Sep 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm #1294292
Despite the all the hype that was going around this spring about a innovative, revolutionary 11oz NeoShell jacket, I can't seem to find anything about it – in September. Has anyone pulled the trigger yet on this piece of kit or at least read a review?
See original BPL thread:May 27, 2013 at 10:38 pm #1990308
I have owned the Switch for a year now and I absolutely love it. I live in Taiwan, so I spend a lot of time hiking in humid and warmish weather, in short the exact kind where breathability is key. I have found it to be much more breathable than other waterproof jackets that I've tried, though I don't have firsthand experience with Goretex or eVent. It also sheds water like a dream.
I think they've changed the pocket styles around since I bought mine, but my only quibble is that I rarely use the big Napolean pockets that are on both sides of my jacket, while I'm always wishing I had proper pockets to stick my hands in.
Lastly, and I'm not sure if this matters to you, but it just looks awesome! I get tons of compliments on it while I'm out on the trail.May 28, 2013 at 5:32 am #1990326
Kate MagillBPL Member
I've been using the Westcomb Fuse, roughly the women's version of the Shift, since March. (Thank goodness for sample sales–I never would have looked at it had it been full price!) I say "roughly" because a few of the features are different; it has two hand pockets instead of one napoleon pocket. I really like having the handwarmer pockets; they get a lot of use.
This is the lightest weight NeoShell I've used (Rab's new offering, the Myriad, looks comparable and with a significantly lower price point), and it's pretty great stuff. Whereas jackets like the Rab Neo Stretch are definitely geared more toward winter and mountain endeavors, Westcomb is producing a versatile all-around, all-season shell. Granted, I haven't been through a hot humid summer with this yet, but for temps between 0 and 15 Celsius, in either sudden cloudbursts or all-day mist and drizzle, it has performed incredibly. I also find that bringing a windshirt along with the NeoShell is redundant because the breathability is good enough(I am sure sweatier people will disagree with me) that I am happy to walk in this jacket with a pack on while warming up in the morning or getting over windy stretches. I haven't done enough side-by-side field testing to really say whether NeoShell is *more* breathable than eVent, but I do find it somewhat more comfortable than eVent due to the element of stretch–the fabric moves with you much the way a softshell does
I really appreciate Westcomb's design principles and build quality (they are one of the few outdoor clothing manufacturers that has figured out how to make women's clothes that actually FIT). For the record, I also really like Rab, and their NeoShell designs are also very impressive (if buying full-price, I would probably have gone with the Myriad). NeoShell interests me because it blurs the line between softshell and hardshell and pushes the boundaries of what each can do. It's pretty cool stuff, and I'm usually a "don't believe the hype" type of person.May 28, 2013 at 9:59 am #1990409
This thread seems to have been resurrected, so I'll add my thoughts:
I've had the Shift LT for about six months now and have been nothing but pleased. Compared to Gore-Tex and eVent shells I've used previously (including the ID eVent pullover), I've found Neoshell to be slightly more breathable and less noisy. The additional coverage of the Shift LT is a major bonus, as well, since the tail manages to protect the hips and rear. Compared to the Focus LT, the Shift seems a bit burlier and sturdier, so less likely to suffer from the damage Ryan produced with the velcro wrist cinches. Total weight is 11.5 ounces, so it's not ultralight (or maybe even lightweight), but it certainly doesn't feel like a burden to carry something so functional that packs so small.
In the field, I tested its waterproofness by hiking down the Upper Yosemite Falls trail in March in the middle of a two-hour thunderstorm with alternating rain and hail. Under the jacket I wore a microweight merino T and a Capilene 4 hoody. The jacket held up beautifully, and at least on the descent I was able to thermoregulate by unzipping slightly. The only part of me that got wet by the wrists, as I hadn't thought to bring waterproof mitts/gloves, and with trekking poles the water often ran down my hands to my wrists. That wasn't the fault of the jacket, of course. In future, I'm considering bringing it alone (and not a windshirt) on the JMT this summer, since I find the jacket breathable enough even during heavy exertion.May 28, 2013 at 10:14 am #1990416
Anyone know what the difference between the Shift and the Switch is?
I have the Switch LT, and it has pit zips which I think the Shift doesn't have, and the Shift seems to be a bit lighter.
Just curious if the fabric or thickness is any different.
I live in Japan so like Alex in Taiwan can do with the breathability, also of the added pit zips.
That being said, last time it was already so warm, and I was going so hard that I just put on my wind shirt.May 28, 2013 at 10:43 am #1990426
@nittoLocale: the Netherlands
- "NeoShell alpine jacket"
- 3-point adjustable hood
- 2 Napoleon pockets
- 1 bicep pocket
- 1 internal media pocket
- venting zippers (underarm)
- YKK AquaGuard Vislon zipper
- claimed weight: 425 gram
- "Westcomb's lightest NeoShell jacket"
- 2-point adjustable hood
- 1 Napoleon pockets
- YKK PU Zippers
- claimed weight: 341 gram
They both use the same fabric (a combination of Neoshell 340 NRS and 360 NP).
