ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SOFTSHELL JACKETSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SOFTSHELL JACKETSSOFTSHELL JACKETS REVIEWSOUTDOOR RESEARCH FERROSI HOODIEARC’TERYX GAMMA MXARC’TERYX GAMMA LTMOUNTAIN HARDWEAR MEN’S FAIRINGTHE NORTH FACE APEX BIONIC 2PATAGONIA ADZE HYBRIDCOLUMBIA ASCENDERMARMOT GRAVITYHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SOFTSHELL JACKETLAYERINGWEATHER RESISTANCESTRETCH WOVEN OR MEMBRANEINSULATION Staying warm when you’re hiking is about smart layering. From your base layer to your outer layer, your clothing should work together. Every layer you wear has a purpose, and the best softshell jacket is a key component in keeping you warm. Softshell jackets are the most breathable outer layer option. These kinds of jackets are ideal for aerobic activity in cold weather. They will also prevent you from overheating as you hike. One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to help you when it comes time to gear up for the outdoors. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to choose a softshell jacket and show you our selection of the best models of the year. For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Tents | Hammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps Sleeping Bags | Sleeping Pads | Stoves Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | Poles| Watches Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SOFTSHELL JACKETS 1. OUTDOOR RESEARCH FERROSI VIEW AT REI 2. ARC’TERYX GAMMA MX VIEW AT REI 3. ARC’TERYX GAMMA LT VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY 4. MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR FAIRING VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY 5. THE NORTH FACE APEX BIONIC 2 VIEW AT REI 6. PATAGONIA ADZE HYBRID VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY 7. COLUMBIA ASCENDER VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY 8. MARMOT GRAVITY VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SOFTSHELL JACKETS PICTURESOFTSHELL JACKETBEST FOR WINDPROOFTYPEWEIGHTPRICERATING PICTURESOFTSHELL JACKETBEST FOR WINDPROOFTYPEWEIGHTPRICERATING Outdoor Research Ferrosi 2All-Around NoStretch Woven13.9 ounces$4.6 Arc'teryx Gamma MXAll-Around NoStretch Woven20.0 ounces$$$4 Arc'teryx Gamma LT All-Around NoStretch Woven15.7 ounces$$4 Mountain Hardwear Fairing WindproofYesStretch Woven20.8 ounces$4.5 The North Face Apex BionicWindproofYesStretch Woven24.0 ounces$4.5 Patagonia Adze Hybrid WindproofYesMembrane/Stretch Woven Hybrid20.0 ounces$$4.4 Columbia Ascender BudgetNoStretch Woven 22.4 ounces$4.6 Marmot GravityBudgetYesStretch Woven22.4 ounces$4.4 MULTI-DAYHIKING PACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free hiking packing list to prepare for your next adventure.Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time on the trail!UNLOCK THIS LIST* You will get weekly emails with practical hiking advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. 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SOFTSHELL JACKETS REVIEWS OUTDOOR RESEARCH FERROSI HOODIE Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hiking WOMEN’S VERSION: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoodie WINDPROOF: No TYPE: Stretch Woven WEIGHT: 13.9 ounces PROS: Wind-resistant, water-resistant, breathable, lightweight, adjustable hood, hand and chest pockets, pocket doubles as stuff sack, drawcord hem CONS: Not windproof, no hood, thin material ARC’TERYX GAMMA MX Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Multisport WOMEN’S VERSION: Arc’teryx Gamma MX TYPE: Stretch Woven WINDPROOF: No WEIGHT: 20 ounces PROS: Wind-resistant, water-resistant, breathable, hand pocket with mesh pocket bags, watertight zippers, drawcord hem CONS: Expensive, no hood, not windproof, not very warm ARC’TERYX GAMMA LT Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Multisport WOMEN’S VERSION: Arc’teryx Gamma LT WINDPROOF: No TYPE: Stretch Woven WEIGHT: 15.7 ounces PROS: Water-resistant, wind-resistant, lightweight, drawcord hem, hand pockets CONS: Expensive, not windproof, no hood MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR MEN’S FAIRING Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Hiking WOMEN’S VERSION: Mountain Hardwear Finder WINDPROOF: Yes TYPE: Stretch Woven WEIGHT: 20.8 ounces PROS: