13 Best Softshell Jackets for the Money in 2021

It’s important to be equipped with the right gear when you are participating in outdoor activities. Not only will it increase your performance, but also make you more comfortable and safer. Softshell jackets are ideal for most outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and mountain or ice climbing. They are designed to keep you warm and dry while being lightweight and breathable. Softshell materials provide weather protection and freedom of movement, so you’ll never feel restricted. One of the most convenient features about softshell jackets is they act as great base layers- meaning you can combine them with other clothing depending on how much warmth you need. They are also very versatile, so they work for casual use and for high impact activities. In this article we will explore the best softshell jackets of 2020 and offer advice on how to find the best softshell jacket for you.

Things to Look for in the Best Softshell Jacket

When buying a softshell jacket there are a few things you should be aware of.

In order to find the best softshell jacket, you’ll want to be aware of what exactly your needs are. For example, do you want it to be lightweight? Do you need a hood that is helmet-compatible? Does it need to have internal pockets? These are the types of questions to ask yourself prior to purchasing a softshell.

There are hundreds of softshell jackets to chose from online, so it can be overwhelming for a first-time buyer. Being knowledgeable about the different features of softshell jackets and what to look for, will help make your decision process easier. Here we will break down everything you need to know about purchasing softshell jackets so you can find one that suits your needs.

Weight:

One of the main reasons softshell jackets are so popular is because they are lightweight. This makes them comfortable to wear and easy to pack while travelling. They also can be layered easily with other clothing because of their lightness. Most softshells weigh around the 1 lb. mark. That being said, softshells that weigh under 1 lb. are best for activities like running or cycling and usually can fold up to be small enough to store in a large pocket. Activities that require a higher amount of warmth such as snowshoeing or skiing do best with softshells that weight over 1 lb. These softshells are heavier and offer more protection and heat, especially in chilly temperatures.

Movement:

Softshell jackets are made to be worn while being active. Therefore you don’t want to feel restricted while moving especially if you are doing something like mountain climbing or hiking. Fabric that is stretch woven and allows unrestricted movement, like polyester 10 elastane, will allow you to perform better while being comfortable. When reading reviews and product descriptions for softshell jackets, look for keywords like “freedom of movement “ and “range of motion” to see if the softshell is restricting. Softshells are even sometimes designed to be compatible with backpacks and climbing harnesses, so you don’t feel restricted while carrying important equipment.

Warmth:

When choosing a softshell, you need to think about what kind of temperatures you’ll be wearing it in. The entire purpose of a softshell is to provide weather protection while being warm without causing overheating. They are also designed to be windproof so cool winds won’t chill you. Shells are primarily made of fabric like nylon or polyester which provides a little bit of warmth and is best for spring and summer months. During these times, softshell jackets can be worn on their own. If more warmth is needed for cooler weather be prepared to wear layers underneath a softshell or look for a softshell that has fleece lining. Some softshells even have face fabric around the collar that won’t chafe skin. There are a lot of softshells available specially designed for winter activities that have some form of insulation.

Breathability:

The reason why shells are made with such thin fabric is so they are breathable. This increases comfort during high-impact activities so you don’t overheat and sweat can easily escape. Runners love wearing softshell jackets for this reason. When purchasing a softshell, keep in mind that those made with fleece lining and other insulation will be less breathable than softshells created without it.

Waterproof:

One of the biggest misconceptions about softshell jackets is they are the same as rain jackets. This is not the case, while softshells have varying degrees of water resistance, most are not completely waterproof. This means they will protect you from light drizzle but not a down pour. If you do find a softshell that has full weather resistance, it likely will come with a high price tag.

13 Best Softshell Jackets for 2021

1. RAB Kinetic Plus Jacket

We’re starting off our list with a softshell jacket that is especially designed for changeable weather conditions, the RAB Kinetic Plus. Made of Proflex fabric technology, this softshell has a lot of stretch for fast movement while being soft and comfortable- so you’ll never be held back! The Kinetic Plus can withstand day-long use and has a breathable hidden waterproof component inside. There are 3 roomy pockets and hook and loop adjustable cuffs, making this softshell practical yet convenient. The cuffs and hem are also stitch-free for added comfort.

