Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Softshell Jackets

Mammut Aenergy Jacket

75

2014

Mammut Aenergy Jacket

The Mammut Aenergy Jacket was the warmest aerobic softshell I tested this season. The Aenergy excelled as a dry-weather nordic skiing or snowshoeing top. 

Ibex Breakaway II Jacket

80

2014

Ibex Breakaway II Jacket

The Ibex Breakaway II’s stretch-woven nylon/wool shell shed early-morning mists easily. Ibex blends unmatched breathability and streamlined warmth in an understated active softshell.

Helly Hansen Racing Light Jacket

79

2014

Helly Hansen Racing Light Jacket

The Helly Hansen Racing Light jacket is a svelte wind jacket for those who believe training is as much about being seen as it is about working out. 

Helly Hansen Challenger Jacket

74

2014

Helly Hansen Challenger Jacket

The Helly Hansen Challenger is a lightweight aerobic training jacket suitable for light aerobic workouts in cool, dry conditions. 

Adidas Terrex Swift Mountain Summer Jacket

84

2014

Adidas Terrex Swift Mountain Summer Jacket

The Adidas Terrex Swift Mountain Summer Jacket is no running jacket, and is thus a rather unconventional Best in Class for Aerobic Softshells. 

Stio Vescent Jacket

88

2014

Stio Vescent Jacket

The Stio Vescent gets our Best in Class award this season for its versatile and uncomplicated performance. We felt that it was nearly everything an all-mountain softshell should be.

Outdoor Research Enchainment Jacket

74

2014

Outdoor Research Enchainment Jacket

The performance of the Enchainment’s main textile was fantastic, but it couldn’t make up for the jacket’s disappointing design and questionable build-quality. 

Millet Roc+Ice WDS Jacket

87

2014

Millet Roc+Ice WDS Jacket

The Millet Roc+Ice is a professional-grade alpine softshell that gets all the little things right. Simply zipping into the Roc+Ice jacket made us feel like heading for Chamonix.

Millet Matterhorn Shield Jacket

82

2014

Millet Matterhorn Shield Jacket

Simple yet stoic, Millet’s Matterhorn Shield Jacket serves up some serious performance at an entry-level price. 

Mammut Ultimate Hoody

79

2014

Mammut Ultimate Hoody

Mammut’s Ultimate Hoody would be a great choice for day hikes, but it lacked the mobility required for climbing and proved too zipper-y for extended pack-carrying.

La Sportiva Adjuster Jacket

82

2014

La Sportiva Adjuster Jacket

With distinctly Euro-inspired styling, the Adjuster is a sweet ski-touring jacket for the fashion-conscious randonneer. 

Icebreaker Stealth Hood

75

2014

Icebreaker Stealth Hood

The Stealth is a sleek and highly weather-resistant casual coat, but its fashion-forward details quickly became liabilities once we left the streets behind. 

Bergans of Norway Stryn Softshell

86

2014

Bergans of Norway Stryn Softshell

The Stryn Softshell was our favorite jacket for winter-wear under a pack, and was thus our top pick for technical winter climbing and/or ski touring.

Patagonia Traverse Jacket

82

2014

Patagonia Traverse Jacket

A stretchy, highly breathable softshell jacket designed for trailrunners who need a little wet-weather protection.

Scott Muir Jacket

82

2014

Scott Muir Jacket

A hooded hybrid softshell built with lightweight stretchy poly in the body and 3-layer waterproof swatches in high-wear areas.

Columbia Triteca Jacket

75

2013

Columbia Triteca Jacket

Good, not great. This amalgam of three Omni-branded technologies just doesn’t have the breathability, the stretch, or the abrasion-resistance to be a solid performer in the mountains.

Rab Baltoro Guide Jacket

90

2013

Rab Baltoro Guide Jacket

Rab's Baltoro Guide gets an enthusiastic review from Tanner Jackson.

Mountain Hardwear Effusion Power ½ Zip

81

2013

Mountain Hardwear Effusion Power ½ Zip

Tanner Jackson puts Mountain Hardwear's Effusion Power 1/2 Zip to the test, and comes away impressed by the attention to detail.

Stio Hardscrabble Jacket

83

2013

Stio Hardscrabble Jacket

Tanner Jackson calls Stio's Hardscrabble "a winter work jacket classic."

Icebreaker Blast Jacket

69

2013

Icebreaker Blast Jacket

Tanner Jackson says the Icebreaker Blast is long on weather resistance, but isn't as sold on the level of comfort.

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Jacket

80

2012

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Jacket

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Jacket is a featherweight softshell designed to be a packable wind- and abrasion-resistant layer for warm weather mountain recreation.

The North Face Apex Elixir Hoody

73

2012

The North Face Apex Elixir Hoody

Tanner Jackson finds that the North Face Apex Elixir is best for high-output users who put a premium on breathability and efficient moisture movement.

Eddie Bauer First Ascent 18k Jacket

82

2012

Eddie Bauer First Ascent 18k Jacket

The First Ascent 18k Jacket works both as a standalone weather-resistant jacket and as an insulating, moisture-wicking layer under a hardshell.

Patagonia Simple Guide Hoody

84

2012

Patagonia Simple Guide Hoody

Considerably more than the sum of its parts, the Simple Guide Hoody excels in a variety of pursuits.

Arcteryx Venta SV Jacket

93

2012

Arcteryx Venta SV Jacket

The Arcteryx Venta SV is a windproof, lightly insulated hooded soft-shell designed for alpine and expedition climbing use. It has many similarities to a hard-shell—low-stretch fabrics, full pit-zips, an adjustable helmet-compatible hood—but is not fully waterproof.