Investing in a quality hiking softshell jacket is essential for any hiker. But with so many different clothing materials, styles and features, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. In this blog, we'll break down everything you need to know when choosing the perfect hiking softshell jacket. From material and breathability to weather resistance and weight, we've got you covered. We'll also explore the different features and functionalities that make a great hiking softshell jacket. By the end of this hiker's guide, you'll be ready to pick the perfect hiking softshell jacket for your next outdoor adventure.
A hiking softshell jacket is a specialized type of jacket that is designed to provide protection and comfort for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Softshell jackets are made from a blend of materials that include polyester, nylon, spandex, and other synthetic fibers. They are designed to be lightweight, durable, breathable, and flexible, providing a full range of motion for the wearer. These jackets are also typically water-resistant and windproof, which makes them ideal to wear in a range of different outdoor environments.
Hiking softshell jackets are generally worn as outer layers over other layers of clothing, and they offer excellent insulation and protection from the elements while still allowing for freedom of movement. They are perfect for hikers who want to stay comfortable and protected while exploring the great outdoors.
A softshell and hardshell hiking jacket serve different purposes on the trail. Softshell jackets are made of breathable and stretchy materials, making them comfortable to wear during high-intensity activities. They are typically water-resistant and windproof, but not fully waterproof.
On the other hand, hardshell jackets are made of waterproof materials such as GORE-TEX and are designed to keep wearers fully dry in wet environments. They are often less breathable than softshell jackets but provide better protection against the elements. Unlike softshell jackets, they are not as flexible and can restrict movement during physical activities. Ultimately, the choice between a softshell or hardshell jacket depends on the conditions of the hike and the level of protection required by the wearer.
A softshell jacket is a versatile piece of hiking gear that can be worn in a variety of situations. It is a good choice for hiking in moderate weather conditions where there is a chance of rain or a bit of wind, as it is water-resistant and windproof while also breathable, allowing sweat to evaporate and keep the wearer comfortable.
It can also be worn when hiking in colder weather to provide insulation and warmth, although it may not be suitable for extreme winter hiking. Additionally, a softshell jacket can be worn during other outdoor activities such as mountain biking or camping, or even as a casual everyday jacket. Ultimately, it is important to consider the weather and activity when deciding whether to wear a softshell hiking jacket.
Here are several situations where you may want to wear a softshell hiking jacket:
If you're looking for a versatile and comfortable jacket for hiking and other outdoor activities, a softshell jacket is a great option.
Softshell hiking jackets can be layered with other clothing to provide many levels of warmth and protection from the elements. Layering underneath your hiking jacket is an essential consideration, especially in areas where the weather can change quickly and unpredictably. Here are some layering tips for your next hike:
By layering your clothing, you can create a system that will keep you comfortable and warm in a variety of weather conditions.
Here are some additional tips for layering with a softshell hiking jacket:
Following these tips will help you choose the right fabrics and layers to create a system that will ensure your warmth and comfort during your next hike.
When it comes to outdoor activities like hiking or mountain biking, having the right gear can make all the difference. One essential piece of clothing you shouldn't overlook is a high-quality softshell jacket. In this section, we'll explore some of the most important aspects to consider when choosing the best hiking softshell jacket, as well as some key features to look for.
The material of your softshell jacket directly affects its breathability, which is a crucial consideration because it influences your comfort during a hike. Softshell jackets are typically made of woven polyester or nylon and incorporate a laminate or membrane to provide water resistance, with a PFC-free Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Look for a jacket with a good balance between water resistance and breathability to keep you comfortable in various weather conditions. Remember that higher breathability might mean less weather resistance, so consider your specific needs and the conditions you'll encounter while hiking.
An ideal hiking softshell jacket should be able to withstand a range of weather conditions, from strong winds to light rain. While many softshell jackets have a PFC-free DWR treatment on their outer surface, it's essential to remember that these jackets are not fully waterproof. That said, they can still provide adequate protection in light rain, snow and wind.
It's worth noting that the DWR finish may wear off over time, but they can be re-applied using commercially available products. A jacket's resistance to weather conditions might also be enhanced by features like sealed seams, storm flaps over zippers and adjustable hems and cuffs to help keep out wind and precipitation.
When hiking, it's crucial to keep your load as light as possible. Look for a softshell jacket that is lightweight and compresses easily to save space in your backpack. Generally, lighter jackets offer less insulation, while more insulated options could be a bit heavier, so think about your specific temperature requirements and the conditions you'll face on your hikes.
Some jackets may include a built-in stuff sack or an ability to pack into their pocket, making them even more packable. Remember that the lighter and more compressible a jacket is, the less durable it may be, so be prepared to make trade-offs depending on your hiking preferences.
Beyond the vital aspects outlined above, a range of features can enhance the versatility, comfort and overall performance of a hiking softshell jacket. Let's dive into some of the most desirable features to look for.
