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Softshell Jacket Buying guide

Hate wearing bulky jackets and tired of the pressure of them over your shoulders? Are you looking for a comfortable way to keep your body warm in nippy weather? Softshell jackets are here to the rescue.

Whether it be an adventurous hike to a high altitude area or a walk on a chilly winter evening with your special one, these jackets cover all the bases and keep you warm. Softshell jackets act as all-rounder apparel, ready to adjust in any environment or situation while keeping your comfort level at the highest priority.

They are water and wind-resistant, and you don't feel suffocated in them. The product is giving fierce competition to other types with high breathability, comfort and warmth level, and lightweight.

Why should you go through a buying guide before investing in a softshell jacket?

You should know that the softshell jackets come in different variants. Each variant is fabricated with different materials and has unique properties. Having prior information about the advantages and disadvantages of the characteristics of these jackets will allow you to select the best fit according to your requirements.

The buying guide presents you with detailed information on these characteristics and aids you in choosing the best product in a jiffy.

So, now it is time to look into the critical characteristics of the softshell jackets.

Something about softshell jackets. Why should you choose these over other jackets?

Softshell jackets are jackets made for outdoor activities performed in light weather conditions. These jackets are super stretchy and water-resistant. The best part is that the breathable shell makes it even more comfortable. The warmth is created by the small or fleece lining in the softshell jackets. These jackets are generally made up of soft fabrics like nylon or polyester.

Choosing softshell jackets is a must recommended option as these jackets are more flexible and light-weighted. Owing to this, one feels extremely relaxed and cozy in them. These jackets are helpful even if there are chances of a little rain.

Most jackets do not come with water resistance technology, but softshell jackets do, making it another reason why they are superior in nature. A softshell jacket can successfully keep you warm even with light snow circumstances.

Moreover, they come with variations in thickness. So in case you live in a region where winters are extreme, you can purchase a softshell jacket with more thickness and warmth and enjoy the winters with the best winter activities.

Softshells v/s Hardshells

If you are wondering which jacket will be better for you, then here is the definite difference between the two to make you analyze better.

Hardshell jackets are usually worn by people living in heavily downpour areas where there is extreme snowfall, and the weather is freezing. These jackets have multiple layerings that provide warmth even under freezing situations.

Along with this, these jackets are heavy and can limit the mobility of your body, making you feel packed and unbreathable. Moreover, sweating increases in hardshell jackets that can make you feel uncomfortable for long term use. Also, these jackets are way more expensive than softshell jackets.

On the other hand, softshell jackets do not hinder the body's mobility and are light-weighted, making the material very smooth on your skin. The best part is that you can easily wear them daily. They also maintain the moisture in your body, keeping the sweat away.

Softshells jackets can also be easily packed with much fewer crinkles, and they are so light that you can even pair them under the hardshell jackets. These jackets are pocket-friendly and are more suitable for the budget as they are cheaper.

Things to deem about while selecting an appropriate Softshell Jacket

Type of Softshell Jacket

Softshell jackets are basically divided into two types that are performance and casual. These types are further explained in detail below.

  1. Casual category :

Just like the name suggests, casual softshell jackets are used for casual or daily wear purposes. These types of jackets are very stretchable and extremely breathable. It means that they offer much more ease than regular rain jackets. These kinds of jackets are perfect and most suitable for light-weather or a little rain.

  1. Performance Category :

As the name states, the performance softshell jackets are used extensively for energy-consuming activities such as hiking, climbing, camping, skateboarding, ski touring, mountaineering, etc. These jackets have higher mobility and control the moisture on your body so that the sweat does not make you freeze or uncomfortable.

These jackets have more outdoor features such as hoods with more compatibility with helmets, deeper pockets suitable for harness or hip belts, and so on. Such jackets help keep the perfect amount of warmth while doing an adventure activity even under cold weather circumstances.

Size and Weight

Another thing that you must consider while selecting a softshell jacket is the size and weight of the jacket. Softshell jackets can vary in size and weight as they have different designs made for different kinds of weather situations. However, even the thickest softshell jacket is soft and super-breathable than hardshell jackets for regular rain jackets.

The softshell jackets are made up of light layers that are very flexible and are much less bulky than other jackets. Moreover, you can easily pack these jackets because of their size and weight. It also gives us a stress-free life as you do not have to worry over crinkles. All of this adds to more benefits and reasons for purchasing a softshell jacket.


Another vital component of a softshell jacket is the material it is made up of. The most common fabrics used to make softshell jackets are polyester fleece fabric and woven face fabric.

