Going for a jolly yet an adventurous hike in the snow is everyone’s favorite. But hiking is windy weather and at a very low temperature is not fun unless one wears appropriate clothing that keeps the person snug and warm. When we say appropriate clothing, we talk about a quality base layer, insulation layer, and an outer layer.
We have chosen the best softshell jackets and have reviewed them here to influence your purchase decision better. The jackets that are included in our list offers excellent breathability and weather protection and are also lightweight. We have also included the buying guide to choose the most appropriate softshell jacket.
Best Softshell Jacket for Men & Women
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Softshell Jacket for Men & Women
- The North Face Men’s Apex Bionic 2 Jacket
- Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody Men’s
- Outdoor Research Men’s Allout Hooded Jacket
- Cinch Men’s Bonded Softshell Jacket
- Tru-Spec Men’s 24-7 Tactical Softshell Jacket
Best Softshell Jacket Reviews
This is one of the best jackets for Men is ideal for the coldest, unforgiving side of the mountain. They help explorers reach the most unfathomable heights of the Himalayas. The North face offers warranty for the products against defective materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. The jackets are of 100% polyester material and have a zipper closure. It is ideal to machine wash separately on the delicate cycle in warm water. It is not appropriate to use softeners and bleach on the softshell. Do not iron or dry clean the shell and it is of standard fit.
The TNF Apex climate block fabric of the softshell features wind permeability at 0 CFM rating with 100% windproof fabric. The jacket features left Napoleon chest pockets with Velcro adjusting cuffs. It is good to check the North Ace website for the present color combinations so as to get the current versions of it. There is no hood zips in the collar and it has to be brought separately.
Best Women’s Softshell Jacket: The North Face Women’s Apex Bionic 2 Jacket
This Best Men’s softshell Jacket is of different combination materials such as Nylon, polyester, elastane, and microfiber. The jacket features proven performance and exceptional versatility with its advanced materials and discipline design. This essential softshell jacket is ideal for backcountry and active alpine endeavors. It has exceptional weather resistance and its middle and outer layers feature a stretch for good mobility. The shell material is extremely breathable and is resistant to abrasion.
The softshell features high performance and minimalist design that is extremely durable. Its softshell is permeable to air with its four-way stretch weaved textiles along with exceptional abrasion resistance. The jacket has a tall collar with a laminated chin guard, it has a stretchy and laminated cuff and features a regular design and fit for freedom of movement. The hood of the jacket is compatible with a helmet.
Best Women’s Softshell Jacket: Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody Women’s
This is one of the best softshell Jacket that is of use when one heads out into the backcountry. It helps the users to crave the off-piste solitude in the big mountain peacefulness and the users get the chance to chase their partners even at the steepest untouched slopes. Outdoor Research is dedicated to inspiring the journey ahead with the best technical apparel and accessories for hikers.
Its zippered and front-facing vents help in renders cool air in the wild mountains. The jackets help in regulating the body temperature on the way to the summit. The waterproof and the breathable softshell fabric helps in deflecting rain, snow and also wind and these jackets stretches out to the maximum to match the athletic movement of the hikers during rapid alpine action.
Best Women’s Softshell Jacket: Outdoor Research Women’s Uberlayer Hooded Jacket
This best men’s softshell jacket is of 93% polyester material and 7% spandex as well. The jacket features a zipper closure and is machine washable as well. This is a softshell jacket that features bonded fleece, YKK zippers and features embroidery logos as well. It is possible to stay warm and dry with the help of its cinch bonding jacket. Its spandex and polyester shell allow for freedom, with the help of its fleece lining, adjusting Velcro cuffs and a drawcord waist cut the cold.
This best jacket for women and men definitely includes cinch logos with embroidery and is of water-resistant fabric. It also features an inside pocket with headphones. Its users have stated that this is a wonderful jacket with long sleeves. The jacket features sharp looks and is indeed a great and a cool weather jacket. The back of the jacket features a longer tail to cover up at the rear in wind and the drawstring at the bottom hem is useful as well.
