Softshell jackets are a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts because of their versatility. They are lightweight and breathable, but often are windproof and/or water-repellent.
What Is A Softshell Jacket?
Softshells are made from soft, stretchable fabrics that allow for freedom of movement. While a hardshell jacket is typically stiffer and is often waterproof, a softshell jacket is intended to be light protection from wind and light moisture.
Softshell jackets are ideal for so-called shoulder seasons (fall and spring) when the weather may be chilly, but is not cold enough for a down puffer or parka jacket. They are an excellent choice for early morning runs and hikes, multi-day treks, mountain biking, climbing, and other activities that require dynamic movements. Many are packable so you can stow them away in your backpack when not needed.
Key Features To Consider
- Hood: A hooded jacket offers additional protection for your head and neck.
- Zipper: Full-zip of half-zip? Full-zip jackets give you a way to ventilate quickly (just unzip) and go on and come off easier. Half-zip pullovers, however, may be slightly less bulky.
- Wind-resistance: Softshells that are windproof are windbreakers and are ideal not only on the trail, but near the water and when traveling.
- Lining: For more warmth, look for softshells that offer a fleece lining or thermal lining.
More Lightweight Options