The Kinetic Plus comes in a regular fit so you can wear it with other clothes to add warmth, and it works especially nice as mid-layer during chilly adventures. Some customers do find this softshell runs a bit tight in the under arm area, so size up if you need more room in this area.  The Kinetic Plus is unique as most softshells that double as rain jackets aren’t appropriate for intense activities, however this jacket is great for low and high impact activities.

The weight of the RAB Kinetic Plus is under 1 lb., making it easy to pack while travelling or even to tuck away in your car. There is a removable and adjustable hood that can accommodate a hat and cinches down if necessary. This softshell will also protect you from the wind as its mid layer is made of windproof TPU fabric to seal cold wind. You’ll never have to worry about heat, as the fleece lining of this jacket will ensure you stay warm and cozy without overheating in cooler weather. Making this softshell versatile for various climates and conditions. It comes in multiple colors as well and options without hoods.

This is one of the best softshells for rain protection and is worth the higher price point. Softshells rarely offer complete water resistance, but the RAB Kinetic Plus Jacket is an exception and has wet weather protection.

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Removable and adjustable hood
  • Offers weather protection
  • Windproof
  • Has a lot of stretch
  • Adjustable cuffs and hem

Cons:

  • Expensive

 

 

2. Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Shell

The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Shell is a high-quality softshell jacket that is popular amongst skiers for its breathability and movement. It is perfect for year-round use (on and off the slopes) as it provides excellent protection from wind and light rain. For colder days that require extra warmth, this softshell jacket works well as a layer over sweaters. The Dawn Patrol is made of a durable, four-way stretch fabric with a water-repellent finish so it will keep you dry and comfortable. Thanks to its easily packable design, it takes up little room in a backpack or can be slipped into a pocket. Its weight is 1 lb. 3oz which isn’t the lightest jacket but not heavy by any means.

There is lots of room to store your valuables, with a chest pocket and two skin-compatible internal drop pockets for added security. The VELCRO cuff tabs on the Dawn Patrol are strong and ensure the sleeves don’t ride up, making this softshell very versatile. Black Diamond creates apparel geared towards activities like skiing and rock climbing. Therefore, their products are designed to withstand extreme external conditions while catering to the unique needs of skiers and climbers. The Dawn Patrol has underarm gussets that help increase flexibility, so you won’t feel constrained, which can be very helpful if you plan on wearing the it for rock or ice climbing. This softshell jacket is especially great if you are a climber as there are two-harness compatible hand pockets. The length of it is also perfect for climbing as it stays in place when wearing a harness, making for a safer climb.

The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol has an adjustable, ski-helmet-compatible hood that works with climbing helmets also, but the hood fits even if worn without a helmet. It tends to run larger so if you are going to purchase, it’s suggested to buy a size smaller than your usual size. Some customers find it fits tighter in the shoulders and arms, so keep this in mind depending on the kind of fit you prefer. Customers also find themselves contemplating between this softshell and The Black Diamond Alpine Start. These softshell jackets are similar but The Black Diamond Alpine Start is made for light activities and has less weather resistance. That being said, both have similar prices so it is best to pass on the Black Diamond Alpine Start in exchange for more weather protection.

This Black Diamond Dawn Patrol is a good option for outdoor activities and snowy weather protection. Although it has a higher price point, it is well worth the money especially for skiers and climbers.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Works well for layering
  • Breathable
  • Several pockets (including harness compatible)
  • Helmet-compatible hood
  • Unrestricted arm movement
  • Easy to pack

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not suitable for heavy rain
  • Runs tight in shoulders and arms

 

 

3. The North Face Apex Bionic 2 Jacket

If you’re looking for a versatile, everyday use softshell, the Apex Bionic 2 is for you! This is awesome for late fall or early winter and has weather protection. The cozy fleece backer and windproof exterior offers extra protection against frigid air and wind, making it an excellent option for outdoor wear. Not only is the Apex Bionic 2 suitable for active wear but because of its sleek and stylish appearance it transitions to casual dress wear.

The North Face is a highly reputable brand comparable to Patagonia that designs innovative clothing for performance and exploration. For example, the Apex Bionic 2 features WindWall fabric which is a wind-resistant fleece. This greatly reduces windchill effects and has a unique fabric-bonding process that lets in a limited amount of external air. The first layer of WindWall consists of a mesh liner while the second has a grid fleece layer which increases insulation. Although it does have a water-repellant finish, the jacket only partially blocks snow and rain in order to increase breathability.