Best Women’s Softshell Jacket: Cinch Women’s Outdoor Water Repellent Camo Softshell Concealed Carry Jacket
Tru-Spec is one of the best and leading suppliers of personal equipment and uniforms for military, public safety markets, and law enforcement departments. Thousands of policemen, firefighters and military personnel use and depend on these products daily. This winter jacket is 90% nylon and 10% spandex. This jacket is of imported material and its side seam zippers are available for easy access to the belt and also the torso. The jackets are of lightweight, wind, and water-resistant material providing room for the use of ballistic vests or holstered firearms.
Zippered front closure with comfortable fleece lining zip through the collar. Two angled waist pockets with hidden covered zipper closures and mesh lining. There are two rear zipper pockets on the lower back. The jacket features side seam zippers for easy access to both the torso and the belt. The back portion of the jacket swoops slightly at the rear and adds on to its length.
Best Women’s Softshell Jacket: CAMEL CROWN Womens Fleece Lined Softshell Jacket
Buying Guide For The Best Softshell Jackets
Softshell jackets are ideal for breezy or windy weather, for cool weather, and during high exertion activities. Softshell jackets excel against hardshell jackets when involving in heavy exertion sports. The fabric breaths better and allows the better exchange of moisture and sweat. The softshell jackets excel in high exertion poor weather situations/ the following are some of the important properties of softshell jackets.
- DWR treatment
The softshell jackets are generally of stretchy fabric so as to suit the purpose of high exertion activities. Thus it is possible to wear a more fitted jacket and more freely instead of using the larger and a baggy hard-shell. For the majority of the outdoor activities, a layer under the softshell is needed, and since these layers’ demand space, it is important to size up the softshell to a little extent.
Nylon is not a material of choice with softshell jackets and is of use very rarely. Nylon does possess superior water and wind resistance properties but finds extensive use only with hardshell jackets. Fleece is also often added inside the softshell jackets. This material is of polyester material as well. Fleece is excellent to soften up the neckline and the collars of the softshell jackets and they also tend to reduce chaffing.
Polyester is the most common material for a softshell jacket. It is a manmade fiber that has excellent moisture-wicking properties. In the softshell jacket, this fabric usually faces outwards and gets woven tightly. When these jackets combine with a good DWR treatment, they become soft and flexible and resistant to outer materials.
The extent of insulation that is required for softshell jackets depends exactly on how one is planning to use their softshell. Insulation is not always part of a softshell and comes with the least and minimal fleece lining. For those wishing to use their jacket as not just as a rain and wind blocker, but to add some warmth to the kit, then they have to choose a jacket with some lining. They have to be careful not to overheat as well. Some of the softshell jackets come with wind and rain protection with minimal insulation as well.
A majority of the softshell jackets lack waterproofing capacities, but not all of them are created equal. There are jackets that offer zero rain protection and some that offer complete water resistance. Highly water-resistant softshell jackets enhance their versatility and usefulness in different weather conditions. Jackets that have no or little water resistance can border on simple mid-layers. The best way to pair them is to use a softshell over a mid-layer and a base layer. They are good for skiing in dry conditions and it is a good idea to have a backup hard-shell in place so as to cut out all the wind and to stay toasty warm.
The majority of the softshell jackets gain their water resistance capability from the chemical treatment that is applied to the fibers of the jacket during the manufacturing process. These chemicals also are known as durable water resistance or DWR are critical to keeping the softshell happy and functioning during the entire outdoor time.
\But constant machine washing, sun exposure and general wear and tear of the jacket can result in the deterioration of the DWR. As this coating deteriorates, the jacket becomes less water-resistant. But it is possible to restore the DWR by buying a kit online and painting it over the jacket. Though this is not as good as factory coating, they are much better than nothing. This can be done roughly once a year as its cost is also affordable.
