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North Face Slickrock Ultralight Series
Tents
Gregory and Kelty packs
Backpacks
Marmot sleeping bags
Sleeping Bags

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Buyer's Guide to Best Sellers


Men's Jackets

The North Face Denali Fleece Jacket
The North Face Windwall 1 Fleece Jacket
The North Face Venture Jacket
The North Face Atlas Triclimate Jacket
The North Face Diez Down Jacket
The North Face Apex Bionic Softshell
Oakley Rider Hooded Sweatshirt
Patagonia Down Sweater Full-Zip Hooded
Patagonia R4 Fleece Jacket
Columbia Steens Mountain Full-Zip
Marmot PreCip Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Exposure II Parka
Mountain Hardwear Alchemy Softshell
The North Face McMurdo Parka
66 North Iceland Glymur Hooded Softshell
Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero Down
Marmot Original DriClime Windshirt
Women's Jackets

The North Face Apex Bionic Jacket
Marmot PreCip Jacket
Marmot Montreaux Down Coat
The North Face Osito Fleece Jacket
The North Face Khumbu Fleece Jacket
The North Face Oso Hooded Fleece
Mountain Hardwear Monkey Woman Fleece Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero Down
Mountain Hardwear Sarafin Sweater
Patagonia Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket
Patagonia Ultralight Fiona Down Parka
KUHL Stovepipe Fleece Pullover
Mountain Hardwear Sarafin Cardigan
Mountain Hardwear Descent DT Jacket
Canada Goose Icicle Down Vest
Men's Footwear

Reef Fanning Sandal
Reef Leather Fanning Sandal
Sorel Caribou Boot
DC Court Graffik Skate Shoe
Chaco Flip Sandal
KEEN Newport H2 Sandal
Vasque Sundowner GTX Boot
Chaco Z/1 Unaweep Sandal
Sanuk Donny Shoe
DC Command Skate Shoe
Women's Footwear

Chaco Flip Sandal
KEEN Bali Sandal
Reef Sandy Sandal
Reef Ginger Sandal
Chaco ZX/2 Unaweep Sandal
KEEN Newport H2 Sandal
Dansko Professional Cabrio Clog
KEEN Venice H2 Sandal
Dansko Professional Oiled Clog
Chaco Z/2 Unaweep Sandal
Sleeping Bags

Sea To Summit Seam Sealed Stuff Sack
Black Diamond Tripod Bivy Bag
Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack
Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite Stuff Sack
Sea To Summit eVent Dry Sack
Black Diamond Bipod Bivy Bag
Therm-a-Rest Stuff Sack Pillow
Black Diamond Hooped Bivy Sack
Outdoor Research DryComp Summit Sack
Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy
Backpacks

The North Face Roo Lumbar Pack
CamelBak Tube Trap
CamelBak CamelClip
The North Face Mountain Biker Lumbar
CamelBak Big Bite Valve Mouthpiece
The North Face Sport Hiker Lumbar Pack
Gregory Z 30 Backpack
Osprey Packs Talon 22 Backpack
MSR Hydration Kit
Arc'teryx Silo 40 Backpack
Tents

Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 Super Light
Black Diamond Tripod Bivy Bag
Black Diamond Mesa Tent
Black Diamond Firstlight I-Tent Footprint
Black Diamond Bipod Bivy Bag
Black Diamond Vista Footprint
Black Diamond Tripod and Lightsabret
Black Diamond HiLight Footprint
Integral Designs Siltarp3
Marmot Limelight 2-Person Tent
Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL3 Fly
Stoves

MSR WhisperLite International Multi-Fuel
MSR Pocket Rocket Stove
Jetboil Coffee Press
Jetboil Group Cooking System
Snow Peak GigaPower Windscreen
MSR Reactor Stove
MSR WindPro Stove
MSR DragonFly Stove
MSR Expedition Service Kits
Jetboil Pot Support and Stability Kit
Sunglasses

Spy Dynasty Sunglasses
Oakley Gas Can Sunglasses
Oakley M Frame Heater
Oakley M Frame Sweep
Oakley Tangent Sunglasses
Electric Technician Sunglasses
Electric BSG Sunglasses
Smith I/O Goggles
Von Zipper Stache Sunglasses
Von Zipper Sham Sunglasses
Oakley M Frame Strike
Electric EC/DC Sunglasses - Polarized
Water Treatment

Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets
MSR Dromedary Bags
CamelBak Tube Trap
MSR Hydromedary Hydration Bag
CamelBak CamelClip
Katadyn Hiker Pro Replacement Cartridge
CamelBak Big Bite Valve Mouthpiece
Katadyn Hiker Water Microfilter
Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Microfilter
MSR Hydration Kit


 

Backcountry Reports

What the Heck is Soft Shell?