The North Face Apex Bionic 2 has a relaxed fit and runs true to size. Some customers find the softshell jacket runs long in the arms, but this allows for a full range of motion and optimal coverage. Because it is so lightweight (it only weighs 1.5 lbs.), it works great for travelling and packing, however unlike other shell jackets it’s not small enough to fit in your pocket once folded. It also can be worn as a layer over a thin sweater. Unfortunately, due to the lining not being slippery, shirt/sweater sleeves can sometimes get caught up in the softshell jacket causing bulk. The Apex Bionic 2 is very similar to The North Face’s Apex Risor softshell jacket. The only big difference being the Apex Bionic has more stretch fabric than the Apex Risor.

There are 2 hand pockets in the Apex Bionic 2 and a smaller chest pocket. This softshell jacket does not have a hood but you could easily wear a hoody underneath it. Thanks to The North Face’s warranty policy, the quality of your product is promised, as their products have a lifetime guarantee when purchased from an authorized The North Face reseller. It has a higher price point but its quality makes up for it. Don’t let the North Face Apex Bionic 2 Softshell Jacket fool you, although it appears light and thin, it’s actually quite warm! This is one of the best softshell jackets on the market and comes highly recommended by customers.

Pros:

  • Hem cinch-cord
  • Warm
  • Breathable
  • Wind-proof
  • Light weight
  • Layers well
  • Stylish design

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No hood
  • Not suitable for heavy rain

 

 

 

4. Outdoor Research Ferrosi Grid Hooded Jacket

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Grid Hooded Jacket was made for outdoor enthusiasts. This softshell is amazing for freezing temperatures and helps you to stay warm while being active. Its breathable bonded grid fleece interior protects you from the cold while allowing moisture to escape when necessary- meaning you can stay warm while snowboarding but cool during a spring hike. Made of Ferrosi material and a nylon and wool blend, the softshell jacket is water resistant and wind resistant with hybrid mapped insulation. The Ferrosi material is very stretchy which makes it comfortable to be active in.

The Outdoor Research Grid has a weight of 1.4 pounds which helps with wind protection, but the heavy weight of it does slightly restrict freedom of movement. It can also be bulky to carry around in a backpack because of its weight. Outdoor Research Ferrosi jackets are known for their simplicity and the Ferrosi Hooded Jacket follows suit with limited features. For example, although a helmet can fit under the hood, it has no closures, meaning it just has an elastic brim to secure the hood around your head or helmet. The wrist cuffs are elastic as well which prevents them from moving to an extent, but they are not as secure as Velcro wrist cuffs. This Ferrosi has no internal pockets but does have two hand warmer zip pockets and a chest zip pocket.

Although the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Grid is not treated with DWR like most other softshells, it does a good job at being water resistant and can handle a light drizzle without becoming soaked immediately. One especially unique feature of the Outdoor Research Grid is its ability to shield you from the sun with UPF 50 + protection fabric. This makes it a great choice to wear during activities that involve extended sun exposure such as kayaking or skiing. It fits true to size and runs a bit long in the arms but this just adds extra coverage to keep your hands warm. The Ferrosi hem has a longer cut which provides additional coverage and can stay tucked in underneath a climbing harness. There is also an elastic drawcord on the hem that secures the it in place.

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Grid Hood Jacket is like The North Face Apex Bionic 2 but has a more affordable price point. This shell is an excellent option for those who want weather protection that is versatile yet still suitable for outdoor activities in various climates and conditions.

Pros:

  • UPF protection
  • Helmet-compatible hood
  • Breathable
  • Wind proof
  • Layers well

Cons:

  • Not treated with DWR
  • Not suitable for heavy rain
  • Restricted movement

 

 

5. Arc teryx Gamma MX Hoody

The Arc teryx Gamma MX Hoody is a high-end and extremely durable softshell jacket. This shell was created for alpine weather and therefore is weather resistant and very warm. The high-performance design of the Gamma MX makes it versatile for varying activities and conditions- making it the perfect option for those who have an active lifestyle year-round.