The polyester fabric and the layering done from it are usually thin, allowing more mobility and breathability. Moreover, it also enables perspiration that maintains the perfect moisture and dryness combination and helps keep the skin warm.

Moreover, the durability of polyester fabric is also very reliable as these types of materials are long-lasting. Polyester fabrics with good quality are capable of not shrinking and maintaining the shape. Polyester fabrics are very stretchy on wearing but will come back to their original form once they are out from your body.

Woven face fabrics are also very reliable when it comes to flexibility and breathability. Such materials have the component of durable water repellent or DWR that helps in repelling the water rather than absorbing it. They are great when it comes to rainy weather because of this feature. However, this does not indicate that they can last for a day continuously in the rain.


Softshell jackets are well-known for their capability of resistance to water as well as wind. Surely enough, these capabilities are not as strong as hardshell jackets, but they are very reliable even under cold weather circumstances.

  1. Water-resistant:

Almost all of the softshell jackets are water-resistant. It means that the jackets can resist the penetration of water to a maximum degree. These jackets can help you survive in the rain but not as long as a whole day. Some of the softshell jackets come with the functionality of durable water resistance or DWR. Such jackets can last longer under rainfall than the regular ones.

  1. Wind resistant:

Softshell jackets are also wind resistant. It means that they can keep you warm and resist the wind from reaching your body up to a certain extent. Owing to the presence of the wind stopping technology that most of the softshell jackets have. It also helps to control the perfect amount of moisture and wick the set-off, making you feel more comfortable.


Style matters even when it comes to softshell jackets. After all, fashion is essential, especially when it comes to clothing and jackets do not fall behind in this race. Softshell jackets come in a wide range of colors and patterns, specifically on the outer layers. Such intricate details make them more compatible with outdoor uses.

Moreover, some of these patterns and colors are designed in such a way that makes them suitable for a particular type of adventure activity. For example, some of these jackets come with camouflage hues that one may find more suitable for fishing or the patterns of dark ridge looks may look more fashionable for hiking.

In such ways, you cannot only perform your outdoor activities of running or hiking with comfort and mobility but also earn a classy and stylish look. It is another reason why softshell jackets are considered superior in the race of jackets.

DWR Steadfastness

The reason why softshell jackets are water resistant is because of DWR or durable water resistance technology. As explained earlier, the DWR provides the outer layer of the fabric with a coating that has water repellent properties and is done in the factory.

The water is repelled instead of getting absorbed and creating discomfort for the person who is wearing it. However, unfortunately, this layering does not last forever. It can stop functioning because of washing and the sun rays or excess usages, and once this happens, the jacket will start absorbing water rather than repelling it.

But on the bright side, these layers of additional coating on the outer part can be re-established through the DWR repair kit and can be made totally brand new in terms of functioning. It is the best to get this repair done once in a year to make your softshell jacket last long with its durable water resistance capabilities even under substantial rainfall circumstances.


Softshell jackets are excellent in terms of comfort as they have higher mobility, flexibility, and breathability. These jackets have extra stretching capabilities, which makes the jacket much more comfortable to wear.

Moreover, the layers of the jackets are thin and light-weighted, which helps you not to feel as if you are carrying extra weight on your body. Instead, your body will feel free and light.

Moreover, the soft material creases less, so you also do not have to go through the troubles of maintaining it with special needs and adjustments.

These jackets are also excellent in managing the moisture and keeping the layers close to your skin light and dry, keeping the sweat away and making you more comfortable.


Fit plays an essential role in the overall functioning and the comfort provided by a softshell jacket. If the jacket does not fit on your skin and is loose or tight, you will have trouble doing any activity, especially outdoor activities.

It is, therefore, considered apt first to know your measurements and then make a purchase accordingly. Some of the manufacturers may have products where the size is shown, and the size of the actual product may differ.

Thus, you must cross-check the reviews to know whether the product is true to size or not. After all, if the jacket won't fit your body, then it won't fit your comfort.


Thickness is also necessary to consider when purchasing a softshell jacket. It means that the more thick your jacket is, the more warmth it will provide.

Before buying a softshell jacket, you must consider for what purposes you are purchasing it for and go accordingly for the thickness. For example, if you are purchasing the jacket for casual wear in areas with light weather circumstances with little cold temperatures, then you should go for the one with a moderate or medium level of thickness.


What is the point of purchasing a jacket that does not allow you to breathe with comfort and makes your movement confined? The reason why people buy softshell jackets is that it is excellent when it comes to breathability.

