10 Best Softshell Jackets3 min read

By Ben Griffin

Hiker Extraordinaire

We have already talked about the basic gears such as the best socks, base layers, underwear and so on which are required whilst hiking in harsh weather in order to keep ourselves warm, dry and protected.

Today we will be discussing about the best softshell jackets.

Softshell jackets are generally used during spring and autumn.

They do not provide much warmth but do a decent job of protecting our body against moderate wind, water and snow.

They are not as warm as down jackets; so it is better to use softshell jackets as mid layers if you are planning to use them in cold climatic conditions.

Compared to fleece jackets, softshell jackets perform much better in terms of protecting you against wind and rain.

If you are in search of a good softshell jacket then bear with me as we dive into the world of the ten best softshell jackets available in the market.

Why Are Softshell Jackets Important?

The best feature of a softshell jacket is that it is highly breathable.

That is why most of the people like using softshell jackets in order to wick moisture away from their body while they are working out, hiking or doing some similar sporty activities.

Softshell jackets are more comfortable than hardshell jackets.

They provide better wind and rain protection than fleece jackets.

These can be worn during temperate climate when the casual mid layers will just not do the trick.

The softshell jackets provide more insulation compared to the normal mid layers.

You can wear these while relaxing at home as well.

As an adventure and sports lover, having a softshell jacket can become a great asset for you.

How To Choose The Best Softshell Jackets

1. Stretch Woven Versus Membrane

Softshell jackets are made from woven materials and are made by bonding two layers of fabrics together; they do not have lining.

There are two types of softshell jackets, namely, stretch woven and membrane.

Stretch woven softshell jackets have water repellent coating.

They are more breathable and lightweight than membrane jackets.

Because of their high wicking properties, stretch woven jackets are fit to be worn while performing strenuous and sweating activities as these jackets will be able to keep you dry and comfortable.

However, such jackets are only water resistant and not waterproof.

Membrane jackets are more waterproof.

They provide great protection to the body as well.

However, these are not much breathable and are heavy.

You can choose the best softshell jackets, which have the features that you require.

2. Fabric

The softshell jackets must have breathable, quick drying and comfortable fabric.

They must provide you with adequate warmth.

In order to achieve the aforementioned qualities, softshell jackets are made using either of the following two technologies- coatings or laminates.

Coatings are layered on the inner side of the fabrics whereas laminates consists of a membrane.

Laminates perform better in terms of durability, breathability and water resistance but are costlier than coatings.

3. Weight

Softshell jackets can be heavier than down jackets or fleece jackets.

However, these must be lightweight; lightweight in the sense that you should not be fatigued by the weight of the jacket.

When the jacket is light, you will be able to be productive and perform better.

So choose a lightweight softshell jacket.

4. Hood And Pockets

All softshell jackets do not have hoods.

If you want to use the softshell jacket as a mid-layer, then a softshell jacket without a hood will do the work fine.

However, it is better to opt for a softshell jacket with hood in case you will be using it as an outer layer during summer, spring or autumn.

This is so that your head can also get protection against wind or water.

Also, softshell jackets tend to have lots of pockets in them.

So choose a softshell jacket which has plenty of inner and outer pockets to store your small items such as map, keys, money or anything.

These pockets will come handy a lot while hiking and travelling.

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