 
  Understand this modern marvel!  
 
  by Alex Sepulveda  
 
 

What is a Soft Shell?

Soft Shell is the term used to describe a new kind of outerwear that is more breathable, flexible, and comfortable than the stiff, crinkly Gore-Tex like pants and jackets (called Hard Shells) that have dominated the market for years now. Soft Shells combine many of the benefits of waterproof Hard Shells with more comfortable garments like fleece. Yet Soft Shells are neither.

The Problem with Hard Shells

Hard shells are made with laminates like Gore-Tex that are applied to the fabric used to make jackets and pants. Gore-Tex was such a hit—and still is—because of its unparalleled water resistant properties, and because it “breathes,” meaning it allows vapor from your sweat to escape from the shell while disallowing water from rain or snow to penetrate. But it doesn’t breathe enough!

The problem many outdoor enthusiasts have encountered is that when you’re outside, even in wet, cold, wintry conditions, and working up an aerobic sweat, this moisture remains trapped inside your Hard Shell jacket and pants rendering their waterproof factor useless. You’re left with an unpleasant clamminess that will chill you to the bone when you stop to rest. Besides the moisture problem, people just “got sick of the noise [from hard shell fabric], the zipping and unzipping, and wanted more comfortable apparel in the backcountry that you didn’t have to take on and off all day,” recounts Stephen Sullivan, Owner and Founder of Cloudveil, a Jackson based outerwear company.

Enter Soft Shells

Several pioneering companies, like Cloudveil, have independently sought to remedy the pitfalls of Hard Shells, and their collective work has resulted in Soft Shell technology. Soft Shells use sophisticated stretch woven fabrics with tight layered weaves and durable water repellent (DWR) treatments to guard against wind, rain, and snow in all but the most severe weather conditions. In other words, a Soft Shell keeps weather out like a Hard Shell, but breathes like fleece. That means you don’t get nearly as sweaty during aerobic activities like ascending a mountain or cross-country skiing, and you’re able to regulate your temperature much more effectively and remain comfortable during rigorous activity.

Besides unmatched breathability, Soft Shells are fantastically flexible relative to their Hard Shell counterparts, fitting to your body without constricting, and stretching naturally when you move. Climbers get a full range of motion and a nice fluid stab at the ice in a Soft Shell jacket without crinkly Hard Shell fabric impeding the swing of an axe. Skiers feel like they’re hiking up the mountain in quiet fitted slacks, not loud harsh Gore-Tex, and their legs can actually breathe in a Soft Shell pant reducing the need for side zips with bulky flaps.

The Soft Shell concept is still being refined. Many Soft Shell jackets lack obvious ski/snowboard features like a powder skirt and hood because they emerged mostly out of climbing pursuits and not resort skiing/riding. Jacob Uhland, our The North Face Sales Rep explains that about ten years ago after the Swiss developed Schoeller, the stretch fabric used to make The North Face’s and Cloudveil’s Soft Shells, “rock climbers were some of the first to embrace [it] due to its abrasion resistance and stretchy characteristics. Once people figured out how well it blocked wind and precipitation, it found its way into clothing for backcountry ski touring.” Voilà!

Salomon has introduced Soft Shell jackets and pants oriented specifically for the resort throwing in features like a pocket for your disc player, powder skirt, hood, and reinforcements on pant cuffs that see high abrasion. Of course, if you’re a resort rider, you shouldn’t feel limited to these options—Soft Shells without hoods and powder skirts usually have cinchcords at the hem and collar that keep snow out effectively.

The Take Home Message

Soft Shells are pants and jackets made from stretchy fabric that fit like a glove without constricting, stretch fluidly with the body without resisting, and allow moisture to escape from inside without letting it penetrate from outside. They are good for all types of climbing, cross-country and backcountry skiing, hiking, and for any outdoor activity with an aerobic element where protection from rain and snow is important. Think of Soft Shells as one big efficient moisture management system. Like Gore-Tex, it shall be heralded a wonder garment.

Soft Shells compared to a Gore-Tex Shell:

3 times more breathable
Way more stretch
Not as waterproof but will easily shed hours of light, dry snowfall
Not as windproof but blocks about 90% of the wind
BY FAR more comfortable in all but the nastiest conditions

Soft Shells compared to fleece:


Does not pill, i.e., will not start looking like a terry cloth rag
Resists water whereas a fleece acts like a sponge in rain and snow
Blocks wind that cuts right through fleece
Don’t attract animal hair (pet owners love this quality!)


