Soft­shells tested

Ex­pert ad­vice on the kit that makes a dif­fer­ence

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Contents -

The hard­est gar­ment to de­fine yet one that’s des­tined to be a firm favourite – your go-to do-it-all layer.

OVER THE YEARS, we’ve de­ployed con­sid­er­able col­umn inches try­ing to trans­late the weird jargon of the ‘soft shell’ into some­thing that makes sense to a hu­man be­ing. We’ve de­fined it lit­er­ally: a soft shell is not a hard shell (i.e, not a fully wa­ter­proof, lam­i­nate jacket with mem­brane). Tech­ni­cally: it’s a hy­brid of polyamide and elas­tane that gives you warmth, stretch­i­ness, breatha­bil­ity and a cer­tain de­gree of rain pro­tec­tion, in a wide range of con­di­tions. Prac­ti­cally: it’s the jacket you can wear com­fort­ably in Jan­uary and July, to the pub, to work, and to a Lake Dis­trict sum­mit. Flip­pantly: it’s “that nice jacket” you keep ready by the door, ready for any­thing. All th­ese are ac­cu­rate, but they still don’t quite sum up the clev­er­ness and joy of a hard-work­ing soft shell. They are just as­ton­ish­ingly adapt­able, and that makes them hard to sum up neatly. More adapt­able than fleece, more pack­able than an in­su­la­tor, less sweaty than a wa­ter­proof, they are the jacket that de­fines the ‘ev­ery­thing in be­tween’ of the out­door wardrobe. So per­haps the best we can say is, as­sum­ing that at least one of the above def­i­ni­tions has worked for you, then read on. Be­cause there’s one in here that’s wait­ing to make a huge dif­fer­ence to what you wear when you go walk­ing. About our re­views We’ve cho­sen ten jack­ets which should be avail­able in stores and on­line as this is­sue goes on sale. Nick and Rachel tested five each, most of which are avail­able in men’s and women’s ver­sions (de­noted by th­ese dots ). We rate each jacket on com­fort (how it fits and feels), ver­sa­til­ity (how adapt­able it is), fea­tures and value for money. We don’t pick an over­all win­ner as no sin­gle op­tion will suit ev­ery walker, but Nick and Rachel have cho­sen their per­sonal favourites and picked one jacket that of­fers the best value for money.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.