely to any degree - I guess there is warmth coming off my chest. I bought two Inov8 ones a couple of years ago before ski touring in arctic Norway and they worked really well.  Camelback style tubes do freeze up, and I don't drink enough if I have to stop and find a bottle in my pack, so one 500 ml bottle there is a good compromise for me.

 geordiepie 26 Feb 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Ta. I might give it a try.....can’t be any worse than carrying a full and unused water bottle all day like I usually do.

 BRILLBRUM 26 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Love comprehensive reviews like this but could we counter high-end reviews (I know you look at the less expensive such as Alpkit)  with a look at what's available in the budget ranges. Kit from Trespass, regatta, Mountain Warehouse and the like. 

I'm kitted out in the latest and greatest obviously but my kids are top to toe in Aldi and Regatta and whilst they aren't doing anything overly extreme everything works as designed.

6
 Doug 26 Feb 2020
In reply to BRILLBRUM:

was going to post a similar comment asking how the jackets reviewed compare to similar models from Decathlon.

6
 Pina 26 Feb 2020
In reply to Doug:

Does this argument come up on almost every ukc group review?... Pretty sure the ukc staff have to defend their position each time one of these group reviews (from memory, essentially comes down to decathlon..ect not providing equipment for review or investing in marketing on ukc which is how the site can actually manage to run).

 Doug 26 Feb 2020
In reply to Pina:

I know the reasons why they are not included in the tests but I'm sure some of the testers have also used models not in the test and could make comparisons, a little as they do to early versions of the same jacket or other models from the same company.

6
 Basemetal 26 Feb 2020
In reply to Doug:

> early versions of the same jacket or other models from the same company.

I was just writing when you mentioned this! I find the variations between a manufacturer's models and versions very hard to get a handle on. Especially with annual changes. It puts me off to a large extent.

For example, my ageing ME Kongur used to be a  favourite ( going by the reviews) but isn't around any more. What replaced it and why? I'd really like a narrative from companies to accompany changes. Kit often does improve (yay!) But not all changes are improvements.

 Frank R. 26 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Nice review!

> The main difference between the two is that Performance Shell uses a layer of PU to protect the EPTFE membrane from contamination, whereas Pro uses multiple layers of EPTFE without a PU coating. Since PU coatings do reduce breathability, this makes Pro more breathable. Gore do not provide figures for breathability, so on paper we simply can't say how much better a more expensive alternative in Gore-Tex Pro would have been.

Unfortunately, that's not going to hold true for much longer. Upcoming Gore-Tex Pro will come in three different variants, two of which are significantly different and actually do use a PU layer with single ePTFE layer again instead of several ePTFE layers, all of them called Gore-Tex Pro but with different monikers. You can always count on the marketing people to muddle the waters

"Most Breathable" - pure ePTFE, sacrificial membrane layer to protect from contamination, now bonded to lighter (up to 30D) fabrics, more breathable (RET <6).

"Most Rugged" - ePTFE with PU, bonded to heavier 70-200D fabrics, more rugged than current Pro, less breathable (RET <9).

"Stretch" - ePTFE with PU, even less breathable (RET <13) but highly stretchy.

It seems the point is that jacket manufacturers would combine the three different materials in a single jacket with stretchy panels, durable panels and lighter panels.

I think you are going to need even more paragraphs to explain the technologies and differences in future reviews 

In reply to BRILLBRUM:

>  with a look at what's available in the budget ranges. Kit from Trespass, regatta, Mountain Warehouse and the like. 

I'm not saying you couldn't go winter climbing in a Regatta jacket, but I'm not sure they make any products aimed at Scottish winter climbers - which is basically what that this review is all about. If you use a lightweight or non-technically cut jacket for winter climbing, it's quite likely that you're going to find its not very good.  I don't think saying "this jacket not designed for Scottish winter climbing isn't very good for Scottish winter climbing" is a particularly helpful review!

So yeah, basically its a review of full-on burly hardshell jackets for winter climbing and winter hillwalking. 

In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

My vote goes to the Patagonia Triolet, best by a long way of 4 the hardshells I have had.

 thommi 26 Feb 2020
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

I second this. My go to jacket for 'proper' weather 👍

In reply to thommi:

It was conspicuously absent from the review!

 Sean Kelly 26 Feb 2020
In reply to Basemetal:

> For example, my ageing ME Kongur used to be a  favourite ( going by the reviews) but isn't around any more. What replaced it and why? I'd really like a narrative from companies to accompany changes. Kit often does improve (yay!) But not all changes are improvements.

Could have been the ME Changabang jacket (retailed for about £400 about 8/10 years back) which I have used extensively on umpteen Munros as well as climbing. I liked its shorter length for the latter. Sadly now on the way out. It was also bright yellow which looked good in photos rather than the modern obsession with black or similar. And I have not seen anything but black for over-trousers. Grrrr!

Post edited at 20:08
1
 Basemetal 26 Feb 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

> It was also bright yellow which looked good in photos rather than the modern obsession with black or similar. And I have not seen anything but black for over-trousers. Grrrr!