Such type of jackets allow ventilation but not to an extent where a person starts feeling cold. This jacket maintains the warmth alongside the flow of little air so that a person does not feel packed and uncomfortable.

A softshell jacket successfully maintains the perfect balance and does not let the skin feel too warm or dry. Moreover, its mobility factor also contributes to increasing the breathability and comfort the jacket provides. Your limbs do not feel heavy, and no movement is restricted.

Furthermore, the materials used are also soft, which is another reason why your skin feels comfortable wearing these jackets.

The stretchiness of the fabric

This stretchiness somewhat depends on the fabric used for making the softshell jacket. Softer fabrics like polyester or nylon provide enough stretchability without even losing their actual shape. Elastic fabrics like spandex are also pretty helpful in this area.

Stretchiness is required the most when doing outdoor and high energy-consuming activities such as hiking, mountaineering, ski touring, climbing, or other aerobic activities. After all, you will not be able to perform such activities if your body's movement will be restricted. And because of this, choosing a softshell jacket is a much better choice than other options.


The weight and stretchability play an important role in terms of the mobility of the jacket. The jacket should be light-weighted, and the fabrics should be stretchy to achieve the highest possible movement.

If the jacket is heavy, then it will weigh you down. The worst part is that it will not allow you to perform even those activities where not much physical energy is required, such as fishing or playing golf. Therefore, always check whether the jacket allows mobility or restricts it before making a deal. You can know this through trial or the reviews of the product.


Insulation is one crucial factor that everyone looks for when purchasing jackets, as this factor is essential for the amount of warmth provided by the jacket. However, too much insulation can also be a demerit as it makes the jacket heavy.

The level of insulation that you will need depends on what kind of environment you will be using for. If you want a jacket for light weather conditions, then choosing minimal insulation will be just fine as you will not suffer from overheat, or the jacket will not feel like a burden on your body.

If you are looking for a jacket for daily usage that you can wear during winters and snow, then you may opt for one with a good warm fleece liner. It will safeguard you from the cold and proffer mobility. In one way or another, the environment for which you are purchasing the jacket plays a crucial role in deciding the purchase.

Additional features

Other than the above-mentioned features and specifications, some more components and elements play a vital role in making a softshell jacket an appropriate one. These features are :


Hoods are essential for both warmth and style. They aren't usually waterproof but can protect you from wind and rain and help in keeping you warm.

Purchasing a jacket with a regular hood for casual usages is a good idea. However, if you are going on an adventure sport, you better choose a hood that is compatible with a helmet.


Pocket is a fundamental thing that everyone looks for in whatever type of jacket they buy. If you decide on purchasing a softshell jacket for regular usages, the normal pockets will be enough for you.

However, if you decide on planning an adventure activity with that jacket, then you may look for deeper pockets that are suitable for the harness and hip belts.

Zipper pulls

Zipper pulls, and its compatibility is crucial if you are buying the jacket, especially for adventure activities.

Managing zippers with cold hands or thick layering of gloves is a tough task. Thus a zipper pull can make it much easier.


Adjustments are extremely beneficial, especially in terms of jackets. You can easily loosen or tighten the whole of the hands of the dragon if it has adjustment capabilities. It further helps in providing an accurate amount of warmth needed by the body.


  1. Being a first-timer, what should I wear under this softshell jacket?

When you purchase a softshell jacket, it is essential to decide what you will wear underneath. You can wear a thin pullover t-shirt. It would be best if the t-shirt is made of fleece as it offers the right amount of features.

  1. How to keep your softshell jackets clean?

A softshell jacket is super-easy to clean and maintain. All you need to do is wash it in a machine and then let it dry. For further instructions, you also need to check the tag on its top to know any other specific point to keep in mind.

  1. Is it possible to go skiing in this jacket?

Yes, you can definitely go for skiing or any other snow activity wearing this super-comfy jacket during the spring season. It is due to the fact that the jacket offers excellent insulation and helps to impart warmth without any hassle.

  1. Are all softshell jackets waterproof?

Yes, all the softshell jackets are resistant to water and impart an excellent shield from rain. You will be happy to know that this adds to them being very light on your body and protects you from chilly weather.

Final Words

Nothing feels better than having a warm jacket covering you in cold weather. The right fit will provide you utmost comfort and keep your body warm.

In this exclusive buying guide on softshell jackets, we have showered light on every element. You can easily evaluate the pros and cons of different variants and select the ultimate jacket for yourself. / - © Copyright 2020