Why do I feel sweattier in a softshell?

Cheizz

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I know that the numbers and theory suggest a softshell fabric has higher/better breathability than a hardshell fabric. Then why is it that I sweat more (or rather: feel more sweatty) while wearing my softshell jacket in the same cricumstances, doing the same thing? Can anyone explain?
 

Prickly Jones

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Depends on the soft shell, what you're wearing under it vs. what you wear under a hard shell. Plus, do you use pit zips on hard shell?
 

cantunamunch

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I'm guessing you're more smushed in a softshell - it has a tighter fit against your midlayer and less air exchange above your midlayer between your sweaty bits and your not-so-sweaty bits so all the sweat vapor has to air out directly through a smaller area of fabric. 20sq. inches at 2-5CFM is a lot less venting than 900sq. inches at 0.3-0.7CFM?

(There is also a second-order argument to be made in that the constrained area has less overall heat supplied to it and therefore will be less effective at transporting vapor across the fabric at any given temperature difference.)
 
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Cheizz

Cheizz

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Depends on the soft shell, what you're wearing under it vs. what you wear under a hard shell. Plus, do you use pit zips on hard shell?
The layers underneath were the same, no use of venting zips. So: comparable conditions I think.

@cantunamunch that could be the explenation. The softshell is slightly tighter in fit.
 

cantunamunch

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Do you have a waffle-print midlayer like Patagonia do for their midweight fleeces? You can test my notion by seeing if the waffle print reduces the sweaty feeling.
 

crgildart

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I've found the cool wind, though it doesn't blow through a hard shell, makes the material cool. Soft shells are a little thicker and don't transfer that cool surface through to the inside of the garment. On a warm day I like the cool touch of the hard shell against the mid layer, especially the base later to cool things down a touch. On a cool day it is a detriment where a thicker, softshell has a tad more insulation.
 

ScotsSkier

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I've found the cool wind, though it doesn't blow through a hard shell, makes the material cool. Soft shells are a little thicker and don't transfer that cool surface through to the inside of the garment. On a warm day I like the cool touch of the hard shell against the mid layer, especially the base later to cool things down a touch. On a cool day it is a detriment where a thicker, softshell has a tad more insulation.
a bit less of the Fetish talk! :roflmao:
 

pais alto

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Soft shells aren't all the same. What soft shell are you wearing? Some soft shells have a wind proof layer, which is actually a membrane that prevents wind from coming in but also, surprise!, prevents water vapor from your body from freely exiting. The buildup of water vapor that is blocked by the so-called wind proof membrane can be what's causing the sweaty feeling.
 

Monique

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Arc'teryx has a softshell material that feels like hardshell to me. :huh:
 

Tom K.

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I know that the numbers and theory suggest a softshell fabric has higher/better breathability than a hardshell fabric. Then why is it that I sweat more (or rather: feel more sweatty) while wearing my softshell jacket in the same cricumstances, doing the same thing? Can anyone explain?
This is 100% opposite of my experience.

Soft shells aren't all the same.
Agree. I've got one so-called soft shell that looks great, but breathes about as well as a plastic trash bag.

Do the breath test on your soft shell: Can you blow and/or inhale through it? If not, you've got your answer.
 
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