Article courtesy of Backcountry.com
 
 

Most popular products for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Skiing, Snowboarding, Climbing:


Atomic Downhill Skis
Black Diamond Cam
Brunton Multi-Navigator GPS
Burton Snowboards
Camelbak Mule
Chaco Z/2 Colorado Sandal
Dynastar Skis
First Need Water Filter
Gramicci Shorts
Head Skis
K2 Super Stinx Telemark Skis
Katadyn Water Filter
Kelty Backpacks
Kelty External Frame Backpack
Kelty Convertible Strollers
Kelty Deuce Coupe 16 Jogger
Kelty Grand Canyon 11 Tent
Kelty Joyride 16
Kelty Light Year 3D Sleeping Bag
Kelty Mantra 7 Tent
Kelty Ridgeline Kid Carrier
Kelty Sun Shade
Kelty Sun Shelter
Kelty Tents
Line Skis
Marmot DriClime Windshirt
Marmot Precip Jacket
Masters Kompressor Top Trekking Pole
MSR Camping Stove
Nixon Watches
North Face Jackets
Oakley A Wires Sunglasses
Oakley Big Smoke Sandals
Oakley C Wires Sunglasses
Oakley D1 Watch
Oakley D5 Watch
Oakley Fives Sunglasses
Oakley Frogskins Sunglasses
Oakley Minute Sunglasses
Oakley Full Metal Twenty
Oakley Half Jacket Sunglasses
Oakley Icon Backpack
Oakley Juliet Sunglasses
Oakley M Frame New Hybrid
Oakley M Frame Strike Sweep
Oakley Polarized Lens
Oakley New Eye Jacket
Oakley Penny Sunglasses
Oakley Romeo Sunglasses
Oakley Scar Sunglasses
Oakley Smoke Sandals
Oakley Splice Sunglasses
Oakley Square Wire
OakleyStraight Jacket
Oakley Sunglasses
OakleySwitch Sunglasses
Oakley Wiretap Sunglasses
XX Ti02
Optimus Nova Stove
Palmer Snowboards
Paha Que Screen Room
Palmer Liberty Snowboard
Perception Kayaks
Polar Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Rossignol Downhill Skis
Salomon Exit Low
Salomon Alpine Skis
Salomon Snowclogs
Salomon STF6 GTX Hiking Boot
Salomon Tech Amphibian Shoe
Salomon XA Pro
Smith Sunglasses
Smith Slider Series Toaster Suglasses
Snow Peak Stove
Spy Sunglasses
Suunto Metron Heart Rate Monitor
Suunto Observer Titanium Watch
Suunto Vector Watch
Suunto X6 Watch
Thule Bike Racks
Oakley
Google Recreation Directory
North Face Badlands Backpack
North Face Backpacks
North Face Base Camp Duffel
North Face Bedrock Tent
North Face Borealis Backpack
North Face Cats Meow Sleeping Bag
North Face Denali Fleece Jacket
North Face Denali Jacket Womens
North Face Ski Jackets
North Face Flight Sleeping Bag
North Face Hot Shot Backpack
North Face Kilo Sleeping Bag
North Face Mountain 25 Tent
North Face Mountain Light Jacket
North Face Recon Backpack
North Face Roadrunner 2 Tent
North Face Rolling Thunder
North Face Slickrock Ultralight
North Face Snowshoe Sleeping Bag
North Face Stamina 70 Backpack
North Face Stratos ConversatileTent 3
North Face SuperLight Endurance
North Face Switchback Trail Running Shoe
North Face Tents
North Face Trek Light GTX Hiking Boot
North Face Ultra 100 Trail Shoe
North Face VE 25 Tent
North Face Yavapai Backpack
Yakima Bike Racks

We carry the following Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Skiing, Snowboarding, Climbing, Bicycling
and Outdoor Recreational Equipment, Gear and Clothing:

Alpine Skis
Altimeters
Avalanche Beacons
Backpacks
Base Layer
Bicycles
Bike Racks
Bindings
Binoculars
Bivy Sacks
Camping Equipment
Camelbaks
Climbing Gear
Clogs
Compasses
Crampons
Cross Country
Cycling Gear
Daypacks
Down Parkas
Fleece Jackets
Food
Goggles
Goretex
Harnesses
Headlamps
Helmets
Hiking Boots
Hydration Packs
Ice Axes
Kayaks
Kids Equipment
Long Underwear
Pads
Polartec
Rain Wind Pants
Ropes
Skis
Ski Bindings
Ski Boots
Ski Helmets
Ski Goggles
Sleeping Bags
Snowboards
Snowboard Bindings
Snowboard Boots
Snowshoes
Stoves
Sunglasses
Telemark Skis
Tents
Thermarest
Trail Running Shoes
Trekking Poles
Watches
Water Bottles
Water Filters