It is is made from Arc teryx’s Fortius 2.0 fabric, which is a combination of polyester, nylon, and elastane fabric that has a warmth to weight ratio and provides 4-way stretch fabric. The front liner provides additional core warmth and because of its breathable, temperature regulating material, sweat can easily escape leaving you dry and comfortable.  Although it is not a rain jacket, The DWR finish ensures the it is repellent from light rain and the Gamma MX will also protect you from cold gusty winds.

Customers particularly enjoy the sleek design of the Arc teryx Gamma MX Hoody and say it layers nicely if extra warmth is needed. That being said, this softshell runs slightly narrow in the shoulders and hips. So if you want to wear it over anything heavier than a light sweater, it is recommended to size up. The no-lift gusseted underarms and articulated patterning increase mobility, which is a perk for those who rock climb. Arc teryx went the extra mile when creating this jacket with snowy conditions in mind. Skiers and climbers will appreciate the glove friendly adjustable hood and corded zipper-pulls. Making it easy to readjust without having to remove any gear. The hood is also helmet compatible and is protective without obstructing peripheral vision- perfect for a day on the slopes! It should be noted that customers do find the hood to be baggy if not worn with a helmet.

There is lots of room to store your essentials in the Gamma MX Hoody, with a convenient pocket layout that includes 3 spacious pockets with zippers, so you’ll never run out of space! The sleeves are also conveniently designed with an elasticized finish to make it easier to put on and take it off, which means no more struggling to get geared up. If you’re looking to splurge on a softshell that will support all your outdoor adventures, the Arc teryx Gamma MX Hoody is a great choice. The high price is well worth the reliability this softshell provides.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable hem drawcord
  • Weather resistant
  • Adjustable Helmet-compatible hood
  • Layers well

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Runs small in shoulders and hips

 

 

6. C3 Gore Windstopper Classic Jacket

Originally designed for cycling, the C3 Gore Windstopper Classic Jacket is a must-have for anyone looking for an everyday softshell. This windbreaker doubles as a rain jacket and can be worn for both high and low impact activities.

It is made of polymer PTFE and therefore breathable and completely windproof. You won’t have to worry about becoming overheated in this as sweat can escape effortlessly through the microporous fabric structure while at the same time blocking cold winds. The fabric is also water repellant and can withstand heavy rainfall. Weighing only 7.9 ounces this softshell is light and doesn’t take up much room when folded, making it easy to tuck in a backpack or even a large pocket.

The reflective details on the C3 are a bonus for those who want to safely be active at night while not compromising the quality of their apparel. The jacket provides medium thermal protection but due to its looser fit, you can layer a t-shirt or heavy sweater underneath, depending on your needs. The combination of a looser fit and thin yet durable fabric makes this softshell very comfortable. Features such as an elastic hemline and elastic cuffs allow unrestricted movement and make it easy to slip the softshell jacket on and off. The collar of the C3 is specially designed to be comfortable around the neck and the pre-shaped elbows provide additional comfort. There is a zip chest pocket and two large zip pockets on the back of the jacket to store belongings such as a phone or gloves. The downside to this is the back pockets are not easily accessible, which some customers find inconvenient.

This jacket is versatile, but especially great for runners or cyclists who need guaranteed wind and rain protection. Athletes will also appreciate the breathability and layering options the C3 has to offer without being restrictive. The jacket has a reasonable mid-range price point and has a timeless design. Whether you need a jacket to wear grocery shopping or while training in wet weather, the C3 has got you covered.

Pros:

  • Wind and rain proof
  • Light weight
  • Layers well
  • Easy to pack

Cons:

  • No hood
  • Awkward pocket placement

 

 

7. Marmot ROM Jacket

If you need a reliable yet durable softshell, you’ll want to check out the Marmot ROM Jacket. This jacket will provide you all the warmth you could ever need whether you are camping in the snow or commuting to work. With many 5-star reviews, the Marmot ROM is a favorite amongst outdoor enthusiasts.

Unlike other winter softshell jackets, that can sometimes be bulky, the Marmot ROM has a unique athletic fit that combines practicality and style. Meaning the fit allows for enough room to wear the jacket over a base layer without compromising comfort. It can also be worn on its own during seasons with warmer weather. The elastic waist with drawcord conveniently lets you loosen or tighten the coat depending on your layering choices. The Marmot ROM will protect you from wind and rain thanks to its GORE-TEX WINDSTOPPER technology and water-resistant shell.