Agreed, it's a weird choice in rucksacks and bad weather gear. I have some black clothes -a belay jacket and a summer shell -because they were remaindered at half price but wouldn't choose them again

 HeMa 26 Feb 2020

> It was also bright yellow which looked good in photos rather than the modern obsession with black or similar. And I have not seen anything but black for over-trousers. Grrrr!

Pretty much all brands offer them cloths also in bright colors. The shops just don’t stock ’em since your average Joe lookin’ for a waterproof to go to the pub doesn’t really fancy the Neon green or Red jacket, but picks the Black or dark gray (or antracite as the posh people call it).

In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

It is worth bearing in mind that these are top end, high mark up jackets. Waiting a while, or buying last year's model will achieve a significant discount. 

 misterb 26 Feb 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

High price but not high mark up at all

When you see branded clearance from out door retailers they ain't making money from it very often, Unless they bought a boat load of it direct from the manufacturer on clearance like the sports pursuit crowd do

 neuromancer 27 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Perhaps this is simply a product of manufacturers not being briefed properly on the test protocol or how they will be assessed, but it was pretty easy to guess every review from the description of the item.

Brand X mid-level jacket made of mid-level gore: Not as breathable or robust (plus x or y concern about fit that is bodyshape specific and many not apply to everyone)

Brand Y top-of-the-range jacket made of top-level gore: Great (plus x or y concern about fit that is bodyshape specific and many not apply to everyone)

Brand Z top of the range lightweight jacket of top level gore: Great, but not as durable (plus ....).

e.g. Alpha AR vs Tulipak vs Berghaus 5000 Pro - this is a false comparison. The correct comparison would be Alpha SV vs Tulipak vs Berghaus 8000 Pro.

3
In reply to neuromancer:

The brief we sent to the brands was:

Built for winter and alpine climbing in the toughest conditions, these technical shells combine climber-friendly cut and features with durable materials to offer the highest levels of toughness and storm protection. We're not looking to save weight here!

I hope we were pretty clear. It's then up to them to decide what to submit. 

Re the mid level jackets not made of Gore Pro, over several months we've struggled to tell the difference in terms of performance and durability. Perhaps only time will tell on the latter. I think it's valid to include them on the basis of price alone, since they will very much do the job and not everyone has £500 to spend on a shell.

In reply to neuromancer:

And of course there are three jackets on the test that aren't made of Goretex of any type, and I guess some people will be interested in the alternatives to GTX.

It is interesting that Gore seems to be reasserting their dominance of the market. It feels that to some degree they have seen off eVent and NeoShell. Montane and Rab going over to Gore seem indicative of this. It was one of the reasons why I was impressed with Jottnar's new fabric last year and disappointed that I didn't like Futurelight more than I did - I think it has got to be better for the market if there are options beyond Goretex.

 nufkin 27 Feb 2020
In reply to thommi:

>  I second this. My go to jacket for 'proper' weather

I'd add my +1 to this, with reservations - mine is a bit boxy (though that does add space for layers, if one's that way inclined), and, more significantly, in prolonged rain it wicks water down from the hood and behind the zip, to spread out across the torso. It is quite a few years old now, so maybe they've improved the design since I got it, but that's a pretty big flaw. I now pretty much only use it when it's not warm enough to rain. 

It is, at least, a much better colour ('Supply Green', I think they called it) than any of the current offerings, which mostly look a bit drab

In reply to nufkin:

The Triolets aren't ridiculously expensive either. Looking at the Patagonia website I guess they're Goretex Performance rather than Pro in the new naming system?

 LJH 28 Feb 2020
In reply to BRILLBRUM:

You are correct in thinking there are defiantly other options up to the job of Scottish winter. Also unless you are wealthy your probably better dividing you cash between better base layers and a belay jacket.

For years I used a Berghaus Paclite as my waterproof shell which are substantially cheaper then the above. It was absolutely fine in Scotland and Alps and had the advantage of not making me cry if I accidentally put the axe or crampons though it which is worth considering for winter climbing.

TBH most of todays gear upwards of £100 is better then what was used in the 70's when most of the stuff I climb went up....

 olddirtydoggy 29 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Great review and many thanks to all the contributors on the article. I've been trying to get that 'just one more season' out of my old ME Kongur but it's finally given up.  I need the pit zips for the long walk ins so.....

For anyone trying to get a deal on one of these I've managed to get a Marmot Alpinist over at Sport Pursuit for £260

In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> For anyone trying to get a deal on one of these I've managed to get a Marmot Alpinist over at Sport Pursuit for £260

Bargain! I reviewed an earlier iteration of that jacket now a decade ago! https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/clothing/waterproofs/marmot_alpinist_jacket_and_pants-3282 I used it for soggy weather ice climbing and for wild weather https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdLYodSttjg& for a few years before selling it on to mate, who is still using it now - and hasn't complained about it leaking or anything when we winter climb together so that's 10 years of usage out of it. Fingers crossed the current ones are as good.


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.