Have you ever walked up a trail in the rain and wind? Working hard, you have your fancy waterproof jacket on to keep you dry, but it just seems like you are in a boil-in-the-bag meal, getting wetter from sweat than if you just walked in a t-shirt. This is exactly where a soft shell jacket fits in.
Often misunderstood, softshells offer varying levels of waterproofing and windproofing but always exceptional levels of breathability.
This spring, summer and fall I have rarely left home without my Marmot Vapor Trail Hooded softshell jacket. I have used it skiing, alpine ice climbing and alpine rock climbing. Using Marmot’s M2 fabric, this jacket is a perfect balance of weather protection and weight. This is one of the few softshells that I have been able to wear in summer for climbing thanks to the low bulk and weight. It has a great helmet compatible hood and I love the really simple elasticated wrist cuffs, no flappy velcro closure. The only thing I might change is the position of the pockets which were difficult to use with a harness on. That said, this is one of the best softshell jackets I have ever used.