Nov 6, 2013 at 6:39 am #1309528
@buddyjLocale: Western Oklahoma
Went to Backwoods in Oklahoma City last night for the Backpacker Magazine tour, and one of the things they showed off was the Eddie Bauer First Ascent Frontpoint 2.0 jacket which seems to me like a pretty decent waterproof/breathable shell. Has anyone had experience with this version of the jacket? I know the older version was heavier, but this one seems pretty light and packable. For the price (MSRP is $200) would it be a good choice as an outer shell layer?Nov 6, 2013 at 9:02 am #2041782
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I have one and LOVE it (wore it to work this morning, in fact.) I picked it up with zero expectations off the sale rack at my local EB a few years ago; it was too cheap to pass up and I figured I could use it around town. I wear it a lot spring and fall around town, to work, etc. and through the winter hiking/x-country skiing. It goes with me whenever I travel. It's a super comfortable softshell, very breathable, super versatile.
BUT, that said, I don't know that I'd ever take it backpacking. It's surprisingly water *repellent* but it's not waterproof. It's versatility makes it a great travel jacket but that might make it a little too wishy-washy for the trail. I'd choose the First Ascent BC-200 over the Frontpoint for backpacking.Nov 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm #2042060
Steve KBPL Member
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
In reading the description of this jacket it sounds like a bad choice. Maybe I am misunderstanding it, but it sounds like only the top portion is truly waterproof and the bottom portion is soft shell. This sort of hybrid design is very, very good in specific use cases (think ice climbing) but bad as a general use shell.
Soft shell, regardless of whether it is the waterproof (membrane) variety or not, will absorb substantially more water than hardshell material. It's also likely to not be waterproof as many sorts of soft shell are not.
When I think about buying a hardshell I think to myself, will I hate it if I'm forced, by heavy rains, to wear it all day? Will it keep me sufficiently dry to justify carrying or wearing it? I don't see the answers to those questions being positive as far as backpacking is concerned.
Now, if you asked me if I'd like to go ice climbing in this jacket I'd probably say yes.Nov 7, 2013 at 4:08 am #2042085
Softshells, or a softshell/hardshell mix, come into their own when it gets below freezing. Even for general backpacking they're very useful. But I'm not sure I'd want to use one in an all-day rain.
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