The Marmot ROM is made of a double weave polyester and very breathable, making it a good choice for cold weather protection. Customers say that the stretchiness and close-to-body fit is especially helpful during winter hikes- preventing the jacket from getting snagged on trees yet not restricting movement. This jacket has convenient features like Velcro cuffs that are ideal for securing mitts and gloves. The attached hood with a peripheral cord makes it easy to adjust while on the-go without having to bother with stubborn buttons.

The ROM jacket has several pockets which includes pack pockets, a chest pocket, and an interior pocket for extra security. The pockets all have zippers that can be accessed even while wearing gloves. Weighing only 1 lb., it’s useful for travelling and won’t take up much space on an airplane or in a suitcase. Marmot is a brand comparable to Mountain Hardwear however their prices are slightly less expensive than Mountain Hardwear.

Don’t let the Marmot ROM fool you- although it doesn’t have much weight, it makes for a perfect winter jacket. Marmot produces high-quality technical apparel so you can be assured your jacket will last for years. It has a mid-range price point with qualities usually found in high-end softshells, making it well worth the price.

Pros:

  • Wind and water resistant
  • Light weight
  • Functional for various climates
  • Layers well
  • Several pockets
  • Breathable

Cons:

  • Hood is not helmet-compatible
  • Runs small
  • Not suitable for heavy rain

 

 

8. Columbia Men’s Ascender Softshell Jacket

The Columbia Men’s Ascender Softshell Jacket is a high-quality casual jacket that is perfect for light weather resistance and wind protection. Made of 100% durable polyester, the Ascender provides warmth while working well as a mid layer or outer layer thanks to its light weight. Because of this versatility with layering, the Ascender can be worn in all seasons but works best on its own as a fall or spring jacket. The chin guard is flexible and can be worn up or down depending on how much neck warmth you need. Adjustable cuffs and hems also help lock-in heat and are compatible with gloves. Keep in mind the Ascender is water resistant but not completely waterproof and isn’t the most breathable jacket, so it is best to avoid wearing during strenuous activities.

With a modern classic fit, the Ascender is comfortable without being too tight or baggy (another reason it is such a great layering piece!). Some customers find it runs a tad large because of the relaxed modern fit, so if you prefer your jacket to have more of a slim fit, it’s suggested you size down. The jacket is made with a stretch woven fabric that adds to its comfort and flexibility yet keeps shape after numerous wears. Its abrasion resistant fabric not only prevents rips, but also fairs well against stains and grime. This softshell has one chest pocket and two hand pockets that can store small items and will keep your hands warm. It also comes in a wide variety of colors to chose from including multiple shades of blue and green.

The Columbia Ascender Softshell Jacket is commonly compared to The North Face’s Apex Bionic 2 jacket. Both are casual softshells that are wind and water resistance, although the Apex is slightly less heavy than the Ascender. The Ascender is also more fitted than the Apex, therefore it is easier to layer clothing with the Apex, making the Apex more suitable for cold weather. One of the biggest differences between the two jackets is the price tag. The Ascender is significantly less expensive than the Apex, making it a bargain for those who want a nice jacket without a hefty price tag.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Available in several colors
  • Wind and water resistant
  • Layers well
  • Adjustable cuffs and hem

Cons:

  • Not very breathable
  • No hood

 

 

9. Little Donkey Andy Men’s Softshell Fleece Jacket with Detachable Hood

Looking to buy a softshell without breaking the bank? The Little Donkey Andy Men’s Softshell Fleece offers style and protection at an affordable price. This jacket is warm and lightweight, making it great to bring along while travelling or to wear when running errands. The 3-layer construction of the jacket gives you coverage from wind and light rain. For example, the first layer has a water-repellent treatment, while the mid-layer is made of a breathable and waterproof membrane so moisture will escape and you can stay dry. The interior of the Little Donkey Andy jacket is lined with a quality fleece to keep you cozy while feeling soft against your skin for ultimate comfort.