Descriptions of Best Sellers


Arc'teryx Men's Theta SV Bib. The Arc'teryx Theta SV Bib has a rugged surface material over its Gore-Tex Pro waterproof breathable material for long-lasting durability required in rough alpine areas. As bad as the weather gets, this Arc'teryx bib can handle it, with a high-waist design and built-in gaiters. Waist-to-ankle side zippers allow you to put on this bib even with your big boots on, and large ankles can deal with the large footwear. The Theta SV Bib also features a gusseted crotch to increase freedom of movement and a front zipper to make it easy to answer nature's call.

The North Face Men's and Women's Venture Jacket includes Hyvent 2.5-layer waterproof a breathable fabric, underarm zippers and versatile packing. Excellent rainwear coverage. Sealed seams. Hidden Hood drawcord mechanism. Smooth chin guard material eliminates scratching and rash.

The North Face Base Camp Duffel. Strong durable fabric stands up to a tough handling and workload. Shoulder straps allow for easy use as a backpack. Good for big outdoor adventures or a weekender at the relatives. Two mesh pockets inside hold small gear, and the efficient zipper gives excellent access to all areas. 4 compression straps make the gear easy to maneuver.

The Arc'teryx Atom LT Hooded Insulation Jacket was made to serve double time as a lightweight jacket on chilly days and a warm, insulated mid-layer on really cold days. DWR-coated nylon shell is wind and water-proof. Coreloft insulation is lightweight, compactable and cozy. Scuba hood can be worn under a hat. Polartec Powerstretch panels underneath the shoulders for full span of motion.

The Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hooded Softshell Jacket is a very versatile jacket. It breathes, resists moisture and breaks the wind and fluffs off the snow. The slim cut fits easy under a shell for insulation, and the helmet-ready hood shields the wind. Softshell material with fleece is wind blocking and water-repelent. Hood holds a helmet for extra protection while snowboarding, climbing or skiing. Water-resistent finish. Lots of pockets all over! Gusseted sleeves for full range of motion and natural fit

The Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket is meticulously designed and engineered. The SV (severe weather) is a ultra-light, super-tough shell capable of withstanding all of Nature's extreme conditions. The Storm Hood is helmet ready and can adjust for a customized fit and easy range of motion. Water-tight zippers are water proof and welded rather than stitched for increased strength and less weight. A Removable HemLock insert keeps the Alpha SV from moving up under an climbing harness.

The Marmot Limelight 3-Person Tent is made for you and a couple friends to enjoy a comfortable night in the wilds. The Marmot Limelight comes with a footprint and storage loft to add space and durability - two things you need when you need to accommodate three in a tent. Polyurethane floor and fly keep rain off. Lightweight and sturdy poly and mesh body make for a lighter weight for long adventures. Seams are taped for water sealing. DAC press-fit poles make for easy tent setup and keep weight down. Two doors and vestibules make for easy entry, exit and storage. The Limelight tent weighs less than 6 pounds. Window in the fly opens up the view outside the tent. Inside pockets for your maps, headlamps and accessories.

Keen Newport H2 Sandals are made to protect your little piggies and are made with a sole that does not mark, so the deck stays clean. A synthetic upper adds hydrophobic natural-feeling material next to your skin and keeps it dry. The Newport H2 Sandal's hybrid shoe/sandal is more comfy than a shoe and protects your toes better than a traditional sandal. The anatomical outer sole allows for great traction and stability. An anti-bacterial footbed lessens wetness and odors are decreased.

Arc'teryx Women's Beta AR Jacket is constructed with a three layered Gore-Tex material, Gore-taped seams, and laminated zippers. Water resistent Gore-Tex Pro breathable membrane, DWR surface, and very tight weave of the shell to stay dry in all weather. This versatile Beata AR jackets is lightweight and durable. "The Arc Teryx Beata AR jacket is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts from the ski slopes to the backcountry."

Suunto Ambit HR Altimeter Watch. This watch and altimeter has more computing power than the computers that put Apollo on the Moon! The Ambit HR has an built-in GPS system and multi-use compass to safely navigate you anywhere in the universe. The Suunto HR has the ability to connect online for customization of your uses. 3Three-D compass and GPS Waypoint navigation. Precise barometric altitude. Fast integrated GPS. Heart rate monitor with Training features. Resistent to shock and water.

