"Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall - it's great when you stop."

Chris Darwin

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Power Shield Pro

On the Soft shell front, relatively new Polartec Power Shield ProPolartecPower Shield ProIn 1998 Polartec launched Polartec Power Shield and the soft shell revolution. It was developed in recognition of the fact that 90% of the time you are outside, the weather isn't that bad. So there is great benefit in giving up a little weather protection, in order to get a lot more breathability. In 2010, we are building on that product history by adding real water resistance to our soft shells with the launch of Polartec® Power Shield® Pro. Polartec® Power Shield® Pro combines never before seen levels of air permeability with durable hydrostatic resistance to keep you dry both from within and from out. After launching Polartec Power Shield Pro at the consumer level in Fall 2010, it has won numerous awards, including Outside Magazine and National Geographic Adventure "Gear of the Year" and others. looks like a very hot commodity. Unfortunately, just like is the case with Polartec NeoshellPolartecNeoshellWaterproof fabrics have forced outdoor enthusiasts to live with the restrictions of sweat, saturation, cold and overheating for too long. Introducing Polartec NeoShell. The first truly breathable, fully waterproof, temperature regulating fabric ever. Tested and proven by some of the most committed outdoor enthusiasts on the planet. With unprecedented breathability in a waterproof fabric, it's the ultimate in personal climate control., actual garments made out of it are not too plentifull. Particularly pants made out of it appear to be a rare commodity.

Upcoming 2014 models of Patagonia Knifeblade PantPatagoniaKnifeblade PantBuilt for mobility and pared-down storm-level protection with optimal breathability, the Knifeblade Pants are highly water-resistant, performance stretch soft-shell pants built with lightweight, moisture-shedding Polartec Power Shield Pro fabric. are such gear though. On the jacket front things are slightly, but not a lot, better as Patagonia Knifeblade is made out, as well as Mammut Avers Jacket MenMammutAvers Jacket Menhttps://d1qxh2iwg385ci.cloudfront.net/medias/sys_master/8812491800606/Avers_JA_basilic_bild1.eps_Zoom2.jpgThe most technical alpine Soft Shell jacket in the Mammut collection: highly functional Polartec Powershield Pro material with a cozy high-pile lining and a range of alpine features put this jacket in a class of its own when it comes to cold winter activities. and 66North Vatnajokull Men´s Softshell Jacket66NorthVatnajokull Men´s Softshell Jackethttp://www.66north.com/shop/images/Product/medium/K11167-250.jpg. Unfortunately, that's about it though.

Actually, Power Shield Pro and Neoshell looks fairly similar on paper. According to Polartec, both sport a water resistance on 10 000mm and block almost all of the wind (99,9% for Neoshell, 99% for Power Shield Pro). That being said, I have also seen a figure of 5 000mm (sometimes even 3 000mm) to be used in case on Power Shield Pro. Also Power Shield Pro garments are usually (never) not taped at seams, whereas that is pretty much the norm with Neoshell. Therefore Neoshell is considered to be truly waterproof whereas Power Shield Pro is very-damn-close to being waterproof. The latter in turn is somewhat more breathable. And both are considered far more breathable than Gore-Tex, particularly Pro shell flavour. Gore's Active garments are more breathable than Pro garments, but they generally cannot be expected to stand the abuse of alpine climbing. If Gore allowed Active shell to be laminated into sturdier fabrics, it would probably be superior product to any Gore-tex garment of the market right now. Before when they pretty much had the market for themselves they had no commercial interest for this. Now that there are several viable alternatives, it is interesting to see whether they have to rethink their policies.

Both of the Polartec fabrics (or membranes to be more exact, Power Shield Pro is membrane softshell) are stretchy. The not too dramatic difference in Water resistance and breathability aside, the main difference is that Neoshell is typically laminated into hardshell fabrics whereas Power Shield Pro always come as a softshell. This doesn't have to be like this though, as there are some garmets using Neoshell used with Softshell fabric. Why there are so few of them is a complete mystery to me, as in my book, comfort of softshell, with weather proofness of Neoshell would be a home run in the big mountains where weather proofness of softshell may be found lacking.

With both of these fabrics out on the market (albeit proper climbing-specific garments made out of them seem to be in short supply), as well as eVent eVenteVenteVenthttp://eventfabrics.com/wp-content/themes/eventfabrics/img/logo.jpgNo matter what’s happening on the outside, eVent keeps you dry inside. It’s all made possible through a state-of-the-art fabric design that helps your sweat evaporate. (which as far as I known is also marketed as Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q EliteMountain HardwearDry.Q Elitehttp://demandware.edgesuite.net/aacw_prd/on/demandware.static/Sites-MountainHardwear_INT-Site/Sites-MountainHardwear_INT-Library/default/v1381941591170/innovations/technologies/Logo-dryQElite.jpgDry.Q Elite is used in our most premium waterproof-breathable products. It offers the most comfortable level of breathability by combining high moisture-vapor transfer rates and air permeability at all body temperatures. Traditional waterproof-breathable technologies require high levels of user exertion (high body heat) before the breathability kicks in. Dry.Q Elite is instant-on technology. It starts breathing the instant you put it on, regardless of temperature or level of exertion for waterproof, windproof performance like you’ve always wanted, guaranteed. by Mountain Hardwear) old king of the hill Gore-Tex surely has their work cut out for them. In order for them to become interesting to me again they would have to figure out a way of making their membrane stretchy and allow the use of Active Shell with fabrics which are tough enough to sustain alpine abuse. Or come up with something offering at least Neoshell-level of waterprooness at similar or greater breathability. Not an easy task.

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