This jacket is very versatile and can be worn throughout different seasons, but fairs best on its own in the spring and fall. The adjustable hood can be removed quickly by zipper and tightened around the face if needed. Its adjustable hem and cuffs allow for customization depending on the level of coverage you desire. There are 3 large external pockets that all have zippers and will protect your belongings while on the move. They are also large enough to place gloved hands in, for extra heat. The jacket has a trendy cut, is available in a variety of colors, and can be worn over a t-shirt or light sweater. It runs true to size but if you plan on wearing multiple layers, it is suggested you size up for more comfort.

Some customers have reported minor issues with quality so it is not recommended for strenuous outdoor activities. Although it is water-repellent, the Little Donkey Andy Softshell is not a rain jacket and will leak if worn in heavy rain. That being said, it is a great jacket for everyday casual use and will protect you from light weather conditions. Many softshell jackets are at least double the price of this one so it’s a great value for anyone who does not need a heavy duty softshell.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Available in several colors
  • Layers well
  • Removable hood
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Unsuitable for strenuous outdoor activities
  • Not a high-quality jacket

 

 

10. ANCTARTICA Military Tactile Jacket

The ANCTARTICA Military Tactile Jacket is designed for outdoor low impact activities at an affordable price. It has several convenient features that will be useful for anyone who is on the go. This softshell jacket’s outer layer is made of DINTEX which is waterproof yet breathable, allowing for warmth without becoming overheated. Its axillary ventilation system with 2 vent zippers under each arm, helps moisture to evaporate quickly so you stay dry while being active. The cozy fleece liner on the inside of the ANCTARTICA Military Tactile will keep you warm even though this is not a winter jacket.

One of the unique features of the Military Tactile Jacket is it has 7 pockets for optimal storage, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of space. There are also holes in the jacket that you can feed earphones through making it super easy to listen to music while wearing. The portable hood has a 3D brim that will shield your head from the rain, and it has adjustable cords with toggles in case you need to make it tighter.

The ANCTARTICA Military Tactile Jacket is a multifunctional jacket that is ideal for activities like fishing, hunting, and shooting. Some customers have complained about its quality and say there are loose threads and untrimmed edges. It runs on the small side, so it is suggested you go up a size in order for layers to fit comfortably. This jacket is similar to the Little Donkey Andy Softshell Fleece as they are both breathable and affordable jackets. However, the ANCTARTICA Military Tactile is a heavier softshell and therefore more suitable for activities and cooler weather while the Little Donkey Andy Jacket works better for casual use year-round.

This jacket comes in a variety of colors and patterns including camo for hunters. The ANCTARTICA Military Tactile Jacket is an excellent choice for those who don’t want to invest a lot of money into a softshell, but still need storage and basic protection from outdoor elements.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Several pockets
  • Adjustable hood, cuffs, and waist
  • Available in several colors and patterns

Cons:

  • Unsuitable for strenuous outdoor activities
  • Not a high-quality jacket

 

 

11. Carhartt Rockford Rain Defender Jacket

The Carhartt Rockford Rain Defender Softshell Jacket is a must-have if you need a lightweight softshell that holds up well in light rain. Made of 100% nylon with Carhartt’s Rain Defender durable water-repellent finish, it was created specifically for damp weather and will cause water to bead off the surface. It is extremely light, weighing less than 5 ounces, which makes It easy to stash in a backpack or pocket. The Rockford Jacket has a loose fit and works best as a base or outer layer because of its thinness. It can be worn on its own in warmer temperatures and makes for a nice summer hiking jacket, or even casual everyday use.

The inside of the Rockford Softshell Jacket has a mesh lining which makes it breathable and comfortable against skin. Its subtle shape allows for a range of motion so you’ll never feel restricted when wearing. The quality of this can’t be beat as it has triple stitched main seams decreasing the likelihood of rips and tears. There are 5 pockets including a large interior one that would comfortably fit a wallet. One of the chest pockets has a media port so earphones can easily be accessed. The hem on the Rockford Jacker has an adjustable cord for a snugger fit if desired.

