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Softshell jackets are like the multi-tool of outerwear, and you definitely want one in your outdoor adventure arsenal. Water and wind resistant, yet breathable and stretchy, a softshell will keep you warm and dry and move with you on the toughest trails. Softshells offer a variety of different features and fabrics, so here at The Adventure Junkies, we will help you sort through the options and find the best softshell jacket for women to protect you from the elements and keep you comfortable and cozy on your next hike.

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out the Best Softshell Jackets.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Softshell Jackets for Women

  1. Outdoor Research Ferrosi
  2. Mountain Hardwear Kor Preshell
  3. Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoodie
  4. Black Diamond Alpine Start
  5. RAB Kinetic Plus
  6. The North Face Apex Risor
  7. Marmot Gravity
  8. Patagonia Adze
  9. Mammut Ultimate V
  10. Columbia Heather Canyon

 

Comparison Table - Best Softshell Jacket for Women

PictureNameHoodWeightThumbholesPriceRating
Outdoor Research FerrosiYes11.7 ozYes$4.9
Mountain Hardwear Kor PreshellYes4.3 ozNo$5.0
Arc’teryx Gamma LT HoodieYes1 lbNo$$$4.8
Black Diamond Alpine StartYes6.7 ozNo$$4.3
RAB Kinetic PlusYes9.5 ozNo$$$4.8
The North Face Apex RisorNo1 lb 5.5 ozNo$$4.9
Marmot GravityNo1 lb 5.8 ozNo$$4.2
Patagonia AdzeNo1 lb 3.8 ozNo$$3.6
Mammut Ultimate VNo9.9 ozYes$$$4.5
Columbia Heather CanyonYes15.2 ozNo$4.7
PictureNameHoodWeightThumbholesPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Women's Softshell Jacket

Outdoor Research Ferrosi

Specs
  • Weight: 11.7 oz
  • Hood: Yes
  • Thumbholes: Yes
Features
  • Reinforced Shoulders and Sleeves to Resist Abrasion
  • Adjustable Hem Cord to Protect from Inclement Weather
  • Thumbholes Keep Sleeves in Place to Protect Wrists & Hands

BEST FOR: ALL-AROUND USE

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi is a softshell hoodie that keeps you comfortable in the variable weather conditions you could encounter out on the trail. The main body of the jacket is stretchy to keep from restricting your mobility, while the shoulders and arms are made of reinforced proprietary Cordura fabric to prevent abrasion when you’re bushwhacking through trees or scrambling up rocks. The fabric is also water and wind resistant to keep the elements out and warmth and dryness in.

The Ferrosi features zippered hand pockets as well as a zippered chest pocket to keep your valuables from falling out on the trail. Thumbholes keep the sleeves in place, and an adjustable hem cord cinches up at the waist.

Mountain Hardwear Kor Preshell

Specs
  • Weight: 4.3 oz
  • Hood: Yes
  • Thumbholes: No
Features
  • Elastic Keeps Hood, Hem, and Wrist Cuffs in Place
  • Chin Guard and Windflap Offers Extra Protection from the Elements
  • Packs Up Small and Stuffs into Front Pocket

BEST FOR: MINIMAL & LIGHTWEIGHT HIKERS

The Mountain Hardwear Kor Preshell is an extra light layer that is made from a proprietary Pertex Quantum Air fabric which manages to be exceptionally breathable while also blocking the chill of wind. It is treated with a durable water resistant coating to repel water if you get caught in an unexpected rainstorm while you’re hiking.

Strategically placed elastic on the hood, hem, and cuffs keep everything in place without constant fiddling. Zippered hand pockets keep your items secure, and the jacket stuffs down small enough to fit into one of the pockets when you’re not wearing it. The Kor Preshell is also designed to fit over base and midlayers, so you can customize your layering system to suit the weather conditions.

Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoodie

Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Hood: Yes
  • Thumbholes: No
Features
  • Adjustable Drawcord at the Hem to Keep it Tightly in Place On Your Torso
  • Front Zipper Resists Water
  • Hood is Compatible with a Helmet

BEST FOR: QUALITY

The Gamma LT softshell hoodie is made from Arc’Teryx’s Wee Burly Double Weave fabric which provides a balance between breathability and wind-resistance, while being extra durable to stand up to whatever elements your adventures take you through. The fabric is also treated to be water repellent, and the front zipper is designed to keep water out as well as prevent accidental unzipping.

An adjustable drawcord secures the hem while elastic keeps the cuffs in place. If you’re climbing as well as hiking, the Gamma LT is a great choice thanks to the helmet-compatible StormHood design.

Black Diamond Alpine Start

Specs
  • Weight: 6.7 oz
  • Hood: Yes
  • Thumbholes: No
Features
  • Large Zippered Chest Pocket for Storing Valuables
  • Gusseted Underarms Provide Extra Mobility
  • Stuffs Down to Stow in Chest Pocket

BEST FOR: LONG ADVENTURES

The Black Diamond Alpine Start is perfectly packable for all your alpine objectives. It packs down to fit into its own chest pocket, and a loop for a carabiner attachment makes it easy to clip to a pack or a harness. Black Diamond’s Schoeller fabric is stretchy and durable, and it is treated with Nanosphere technology to repel water and dirt.

The Alpine Start features gusseted construction in the underarms, which allows for exceptional freedom of movement. The longer torso and adjustable drawcord at the hem provide extra protection to seal out wind. The hood is also made to wear over a helmet if necessary.

RAB Kinetic Plus

Specs
  • Weight: 9.5 oz
  • Hood: Yes
  • Thumbholes: No
Features
  • Waterproof Not Just Water Resistant
  • Sealed Seams to Keep Water Out
  • Extra Large Zippered Side Pockets

BEST FOR: WET WEATHER

The RAB Kinetic Plus is the softshell you want if you spend a lot of time playing outdoors in wet weather. This jacket is actually waterproof, not just water resistant like most softshells. Yet it is still stretchy and breathable due to RAB’s special Proflex fabric which has a hydrophilic membrane between two layers of knitted polyester. The Kinetic Plus also has a moisture-wicking lining to keep you dry both inside the jacket and out.

The hood is constructed with a double layer with a stiff outer brim to keep rain away, and the zippers feature AquaGuard to protect against moisture. Plus, all the seams on the jacket are sealed against moisture.

The North Face Apex Risor

Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb 5.5 oz
  • Hood: No
  • Thumbholes: No
Features
  • Extremely Wind Resistant
  • Fleece Backing for Extra Warmth
  • Forearm Pocket for Keeping Essentials at Arm’s Reach

BEST FOR: WINDY SUMMITS

If you’re hiking to summits above tree line, the North Face Apex Risor will keep you cozy despite the wind you’re bound to encounter. The jacket is made from a proprietary WindWall fabric which prevents external air permeation, and it is backed by a fleece liner for even more insulation. The fabric is also treated to be water resistant if a storm arises and you get caught in the rain.

The hand pockets of the Apex Risor are zippered for security, and instead of a chest pocket, the jacket has a small zippered pocket on the forearm, so you can keep small important items close at hand for easy access.

Marmot Gravity

Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb 5.8 oz
  • Hood: No
  • Thumbholes: No
Features
  • Lots of Zippered Pockets for Secure Storage
  • Fleece-Lined for Warmth
  • Collar is Lined with Moisture-Wicking Fabric

BEST FOR: EXTRA WARMTH

The Marmot Gravity is a fleece-lined softshell, making it a good choice if you run cold or spend some time not in motion, such as stopping for breaks on a hike or belaying during climbing. The front zipper has a full-length flap to keep air from seeping in, and an adjustable waist hem also helps with this.

The Marmot Gravity is designed with patented Angel-Wing Movement to give you extra mobility through the arms. However, the cut of the jacket tends to fit tight, especially across the shoulders, so you might want to size up, especially if you’re planning to wear other layers underneath.

