Everyone raves about Neoshell and whatever comes out of Gore these days, but meanwhile another revolution has been quietly going on over at Pertex.
the cool-shell revolution: Teton Bros Mountain Project is producing game-changing designs in the latest Pertex fabrics
While Neoshell is the best yet of the full shell idea – coming at it from the bottom of the equation rather than the top to integrate with changes in the greater climbing mentality – it is more an interpretation of existing demands rather than anything new: valuable but no textile does everything.
Pertex DV does the rest.
For decades Pertex has been around as a shell fabric that relies on its weave, chemistry and DWR for weather repellency (and down repellency if youre thinking that way too).
Recently they have combined with the eVent membrane to produce DV
From there it has exploded, and with it new definitions for ‘shells’. Where the ‘hard-’, ‘soft-’, ‘wind-’ & ‘rain-’ shell concepts have become tired and lacking to keep up with the evolutions in climbing, the new terms of ‘warm-shell’ and ‘cool-shell’ describe things better, and for those involved with the FEEDBACK PROJECT they will get to see just how this functions.
After expanding beyond the sole Montane interface the latest DV variants cover a part of the spectrum not really addressed elsewhere. If you need to form a microclimate that demands a degree of heat retention (‘warm shell’) for the outer layer, choose Neoshell. If a ‘cool shell’ outer layer that releases moisture and protects without overheating is the demand, DV nails it spectacularly.
This stuff stre-e-e-e-tches. Even the heavier versions have a 4-way mechanical stretch that makes it a pleasure to wear. Some variants don’t, which suits certain garments well and raises ideas for hybridizing.
Some versions have very appealing ‘peach-fuzz’ inner side that works well as a next-to-skin. Whilst not the same as Powerdry, its infinitely nicer than other shells at the same weight and aids in maintaining the feel-dry aspect of moisture control.
The DV range comes in incredibly light, usually around half the lighter versions of Neoshell.
+20k breathability/+30k waterproofing
That’s pretty much the range of testing for most shells. DV is notable for not being extended to just meet these numbers, but easily meeting the standard – where it actually breathes/proofs to is not defined because the tests don’t go there.
Regarding breathability, it will always be a battle there as its open to so many more variables than waterproofness, the major one being garment design.
The true benefit in DV is its capacity to simplify the other garments you wear under it by integrating well with any base or mid layer: where a ‘full’ shell is too warm but the only thing with the proofness, thus pushing condensation levels, DV drops the equation back to the green zone.
Likewise by being fine against the skin, DV does away with needing extra-heating thin bases for wicking control.
At the R&D level DV is a pleasure due to the inner and facing textures it can come in. from slick and shiny to dull and graphite-like, with from smooth to fuzzy inside.
This matters not just as an aesthetic matter, but for integrating with systems, allowing how one garment moves against another and where in the system it sits.
Warm shell vs cool shell
Be clear tho – DV doesn’t compete with Neoshell in every application. Neoshell is still the better choice for warmer ‘softshell-ish’ garments where a bit of insulation and toughness is a high priority. Don’t going replacing your Neoshell salopettes with DV ones if you plan on shuffling up chimneys.
Likewise if you want a standalone winter outer, Neoshell does in a single layer what DV would do over a microfleece/Powerstretch/Powerdry base.
Also, you wouldn’t shell-in down or Primaloft with Neoshell. Attempts at similar with Gore were always dubious – too heavy, didn’t release moisture well enough, didn’t really fit 99% of conditions that well. But this changes now with Pertex being the experts in containing down and other insulations.
Concepts for hybrid Neoshell/DV are well on their way and raise the bar for shell layers significantly.
Where DV does standalone well is either side of Neoshell – in very damp/humid conditions over the lightest baselayer going, or in very dry conditions where it is the wonder shell in your pack.
For high out put endeavors in the cold where you are mostly wearing un-membraned layers, DV is ideal for throwing over top without much sudden moisture build up inside. As stated before, if getting heat away from your body matters (to minimize condensation, in warmer conditions) DV fits the niche.