Carhartt is well known for their extremely durable work clothes so you can be assured this will last you a long time. Although it is not appropriate for cold weather protection unless layered, customers still love the Rockford Softshell Jacket for casual use. It also does not stay completely dry in heavy rainfall, so make sure to only wear it on days that are misty or have a light drizzle. Considering the good reputation of Carhartt products, this shell is reasonably priced at a mid-level price point. It is the best softshell for those who are used to rain jackets.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Water-repellent finish
  • Several pockets
  • Lightweight
  • Layers well
  • Easy to pack
  • Attached adjustable hood and cuffs

Cons:

  • Not wind-proof
  • Not suitable for heavy rain

 

 

12. Arc teryx Gamma LT Hoody

The Arc teryx Gamma LT Hoody is a top-of-the-line softshell that will keep you protected in harsh winter conditions. It is amazing for high-output activities such as hiking, running, skiing, and climbing. This breathable, lightweight softshell provides just the right amount of air ventilation because of its stretch woven fabric for added comfort while being wind resistant. Although there is no insulation, the Arc teryx Gamma LT Hoody is made of Wee Burly Double Weave fabric (a combination of nylon, polyester, and elastane) that will keep you warm. This Gamma Lt was created for layering and due to its regular fit, it works well as a mid layer or outer layer, making it versatile depending on how much warmth you need. It also has superior abrasion resistance which is handy for climbers and will provide peace of mind from rips and tears.

The outer layer of the Arc teryx Gamma LT Hoody is moisture-resistant and has a water-repellent treatment that will protect you from snow and light rain. Skiers and climbers love the articulated pattern design and underarm gussets that allow the Gamma LT to be mobile and comfortable while not sacrificing warmth. The helmet compatible hood with adjustable drawcords is convenient for gloved hands and there are 3 pockets that offer storage for smaller items.

The Arc teryx Gamma LT Hoody runs in the same family as the Arc teryx Gamma MX Hoody, and both jackets have nearly identical features. For example, the Gamma MX and Gamma LT jackets are equally weather resistant and have adjustable helmet-compatible hoods. Both work well as layering pieces and are lightweight. The biggest difference between these two Arc teryx softshell jackets is their breathability and warmth, though very minor. The Gamma LT is made of a more breathable fabric (Wee Burly Double Weave) that affects the warmth the softshell jacket can provide. While the Gamma MX’s fabric (Fortius 2.0) provides superior heat because of its warmth-to-weight ratio technology. Because of this, the Gamma LT is a better option if you’re going to be physically active and don’t want to overheat, while the Gamma MX is best for casual use in cold temperatures. As for price-points, the Gamma LT is a little less pricey than the Gamma MX. Both Arc teryx Gamma hoodies are not cheap but are durable and high-quality jackets.

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Weather resistant
  • Works well for layering
  • Adjustable helmet-compatible hood
  • Adjustable hem drawcord

Cons

  • Expensive

 

 

13. Helly-Hansen Odin Mountain Softshell Jacket

If you want a jacket that does it all, the Helly-Hensen Odin Mountain Softshell is a great option. This protective jacket is ideal for backcountry adventures and extreme pursuits. Its shell has a hybrid construction that features a top layer of weather protective membrane and a bottom layer with no membrane for maximum breathability. Its 4-way stretch allows for freedom of movement which is especially great for skiing and winter mountain climbing, and there is a fleece liner that will keep you warm but won’t cause you to overheat. Customers are really impressed with how warm the Odin Mountain Softshell despite its thinness. It also is helmet and backpack/harness compatible to ensure a safe and comfortable climb.

In addition to the hood being helmet-compatible, it also has a vertical and horizontal adjustment with a laminated brim. The cuffs have convenient plastic pull tabs that work well with a variety of gloves. The Odin Mountain Softshell has a regular fit which allows for plenty of layers underneath. Although it was created for backcountry adventures, there is no clasp or external loop to hang a compass or watch. However there are 3 external zippered pockets that have room to store these kinds of items. This softshell is truly unique as it has an integrated RECCO reflector that is a part of an advanced rescue system that will help locate you if you go missing.

The Odin Mountain Softshell is wind resistant and has a water-repellent coating to keep you dry. The jacket isn’t completely waterproof, but customers say it does well at protecting against heavy rainfall. Helly-Hensen specifically designs apparel for some of the harshest environmental conditions, so it’s not a surprise that the Odin Mountain Softshell comes recommended by many customers. It has a high price, but its weather resistance is worth the money if you need a reliable softshell.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Helmet-compatible hood
  • Water-repellent finish
  • RECCO Advanced Rescue system

Cons:

  • Expensive

 

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