How important is a softshell

SoutheastGoesWest

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Jul 15, 2017
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Location
Mid TN
I’ve used a softshell over my base and mids and if its colder, I’ll wear over a puffy when stationary. Protects my layers from snagging on brush. But I am curious for the large crowd here that doesn’t use a softshell, what kind of shell are you using that holds up to briars, branches, etc? If I can lose the weight of a softshell, I’d be happy!
 

Pontius

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Feb 15, 2014
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83
Location
Colorado
Softshell is nice to walk the dog a fixed distance at a known temperature. I don't bring it hunting in the west. Far too heavy and unpackable to only meet a single design point. If I spent all my time in wet brush farther east, I might consider it.
 
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Lowg08

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I ended up buying a catalyst jacket for those wetter days. At times I get soaked in October rains and such here.
 

MokeBerserker

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Feb 26, 2020
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I’ve used a softshell over my base and mids and if its colder, I’ll wear over a puffy when stationary. Protects my layers from snagging on brush. But I am curious for the large crowd here that doesn’t use a softshell, what kind of shell are you using that holds up to briars, branches, etc? If I can lose the weight of a softshell, I’d be happy!
I do the same. Base is a thin T-shirt, and if its warm ill go straight to the softshell early season. Ill add a hoodie and/or warmer base on colder hunts to that. Then the puffy and rain jacket last. My softshell isnt heavy though - kutana hybrid 3defx. Actually had one for everyday wear first. Then got another for hunting since i found it so comfortable. Cuts wind ok, breathable, drys fast, tough as nails, and fairly lightweight. I tried a heavy softshell, never wore it, then sold it. Tried no softshell and tore up clothes, so i went hybrid mainly to protect my lighter layers. Ever wear my puffy under it on the move if its well below freezing, or over it when stopped.
 

DogBones11

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Jan 3, 2021
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Sure is a lot of hate here for softshells, as if there's only 2 types of hunting. 1- mountain sheep 4 layer high speed. 2- tree stand. Pick one.

In reality, most hunters are not doing 10 day mountain pack in hunts. Most hunters do day trips based from home or a base camp near the truck and don't need to count grams.

Soft shells are fine if you like them. Use whatever you want. I use one sometimes and I love it.
 
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Lowg08

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Aug 31, 2019
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I got to figuring certain situations one would be beneficial. I really think I will like the one I picked up.
 

Rock-o

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Aug 15, 2019
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I started with a softshell. So far, so good. I don't know what I'm missing if anything.
 
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Lowg08

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Aug 31, 2019
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I won’t lie at first I had a kuiu guide set. It was just to swishy sounding. The FL catalyst is a different story. Aside from that. The have a puffy set up with rain shell. Windshirt over bases , soft shell set up lol. So I guess I like it all.
 

Gatorgrizz27

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Dec 11, 2016
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558
Location
Tallahassee, FL
I bring a soft shell if it’s cold enough that I’ll be wearing it most of the time.
Pretty much my views. To me, when it’s cool/breezy/damp/dreary, but not extreme weather, there is nothing more comfortable and versatile than a soft shell. I know technically the weight of clothes you wear counts even more than stuff if your pack, but it doesn’t feel that way to me.

If I expect to wear it the majority of the time, I’ll bring one and wear it. If it falls into the “might be nice to have” it stays home.
 

Buglebrush

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Mar 18, 2014
Messages
214
I don't even own one anymore. It just really didn't have a place in my lineup. They're awesome jackets, but don't breathe well enough and are just way to heavy for mountain hunting. If I hunted open country with a lot of wind I would probably feel different. I choose from the following lineup: Merino Base, heavier merino hoody, Puffy, Puffy Vest, Merino Vest, rain gear. Some combination of that will get me from Summer to Winter.
 

