Puffy or Soft Shell or Both?

crterra

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May 14, 2016
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43
I am almost convinced that I need to buy a puffy jacket and possibly pants. I like the thought of having gear that is packable and versatile for multiple uses and can be taken off and on quickly. My hunts are typically from a base camp, 2-3 day back pack hunt or fish, or day trips from the truck during mostly early to mid season. Up until now I have ran merino base layers and super down vest under a Chinook jacket with rain gear in the pack. Bottom half has been merino zip off under Alpine pants. I have a high elevation archery elk hunt coming up this Sept and need some thoughts please. Couple early questions I have are....
Do you wear these under or over?
Do you size down if wearing under?
I'm leaning heavily towards First Lite Uncompahgre Puffy(and possibly pants). Agree or Disagree?
Thanks in advance for the advice!


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ianpadron

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Feb 3, 2016
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Puffer and a hard shell will do everything you need!

I wear a softshell on day hikes but they stay home when packing in.

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Brendan

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Aug 27, 2013
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Boston, MA
Same as above - Most versatile is a Puffy and Rain Shell, No Soft Shell.

I love soft shells, but they don't insulate that well, and they're (usually) not waterproof, and heavier than a rain shell.

I have a bunch of Primaloft puffy jackets, but bring my Kuiu Kenai for early season use. If I needed something warmer, I'd probably look at the Kifaru Lost Park Parka if one of my generic ones wasn't going to cut it.
 
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crterra

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May 14, 2016
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Puffer and a hard shell will do everything you need!

I wear a softshell on day hikes but they stay home when packing in.

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Thank you. What hard shell do you like?

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crterra

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May 14, 2016
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Same as above - Most versatile is a Puffy and Rain Shell, No Soft Shell.

I love soft shells, but they don't insulate that well, and they're (usually) not waterproof, and heavier than a rain shell.

I have a bunch of Primaloft puffy jackets, but bring my Kuiu Kenai for early season use. If I needed something warmer, I'd probably look at the Kifaru Lost Park Parka if one of my generic ones wasn't going to cut it.
Agreed on the lack of versatility and warmth of the soft shell. What rain jacket do you wear over the Kenai?

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ianpadron

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Thank you. What hard shell do you like?

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I've got a KUIU Yukon for when the shit hits the fan and a KUIU Teton on the way for scouting and fairweather trips.

Can't go wrong with any of the light weight options from any of the big 3 clothing lines.

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Brendan

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Kuiu Chugach for me. Kuiu / First Lite / Sitka are all good options.

What state / what time of year / what conditions is this for?
 

mfllood3800

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Nov 25, 2016
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Utah
I had the first lite soft shell, thought it was my go to warm jacket, and it is water resistant- but temps got down to teens and I was froze. Keep in mind I didn't have any other layers on, but I realized it is a better "around town" jacket than a layering set up FOR ME

Everyone has their own preference. For hiking and spot/stalking Here is my set up:
For the benefit of lightweight I use an outer rain like First lite over a puffy with a wool under everything.

For my hunts where I am set up to intercept and do more sitting- I use heavier, warmer set ups and might bring the soft shell to go over the puffy.

For me any way each set up is a bit different
 

Tsnider

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Sep 8, 2016
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Carbondale, CO
the kryptek aquillo impressed me in February when i used it on an overnight trip in about 25 degree temps. trying the poseidon 2 in the next few weeks on a few different trips. the rain gear size L fits perfectly on top of the aquillo size L.
 

Davebuech

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May 16, 2016
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Rocky Mountains (SLV) Colorado
If you don't have a puffy yet, definitely worth the investment. I have a few and never leave home without one. Just took a light weight one to Florida on a fishing trip and ended up using it! The Uncompahgre is a serious piece of equipment and pretty darn warm. It's fairly quiet for a puffy but a bit bulkier than down. It's a lot more durable than my down though and don't worry if it gets a bit wet.
I'd skip the soft shell and go with your hardshell rain jacket over your puffy if you need extra protection.
 

ColoradoHunterHiker

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Sep 20, 2016
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Colorado
I agree with the puffy/hard shell combo. Honestly, if you're looking for that softshell feel from a puffy, the Kenai from Kuiu is pretty dang close. It's soft, but insulating. For backpacking, I take the superdown and put it on for cold mornings and glassing. If it rains, I just toss a rain jacket on if its bad. If its a light/quick storm the superdown jacket is fine. For rifle, wear the kenai and if it's cold, put the guide jacket on top. If its wet, I just put a rain jacket on top. From what I'm guessing you need, and depending on where you're hunting, I'd say get the Kenai jacket and a rain jacket.