Water-resistant, hand and chest pockets, mock style collar, interior lining CONS: No hood, not breathable, sleeves run long THE NORTH FACE APEX BIONIC 2 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Multisport WOMEN’S VERSION: The North Face Apex Bionic 2 WINDPROOF: Yes TYPE: Stretch Woven WEIGHT: 24 ounces PROS: Water-resistant, breathable, fleece backer, chest and hand pocket zips, drawcord hem CONS: No hood, material is stiff, restricts movement PATAGONIA ADZE HYBRID Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Multisport WOMEN’S VERSION: Patagonia Adze Hybrid WINDPROOF: Yes TYPE: Membrane/Stretch Woven Hybrid WEIGHT: 20 ounces PROS: Water-resistant, breathable, fleece backer, fleece-lined, soft-lined hand and chest pockets, drawcord hem CONS: Zipper tends to get stuck, no hood, no cuff cinches, thin material COLUMBIA ASCENDER Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Hiking WOMEN’S VERSION: Columbia Kruser Ridge WINDPROOF: No TYPE: Stretch Woven WEIGHT: 22.4 ounces PROS: Inexpensive, wind-resistant, water-resistant, breathable, hand and chest pockets, adjustable cuffs CONS: Not windproof, no hood, runs large MARMOT GRAVITY Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Multisport WOMEN’S VERSION: Marmot Gravity WINDPROOF: Yes TYPE: Stretch Woven WEIGHT: 22.4 ounces PROS: Inexpensive, water-resistant, fleece lining, adjustable cuffs, hand, sleeve, and internal pockets, thumbholes, drawcord hem CONS: No hood, runs small LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTUREJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSEJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSE HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SOFTSHELL JACKET LAYERING Your softshell jacket is intended to be worn over other layers. When you’re at the store, try the jacket on over a base and mid-layer. Check that your movement isn’t restricted. The ideal softshell jacket should be roomy enough to accommodate extra layers comfortably. Softshells are designed to breathe while you’re on the move. Unfortunately, this can leave you cold when you stop to rest. In winter weather, you’ll need to pair your jacket with an insulated layer when you take a break. Try out this combination in advance to confirm that you’ll be warm enough during your rest stops. Looking for more tips on how to layer? Our guide on how to layer clothes for the outdoors can help you dress right for your cold-weather hikes. WEATHER RESISTANCE Unlike rain jackets, most softshell jackets are water and wind-resistant. Not being fully weatherproof is the trade-off for superior breathability. Some newer models of softshell jackets have greater defenses against wind and rain. If you need more protection from the weather, then look for a jacket with these features. STRETCH WOVEN OR MEMBRANE There are two types of softshell jackets: Stretch woven or membrane. What’s the difference? Stretch woven jackets tend to be the most breathable and lightweight softshell jackets. However, they are less weather resistant. They usually come coated with a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment. Over time, DWR treatment will wear off and need to be reapplied. Membrane lined jackets have a membrane laminated inside the two layers of fabric. This membrane offers water and wind resistance but also reduces breathability. This type of softshell jacket tends to be less effective at wicking away water. INSULATION Some of the softshell jackets recommended in this guide have a fleece lining. This insulated lining makes these jackets warmer. If you hike in cold weather, this might be a good choice for you. If you plan to hike in warmer temperatures, you may want to opt for a non-insulated softshell jacket. Remember, you can always pair your jacket with a few removable base and mid layers. HIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSHIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 5. HIKING TRAILS 2. HIKING GEAR 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 3. HIKING CLOTHING 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 4. CAMPING 8. WOMEN'S HIKING 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. HIKING GEAR 3. HIKING CLOTHING 4. CAMPING 5. HIKING TRAILS 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 8. WOMEN'S HIKING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.