Patagonia Adze

Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb 3.8 oz
  • Hood: No
  • Thumbholes: No
Features
  • Water Repellent for Protection from Rain & Snow
  • Fleece Layer Keeps You Warm
  • Microfleece-Lined Neck

BEST FOR: SHOULDER SEASON HIKES

The Patagonia Adze will extend your hiking season by keeping you warm in early spring and late fall conditions. The Adze is constructed with two-layer fabric to combine a cozy fleece with weather-resistant protection. The fabric is somewhat breathable, but it is definitely best suited for cooler conditions, and even is a good choice for light snow.

The cut of the Adze is quite roomy, which allows for lots of layers underneath, however it also is a bit boxy and might not be the most flattering, so you probably won’t want to wear it to any aprés activities.

Mammut Ultimate V

Specs
  • Weight: 9.9 oz
  • Hood: No
  • Thumbholes: Yes
Features
  • Moisture-Wicking Lining Keeps You Dry
  • Full Length Side Zippers for Ventilation
  • Extremely Windproof

BEST FOR: SWEATY ACTIVITIES

The Mammut Ultimate V is meant for those who are working up a sweat, so it’s a great go-to for challenging hikes and other strenuous adventures. The lining is moisture-wicking so sweat doesn’t make you clammy and uncomfortable, and there are full-length zippers on each side so you can adjust the ventilation as you’re on the go.

The Ultimate V is made from water repellent Gore Windstopper fabric, so when the wind gusts pick up, your temperature won’t drop. Thumbholes keep the sleeves in place when you need a little extra protection from the chill.

Columbia Heather Canyon

Specs
  • Weight: 15.2 oz
  • Hood: Yes
  • Thumbholes: No
Features
  • Binding on Hood and Cuffs to Keep Them in Place
  • Hem Drawcord for Adjustability
  • Zippered Hand Pockets

BEST FOR: PLUS SIZES

A thin softshell jacket, the Columbia Heather Canyon is made for when you need a little extra warmth and rain protection, but it’s not going to be a good option for more extreme alpine conditions. It does come in plus sizes, so it can fit a wider variety of body types than some standard softshells.

Binding at the hood and cuffs keeps out the cold, and the fabric is water repellent if you get caught in a sprinkle or a shower. The hand pockets are zippered to keep your stuff safe, and the hem features a drawcord so you can cinch it up to fit tight and keep cold air out.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING SOFTSHELL JACKETS FOR WOMEN

A softshell jacket is a versatile outer layer that keeps you warm and dry, while still being breathable and stretchy to give you freedom of movement. Most softshell jackets are made to repel water, though they are not going to stand up to extreme winter conditions where you really need a hardshell jacket. This article from Section Hiker explains the differences between a hardshell and a softshell jacket.

WARMTH

Although one of the main reasons to wear a softshell jacket is for warmth, you will be using the jacket while you’re active outdoors, so you want to make sure you don’t overheat. Some softshells have a fleece lining for extra warmth if you’re hiking in colder conditions, while others have a moisture-wicking lining to keep you comfortable and dry when you sweat. Choose a softshell jacket that has the right warmth level for the activities you do and the climate you do them in.

 

WATER PROTECTION

Pretty much all softshells are treated to be water repellent, but very few are actually waterproof. If you’re recreating in extremely wet conditions, a hardshell could be a better choice, though the Rab Kinetic Plus is an exception as a true waterproof softshell.

 

HOOD

Some softshells have hoods, which might be right for you if you want extra head protection without having to bring a hat. Hoods also offer more protection in the rain. However, they can get in the way and be a little bulky, so take into account the conditions you are usually in and think about whether a hood is necessary. Also, if you are a climber, you’ll either want a helmet-compatible hood or a softshell without a hood at all.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

WATER REPELLENT

Fabric is treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) so water doesn’t soak in. It is not fully waterproof.

WIND RESISTANT

Fabric that stops some of the wind from permeating but is still breathable.

HELMET-COMPATIBLE HOOD

A hood that is designed with room to fit over or under a helmet.

READ MORE

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

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