Keep in mind that the Alpine pants don't have a DWR coating. Check the Attack (for all but cold cold weather) or the guide (cold weather only) pants out. Both DWR coated and shed water off well.
 

FreeRange

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Aug 11, 2014
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N. ID
I really like the kenai but it's best use is late season when you're required to move in your puffy, because it breathes so well. The downside is it's not as weather resistant and not as warm for its weight. If you want something to just use sittting and glassing something like the first lite would be better maybe. From what you already have a synthetic puffy would be the way to go and the kenai wouldn't be a bad choice, just keep in mind you'll need to layer a shell over the top of it to cut wind. I also don't like the short cut of the kenai, it's not usually an issue I have but that jacket seems short when you're sitting out in the cold. Sitka is coming out with the new kelvin active that should be really similar to the kenai. Both those jackets you'll probably still want to bring your down best to supplement their warmth.
 
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crterra

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May 14, 2016
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Kuiu Chugach for me. Kuiu / First Lite / Sitka are all good options.

What state / what time of year / what conditions is this for?
This year will be Sep Colorado archery but want to focus on gear with the most versatility

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crterra

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If you don't have a puffy yet, definitely worth the investment. I have a few and never leave home without one. Just took a light weight one to Florida on a fishing trip and ended up using it! The Uncompahgre is a serious piece of equipment and pretty darn warm. It's fairly quiet for a puffy but a bit bulkier than down. It's a lot more durable than my down though and don't worry if it gets a bit wet.
I'd skip the soft shell and go with your hardshell rain jacket over your puffy if you need extra protection.
Exactly what I was hoping to hear. Thanks for the info

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crterra

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I agree with the puffy/hard shell combo. Honestly, if you're looking for that softshell feel from a puffy, the Kenai from Kuiu is pretty dang close. It's soft, but insulating. For backpacking, I take the superdown and put it on for cold mornings and glassing. If it rains, I just toss a rain jacket on if its bad. If its a light/quick storm the superdown jacket is fine. For rifle, wear the kenai and if it's cold, put the guide jacket on top. If its wet, I just put a rain jacket on top. From what I'm guessing you need, and depending on where you're hunting, I'd say get the Kenai jacket and a rain jacket.

Keep in mind that the Alpine pants don't have a DWR coating. Check the Attack (for all but cold cold weather) or the guide (cold weather only) pants out. Both DWR coated and shed water off well.
Awesome info. Thanks for your time and advice

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Callen21

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Feb 21, 2017
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127
Location
Alaska
My puffy is always in my pack. It's also my pillow (have a small pillow case for it)! It has saved my bacon when I get to far from base camp and have to bivy out somewhere.


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Joined
Oct 3, 2013
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Oregon
I ditched the fleece midweight in place of a sitka jetstream light wind shell. I wanted the lightweight windproof jacket to wear over my puffy. Allows you buy any superlight lime green puffy and not worry about trying to hunt in it or tear it.
My setup for early is base, jetstream light, puffy, shell jacket.
Late season all I add is a kelvin light vest. Layering is the key.
 

Desk Jockey

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Apr 5, 2015
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I have been a soft shell fan for hiking and outdoors for 20 years so have. A little bias. Puffy tech is a lot better these days but I still can't let my soft shell go. I spent most of last year still hunting in the east in a northbranch from FL or a UA soft shell, sometimes with a puffy underneath for warmth. If I were out west in open country I might think differently. But If you bust brush a lot in a puffy bring some duct tape and a sewing kit.
 

mcseal2

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May 8, 2014
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2,090
Just curious, are most of you skipping the softshell doing so for early mule deer hunts when the deer are up high, or do you continue that through October and early November?

I haven't skipped the softshell yet. I rifle hunt and it's usually Oct through early Nov depending on the hunt. I hunt the thick stuff quite a bit and it's quieter as mentioned above. I also don't have a top notch breathable rain jacket. I use either the Cabelas space rain packable set, or a Marmot Precip jacket I picked up. Both are fragile and noisy but work if I'm careful. If I go dayhunting in the rain I use the Helly Hensen bibs and jacket and hunt real slow, or pair the bibs with the Marmot jacket for more ventilation and still go slow. For softshell I have a mix of what I could buy on sale or Camofire. I have 4pr of different weight Kryptek pants. Also 2pr of Sitka Ascent pants and 2pr of their mountain pant. I use the Kryptek Dalibor II almost all the time now as my jacket, and sometimes add a Russel APXG2 or Sitka Jetstream Lite vest. The Dalibor II has the best hood I've found and has become a big favorite. I use the Sitka Celcius jacket and Kuiu Kenai pants as my puffy layer. I obviously don't take or use all of then each trip, that's just the options I fit to the forecast.
 
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