Deli

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Apr 17, 2020
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I don't even own one anymore. It just really didn't have a place in my lineup. They're awesome jackets, but don't breathe well enough and are just way to heavy for mountain hunting. If I hunted open country with a lot of wind I would probably feel different. I choose from the following lineup: Merino Base, heavier merino hoody, Puffy, Puffy Vest, Merino Vest, rain gear. Some combination of that will get me from Summer to Winter.
Can I ask what merino vest you use? Considering adding something like this as a layer option that's quieter than my puffy vest.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

ramsdude47

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Feb 20, 2020
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375
Softshells are the proverbial jack of all trades (master of none) of the “technical outerwear” world.

Personally I would never consider bringing one on any kind of backpacking trip. You can easily combine 2 lightweight pieces (fleece/wind jacket/hard shell) for the same weight that will exceed the performance of a softshell.
 

Buglebrush

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Mar 18, 2014
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Can I ask what merino vest you use? Considering adding something like this as a layer option that's quieter than my puffy vest.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
I have an icebreaker one. It's actually camo. Got it off Sierra Trading years ago. 100% Merino.
 

Buglebrush

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Mar 18, 2014
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Interestingly, I just looked, and cannot find one like I have. I think it was their "bodyfit" 250g. It's thicker on the front with great zippered pockets, but really thin on the back which I really like since I always am wearing my EXO. One of my favorite layers, and it's a bummer they're not available anymore.
 

Weston

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Jun 17, 2013
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Pinal County AZ
I’m clearly an outlier, but my Sitka jet stream gets a ton of use. Granted, most of my backpacking is done for late season coues deer hunts in AZ and NM desert.

I have more Sitka than you can shake a stick at and a pile of Kuiu also including a full superdown set.

The down is clearly invaluable as part of a layering system and when temperatures get much below freezing, but a fair number of my hunts don’t get cold enough to warrant down for the vast majority of the day, and rain is very rare during the late fall/early winter.

If forecasts are good, I’ll often wear base layers, Sitka ascent Top and bottom and a jet stream as my entire system. The soft shell offers enough rain resistance for any Smaller storms and even enough to set up more shelter if needed.

it’s worlds tougher than most other layering systems while remaining quiet and wind proof enough.

A puffy jacket and thin rainshell lasts about 200 yards going through some of the thickets in coues country. And taking it off and on every time you decide to move gets old quick.

if I were hunting in different conditions I can totally see the appeal of favoring more versatile and often lighter but hunting and guiding 6-8 of these trips a year there comes a point when simplicity and durability shine.
 

ccarter

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Mar 23, 2015
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I've never used a true soft shell. Like others, if find them heavy for the amount of warmth they provide. I do have a Kuiu Peloton 240, which I wouldn't consider a true soft shell, but I much prefer the Kutana hybrid. 40 grams of active insulation in chest and shoulders, fleece in the back area. It's nearly as light as fleece, warmer and more wind resistant than the 240, and it's cut snug and stretchy enough to easily go under a puffy. I'd like it even better if the collar were a couple inches taller.
 

MokeBerserker

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Feb 26, 2020
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I've never used a true soft shell. Like others, if find them heavy for the amount of warmth they provide. I do have a Kuiu Peloton 240, which I wouldn't consider a true soft shell, but I much prefer the Kutana hybrid. 40 grams of active insulation in chest and shoulders, fleece in the back area. It's nearly as light as fleece, warmer and more wind resistant than the 240, and it's cut snug and stretchy enough to easily go under a puffy. I'd like it even better if the collar were a couple inches taller.
I wish they offered a hood on it, either fixed or detachable. But Im right there with you on the kutana hybrid - its awesome and can take a beating.
 

406unltd

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Jul 6, 2018
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Never used one so not super important. I think it depends on who you are and what you like.
 

mtwarden

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Oct 18, 2016
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Montana
no soft-shell here (save pants),I find an active layer and windshirt more versatile and lighter
 

scott_co

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Nov 2, 2020
Messages
94
Location
Boulder, CO
I use a Kuiu Pelton 240 soft shell in the early archery season elk hunting in CO and whitetail/hogs in TX in December.

I have an insulated jacket that I pull out if the temps drop below the 30s.
 
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