The North Face Apex Bionic Jacket with a fleece-lined windproof shell will keep you warm and dry on any outing. The Apex Bionic stretches four ways and adapts to the movements of your body. The jacket comes with DWR coating and repels snow or rain to keep you dry. The Apex Bionic breathes easily and vents excess heat from the body.

The GoPro HD HERO2 Outdoor Edition Camera records your action activities in high definition. The GoPro Hero2 easily fixes to many surfaces including handlebars, helmet and harnesses. Eleven MegaPixels and 1080 HD video. You can wear it or mount it and it is waterproof.

Arc'teryx Men's Gamma MX Softshell Jacket. Made for mobility and equipped with very breathable outer shell material for easy temperature control. Backcountry enthusiasts and Alpine adventurers will wear this midweight jacket alone in medium conditions, or the Gamma MX Softshell can be worn as an insulating layer underneath a storm shell. Lightweight. DWR coating repels water and rain. Interior fleece adds a bit of warmth. Athletic cut and gusseted underarms allow range of motion and freedom of movement. The Arc Teryx Gamma comes down to the hip and has a tail for added coverage.

The North Face Paramount Peak Convertible Pant easily converts to a pair of cool shorts no time. The bottom half easily slide over any hiking boot or shoe. Lots of pockets to carry them. The Paramount Peak also has a crotch that is gusseted and an elastic waist for full range of motion. This North Face Convertible pant has a DWR finish for quick-drying. Review: "Great pants! Fantastic for walking, backpacking, hiking and even casual wear in all weather. I've used them in many differnt climates. The big and many pockets are great. The quality of materials is excellent - breathable, durable and convertible. I bought both the Grey and the Beige. I highly recommend the North Face Paramount Peak Convertible Pant."

Columbia Womens Arcadia Rain Jacket. Omni-Tech breathable, waterproof material combines with design features including the adjustable storm hood, seams fully taped, a drawcord hem, and hook-and-loop cuffs. An environment-friendly mesh lining. Zippered pockets - internal and external. Reviews: "The Columbia Arcadia Rain Jacket kept me dry on the boat and hiking in a rainforest. Better price than other online stores. I would definitely recommend this jacket."

The Suunto Core Altimeter Watch. Necesary equipment for backcountry adventures, mountaineers and wilderness treks. The Suunto Core Altimeter Watch is an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, digital compass, chronograph, timekeeper and watch with alarms! Very accurate altimeter gives detailed info on your elevation and altitude change. Watches for approaching weather storms with a motion-sensing barometric altimeter and Storm Alarm feature. Also includes depth measurement underwater. Reviews: I've had the watch for almost two years, wear it every day - we've been on some gnarly adventures together - still ticking strong. I have several from different brands and this is one of the best. Lightweight, comfortable and easy to read.


More descriptions coming for these top sellers:

Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket Womens
The North Face Paramount Valley Convertible Pant Womens
Stoic Merino Crew Short Sleeve Mens
The North Face Heckler Backpack 2080cu in
Suunto Ambit Altimeter Watch
Marmot Limelight Tent with Footprint and Gear Loft: 2 Person 3 Season
The North Face Resolve Jacket Womens
The North Face Apex Bionic Softshell Jacket Womens
KEEN Newport Sandal Mens
The North Face Brooklyn Down Jacket Womens
KEEN Targhee ll Mid Hiking Shoe Womens
Chaco Z 2 Unaweep Sandal Backcountry Exclusive Mens
The North Face Venture Jacket Mens
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3 Tent 3 Person 3 Season
Arcteryx Atom LT Hooded Insulated Jacket Womens
The North Face Horizon Tempest Pant Womens
Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket Womens
Black Diamond Camalot C4 Package 05 3
Wilier Zero7 Record EPS Complete Bike
The North Face Metropolis Down Parka Womens
Chaco ZX 2 Unaweep Sandal Backcountrycom Exclusive Womens
Shimano Ultegra PD 6700 SL Carbon Pedal
KEEN Newport H2 Sandal Womens
Arcteryx Rampart Pant Mens
Stoic LTWT Step Sleeping Pad Regular
The North Face Osito Fleece Jacket Womens
Therm a Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad
Arcteryx Rho AR Top Long Sleeve Mens
DAKINE Split Roller 100L Gear Bag 6000cu in
Petzl Grigri 2 Belay Device
Stoic Vamp 15 Sleeping Bag: 15 Degree Down
KEEN Oregon PCT Hiking Boot Mens

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