Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Comfortable fit, expandable, stretch chest pocket, chest pocket and pit zips are easy to open, offset main zipper avoids chin area, very breathable, compact, excellent stuff sack.
Cons: Sleeves and waist are on the shortside, pit zippers are unnecessary with Gore Active Shell, hood can be restricting when worn over helmet, non-adjustable cuffs and waist can let in cold air and can force you to take off gloves to get shell on/off,
Best Uses: Ice and alpine climbing.
The Mammut Felsturm Half Zip uses Gore Active Shell and has a mix of excellent and poorly designed features that lead us to prefer other lightweight shells. The Felsturm, for example, runs a bit short in the arms and the torso, has pit zips (a feature that we believe is unnecessary on a Gore Active Shell jacket), and lacks a drawcord adjustment at the waist. Other shells we've tested are more comfortable and more durable for the same or less weight. Even so, the Felsturm performs well and score above average in our highly competitive tests.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Mammut Felsturm Half Zip is the third lightest hardshell we tested. It features Gore Active Shell and mixes some excellent features with some undesirable features.
The Felsturmís zipper is the best anorak zipper we tested because the zipper flows smoothly, has a large zipper pull thatís easy to grab with gloves on, and angles left of your chin. Itís significantly better than the Mountain Hardwear Quasarís zipper. The hood is reasonably good; it covers your chin more than most lightweight shells, adjusts well for having two drawcords (most hardshells have three), but we found that it can be restricting when worn over a helmet. Of our other top rated lightweight shells the Mountain Hardwear Quasar has a better hood for wearing underneath a helmet and the Arc'teryx Alpha FLís hood is better for wearing over a helmet.
This author believes that the Felsturm's pit zippers are unnecessary on a jacket with Gore Active Shell. Their added ventilation can be beneficial in certain circumstances, but the majority of a jacket's venting happens with the front zipper. The Arc'teryx Alpha FL uses the same materials and has an equally trim if not trimmer fit, yet we felt no need to vent the jacket more than half a zipper's length. Similarly, the Mountain Hardwear Quasar has a half-zip and no pit zips, and performs very well. The Felsturm would be lighter, and therefore better, if it didn't have pit zips.
Like all lightweight shells we tested, the Felsturm has a trim athletic fit. Unfortunately, we found the jacketís arms and body to be a bit on the short side; the sleeves left exposed skin at the wrists, and the bottom hem often rode up from underneath our harness. Furthermore, the jacket skips a drawcord adjustment at the wasist (it uses a lightweight elastic). As a result, wind and cold air enters the jacket. A simple and lightweight elastic drawcord would be better Ė the 9.5 oz. Mountain Hardwear Quasar and 4oz. Patagonia Houdini both have them. If you only use the Felsturm for it's ideal application (alpine climbing), however, your harness will seal the waist well.
The Felsturm's hit or miss features, and the fact that the shell weighs 20 percent more than the lightest tested, is why the Arc'teryx Alpha FL and Mountain Hardwear Quasar scored higher. As for value, the Felsturm costs $50-$75 more than those top two rated lightweight shells.
— Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 18, 2013
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