Gore-tex is one of the most preferred brands of waterproofing and breathable material for hard-shell jackets. For tremendous activities such as mountaineering, climbing or running it is desired to have a jacket that is extremely breathable. But it cold and worst weather conditions, most of the people opt for hardshell jackets to protect from the worst torrents.
Breathability is one of the major benefits of softshell jackets. They allow a lot of air and moisture movement between the skin and the atmosphere when compared with the hard-shells. They hold a major benefit of breathability factor, and these jackets allow a bit of air movement and moisture exchange than hard shells and are thus able to breathe better.
Best Softshell Jackets FAQs
Do the softshell jackets have waterproofing?
No, the softshell jacket has water resistance and do not have waterproofing. They are able to withstand mild rains effectively but cannot withstand heavy downpour and can get the user wet instantly.
Do softshell jackets have an inner membrane?
They do feature a wind blowing membrane along with the DWR fabric treatment. Wind-blocking membranes are not similar to waterproof membranes and they have bigger micropores. They offer good protection against rain without decreasing the breathability functionality.
What is the difference between a rain jacket and a softshell jacket?
The softshell jackets differ from rain jackets in their insulation property. They have fleece on their inside and are of comfortable and stretchy materials. They are also pretty breathable. But they do not offer good protection against the rain as hardshell and rain jackets. They are also heavy and they dry slowly. But softshell jackets are ideal for day hikes and in quickly changing weather. They are very comfortable to wear, are highly breathable and are wind and rain resistant.
Are they good for winter hiking?
Softshell jackets do offer some amount of insulation in dry and breezy weather. But they are not ideal for cold winters. They are good to use in spring and fall. In winter months, the user probably requires a warmer garment such as the down jacket or winter jackets with abundant synthetic insulation.
Points To Consider Before Choosing to Buy a Softshell Jacket
- Handwarmer pockets
- Chest pockets and other pockets
- Zipper pulls
This is an important addition with softshell jackets, as most of the times the users get their hand cold and reach out for additional warmth. Handwarmer pockets are a cozy place to keep the hands and it is important to zipper them when not in use.
Chest pockets and other pockets:
Chest pockets are of use when the user wants to gain instant access to any essential and valuable items so that there is no need to take out the backpack for every few minutes. Pockets on the sleeve can come handy to store essential equipment for instant access. The inner mesh pockets can help to save items such as gloves when they are not of use.
Hood is very much useful when it starts to rain suddenly. It is good to go for a jacket with a detachable hood so that it comes handy when required.
Some adjustments on the jacket such as the ability to close the sleeves to keep cold out and to keep the person warm at the same time are a must with soft shells. This closing sleeve mechanism can be of two types, it can either have a drawcord to tighten them or feature a hook and loop system, where the user will be able to strap them shut.
Having zipper pulls helps the user to easily open all the zips at all times, irrespective of using a glove or not. Without zipper pulls, things get hard in the cold.
How best to maintain the softshell jacket?
Most users are indeed afraid to wash their softshell jackets, as they think that the quality of their jackets can be hampered by machine wash. It is true that washing the jacket by machine could impair the functional properties of the material. But to all our surprise, machine washing the softshell is desirable. It helps the user to get rid of dirt and debris and this is actually required for the proper functioning of the jacket membranes.
Occasional washing of the softshell jacket is appropriate and it is good to clear small directs and debris with a damp cloth. Larger ones have to get eliminated only in the machine. But strictly follow the manufacturer’s guidelines while machine washing. Before putting into the washing machine, ensure to
- Go through all the pockets
- Remove all contents
- Close all fasteners including the Velcro zippers
- Turn the jacket inside out
- Wash softshell separately to avoid any further damage.
They protect from the wind and rain while the user is on the hiking or fishing trip. They for sure render an additional layer of warmth and are ideal for a number of different activities. We hope our buying review will help you with the best softshell jackets for all your outdoor activities.