How is the sizing of these jackets? I'm 5'9 / 145lbs and detest short jackets (esp. in the rear as I am more into cycling than into backpacking). And how small is the packed size, similar to a 1 liter bottle? smaller?May 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm #1990453
Colin KrusorBPL Member
@ckrusorLocale: Northwest US
Yes, I'd like to hear about the sizing, too. I'm 5'11" and 155 lbs (skinny), and I have absurdly long arms. In the Marmot Mica I wear a large. Anyone about my size who owns a Shift? What size works for you and how do you find the fit? I've read that the cut of the shift is not exactly "athletic" (it's a bit roomy in the torso), and not as long in front as some users would like.May 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm #1990454
Peter, thanks. I wondered if one was a thinner (less warm or more breathable version) of NeoShell.
I would say Westcomb sizes pretty big. Or at least not smallish.
I'm 184cm, 72Kg (6.1" / 158#) and have the Medium. As often, I'm right between a Medium and a Large and depending on the brand I go for one or the other. With the Westcomb I went for Medium.
The Switch has a dropped tail (lower back than front) and with the Medium the sleeves come down to my knuckles. The back hem line comes down right to the middle of my ass.
The Large would be ok for me too, allowing even more coverage/heavier layering – but I personally didn't feel I needed it.
If I roll it up loosely in its hood I think it's slightly larger than a 1L Nalgene? (see photo with centimetre measure).
In a stuffsack or whatever I guess you can get the volume down to 2/3 or roughly half of this, but I like to keep it rolled loose on top of my pack.
It's not a super compact, ultra light shell but it feels very durable, breathable, and non crispy chips. Mine weighs 430gr. (compared to 262gr for my Large Marmot Super Mica for example, which I feel is way more fragile and that I use for just in case, bottom of the pack, hot humid summer situations).
When I speed hiked up the mountain in moderate rain with an iPhone in the inner pocket, the iPhone got wet from the moisture being wicked from the inside. I personally do really like pit zips, because a hole breathes better than a fabric and Japan gets really really humid.
Hope that helps a bit.May 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm #1990521
I'm 5'9" and about 170, and the Shift (size medium) easily extends about 6-7" below my hips, so it definitely covers most of my rear. The sizing is generous, especially compared to the ID jacket I mentioned earlier. I can easily layer a baselayer, fleece, and even a light puffy underneath the Shift, although the arm holes do start to feel slightly snug. It definitely has a lot more room in the torso than most of the lighter weight waterproof jackets I've tried.
The total volume of the packed jacket is about 1.5-2.0 liters, I'd say. I've never tried compressing it all the way, since I generally store it in an outer pocket of my pack.May 29, 2013 at 7:03 am #1990751
I am 5'9", 170 and I definitely needed a large in order for it to fit me properly in the chest. There's no way I could get a jacket and layers squeezed underneath a medium.May 29, 2013 at 8:27 am #1990786
It's possible the Shift (that I have) and the Switch (that you have) are different in terms of sizing. I have a fairly average-to-athletic build, but by no means would I describe my chest as small. My guess is that there are simply some variations in the build between both jackets.
AMay 29, 2013 at 9:53 am #1990814
Same here. I'm pretty lean but have broad shoulders which is what makes me have to go for a large when the rest is ok with a medium. But of course it is also possible that people have a different concept of how much they want to layer etc.
I never wear a lot of layers, instead going for a slightly thicker garment. My thicker down jacket would get less compressed with a large for sure, but it still fit alright.
Trying it on is best of course but it wasn't possible for me. In Japan they didn't have the Switch but I did have the chance to try a different model Westcomb and e-mailed Westcomb and Prolite gear (who I was going to buy from because they had an awesome sale) and told them how the other model fit and they both advised me really well. Bit off topic but Prolite Gear answered a lot of mails and was very patient and professional, comparing a lot of hard shells for me.
Just checked and they have the Switch on sale again now for $220 and the Shift for $205.
http://www.prolitegear.com/site/xdpy/sbp/Westcomb.htmlMay 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm #1990872
@nittoLocale: the Netherlands
Thank you all for the info on the sizing. I'm torn between a Westcomb neoshell and a Montane Minumus. The latter is half the weight, half the (packed) size and half the cost. But everyone raves about neoshell, and it may be more durable.
Good prices @prolitegear for the Westcomb jackets, too bad international shipping is a steep $60… May still be a little bit cheaper than on outdoorline.sk in Slovakia though.
Now, if Westcomb would make a version of the Shift more geared towards cyclists I would be all over it :-) Make the Shift a little slimmer (reduces flapping), but _not_ shorter and remove the hood. There's no need for a heavier fabric on the shoulders either. Then add back vents and another Napoleon pocket with mesh lining on both pockets so you can ventilate through the pockets to the vents. Perfection! (well, for me at least).Jul 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm #2003196
Colin KrusorBPL Member
@ckrusorLocale: Northwest US
I'm offering a Westcomb Shift in Men's Large (black) on Gear Swap in case anyone is interested.
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