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I'm looking for a winter jacket that is waterproof and breathable. The main use is as a main jacket during the winter for going around so needs to be warm and as a waterproof shield for short cycling (< 5km) possibly under the rain.

Hardshell are waterproof but likely not warm for walking around. What about 3in1 jacket like Northface Triclimate? Or some paramo jacket?

I've never had such a jacket before so I need some advice.

Thanks

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For a true waterproofness and breathability, while being active, you want to get a triple-ply Goretex hardshell, or a Goretex alternative like HyVent, Dry.Q, NeoShell, etc. Lots of the big brands have their own alternatives to Goretex, that Northface Triclimate jacket for example has a HyVent Shell.

What you really want to do however is learn how to layer your jackets. That 3 in 1 is nothing more than fancy branding to sell people multiple jackets in one package. Sure you get some extra zippers for the convenience of taking your two jackets on and off as though they are one, but in my experience you're always left with a cold spot right down the front where where your insulating layer is zipped to the outer layer instead of to itself. It's warmer to put on the insulating layer, zip it up, then pull on the outer layer and zip it separately. Two times zipped (or three or four, I wear about seven layers when it gets really cold out). This is layering.

Layering gives you the freedom you need to customize your insulation and breathability depending on the temperature and your level of activity. Since you mentioned that you want to use this jacket for cycling, you're really going to want to have more options than just, HyVent shell, or PrimaLoft jacket, or both. There will be cold dry days where you're going to be like, "I really wish I had a nice soft shell layer in my system so I could have some extra breathability but still stop the wind..."

Examples of Layering:

When hanging out in the cold: (like at basecamp in winter, -20°C or colder)

TOPS

  • Base layer (polyester/wool long underwear)
  • Long sleeve Shirt
  • 1 or 2 Fleece Jackets (or combo of sweater/jacket)
  • Softshell
  • Down jacket
  • 3Ply Goretex Hardshell (depending on conditions or what I'm doing I may wear this over or under my down jacket. Over if it's snowing, under if I want my jacket to loft a bit more.)

BOTTOMS

  • Base Layer (Long Underwear)
  • 1 or 2 Mid Layers (Fleece/wool pants, varying thicknesses)
  • Softshell pants
  • Waterproof pants

When Cycling

TOPS

  • Long sleeved cycling jersey, or warm short sleeve jersey with arm warmers.
  • Insulated cycling shirt (I'll often wear nothing more than this much after I'm warmed up on not-so cold days like -5°C, or -15°C on calm sunny days)
  • Fleece Jacket (to start off with or when it's really cold, usually comes off as soon as I warm up)
  • Cycling vest (cuts the wind to your core)
  • Softshell or long sleeve windstopper (to cut the breeze completely)
  • 3Ply Goretex Hardshell (for when it's precipitating)

BOTTOMS

  • Cycling shorts
  • Leg Warmers or Insulated Cycling pants
  • Fleece pants (for when it's -30°C or colder)
  • Goretex pants (for when it's precipitating)
  • 1
    Thanks for the complete answer. The 3in1 was appealing because I would like to use this jacket also for walking around in the city, where I'm not wearing technical stuff underneath, but still I want to be warm (Actually the maximum temperature I expect to face is -8 ), and that one seems quite practical being a single piece. What alternative solution do you suggest for this usecase? – Simone Gaiarin Oct 7 '15 at 6:53
  • @SimoneGaiarin Basically, for your jacket system it doesn't matter so much if you walk around in town or are out in the wild. If you walk around town where you can be rather sure that you won't get close to sweating and can get somewhere inside if you should get really cold, take the same two or so upper layers (a hardshell and an some insulation jacket for example, or only the insulation jacket, if the weather allows it) and wear them over your normal clothes (eg. a cotton t-shirt and long sleeve). – Benedikt Bauer Oct 7 '15 at 15:05
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I'd recommend an outer shell plus a fleece jacket - two items. The advantage here is that if the fleece is too warm (or too cold), you can replace it with another fleece that's more appropriate. Which means you can use a lighter, thinner fleece for spring and Fall, and a thicker fleece for winter.

Just about any brand of shell and fleece will work. If you're gung-ho on quality, then I'd recommend the Marmot or Cloudveil brands. I own a Cloudveil shell which I've had for years, I've used it backpacking and hiking all over the Western U.S.. Very good quality. Marmot is also very impressive. I don't think there's anything softer than a Marmot fleece.

  • Thanks for the answer. I'll go for this solution. I think I'll but a 3L gore tex jacket, but I've seen that other membranes like NeoShell and eVent may be more breathable tough guaranteeing the same waterproofness. Do you have any suggestion of Jackets using these materials? – Simone Gaiarin Nov 23 '15 at 11:12
  • i don't know anything about those materials, but if you go with a brand like Marmot or similar upper-end brand, you will be getting the best quality you can. – Michael Martinez Nov 24 '15 at 0:58

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