An appropriate fit is crucial for ensuring comfort and freedom of movement while hiking. Look for a jacket with an adjustable hem and cuffs, as they can be tightened to trap heat or loosened to improve ventilation. Some jackets may also offer articulated or pre-curved sleeves for increased mobility.
When trying on a softshell jacket, be sure to wear the layers you're likely to have on during a hike to get the most accurate fit. Consider sizing up if you plan on wearing a bulky mid-layer underneath, and make sure the jacket doesn't restrict your movement, particularly around the shoulders and arms.
A hood can provide essential protection from wind, rain and snow during a hike. Some hikers prefer jackets with adjustable and helmet-compatible hoods, while others might want a detachable hood for added versatility. Whatever your preference, ensure the hood fits well and can be adjusted to provide unobstructed vision and protection.
Pockets are an essential feature on any outdoor jacket, as they provide secure storage for essentials like your phone, keys and snacks. When choosing a softshell jacket, opt for one with zippered pockets to keep your belongings safe. Additional features like interior pockets or a dedicated pocket for headphones can also prove useful on the trail.
Softshell jackets can offer a wide range of additional features to improve your hiking experience. For example, some jackets have underarm vents or breathable panels on the back and sides to provide better ventilation during intense activity. Others may include lightweight insulation, such as fleece or light synthetic fill, for added warmth in colder conditions.
It's crucial to assess the various features and functionalities of hiking softshell jackets and select the combination that best suits your needs and preferences. After all, a well-equipped softshell jacket can make your outdoor adventures much more enjoyable and comfortable.
Durability is a key factor to consider when choosing a softshell jacket for hiking. You want a jacket that can withstand the wear and tear of outdoor activities while maintaining its performance and appearance over time. Look for materials like ripstop nylon or polyester, which offer enhanced durability and resistance to abrasions and tears.
Also, it's essential to check for reinforced areas, especially around the shoulders and elbows, as these are prone to abrasions when carrying a backpack or navigating rough terrain.
Your softshell jacket will need regular cleaning and care to maintain its performance and longevity. Ensure you follow the manufacturer's care instructions to avoid damaging the fabric or compromising the jacket's performance.
Softshell jackets that feature a DWR finish that may require regular reapplication. Be prepared to invest in the necessary products and apply them as needed to keep your jacket in top shape.
When investing in a hiking softshell jacket, it is important to consider the brand's reputation and the warranty provided. A reputable brand will offer higher-quality products, commitment to customer satisfaction and comprehensive warranties. Check for reviews from other customers to gauge the brand's reliability and overall performance.
In addition, ensure you understand the terms and conditions of the warranty offered. A longer warranty period often signals that the product is well-crafted and will stand up to the test of time.
Selecting the ideal softshell jacket for your hiking adventures depends on a variety of factors including your budget, preferences and specific requirements. Weighing durability, ease of maintenance and responsibly-sourced options will help you find the perfect fit for your needs.
Always do your research, read customer reviews and explore different models to make a well-informed decision. By investing in a high-quality hiking softshell jacket, you'll be prepared for many adventures, no matter what weather conditions come your way.
At Stio, we make outdoor apparel for people who love to explore. Our Sidecut Tech Hoodie is a great option for hikers who are looking for a versatile and comfortable jacket. The hoodie is made from a soft, stretchy fabric that is both breathable and water-resistant. It also has a relaxed fit that allows for freedom of movement.
The Sidecut Tech Hoodie has a number of features that make it ideal for hiking:
The Sidecut Tech Hoodie is a great choice for hikers who are looking for a versatile, comfortable and stylish jacket. It is available in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can find the perfect one for you.
Stio is focused on producing high-quality and functional clothing for outdoor adventures. Our apparel is designed to meet the demands of any weather condition or terrain, ensuring that hikers can focus on the journey ahead without being distracted by uncomfortable or inadequate clothing.
Outdoor enthusiasts can trust that our products are reliable and designed and built to last. Additionally, we are committed to sustainability, using responsibly sourced materials and processes to create our products and minimize our impact on the planet. Our dedication to producing top-notch outdoor apparel and commitment to sustainability makes us an excellent choice for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts alike.
When it comes to choosing the right clothing for your outdoor adventures, selecting a proper hiking softshell jacket is essential to ensure optimal comfort and versatility. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers to help you make an informed decision about purchasing a hiking softshell jacket for your next adventure.
A softshell jacket is a type of outerwear designed for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and climbing. It combines a breathable, water-resistant and windproof fabric with a comfortable and flexible fit. Unlike hardshells, which are built for harsh and extreme weather conditions, softshell jackets are more versatile and provide better freedom of movement - making them suitable for various outdoor activities in milder weather conditions.
Softshell jackets are typically made from a blend of polyester and elastane, which combines the durability and moisture-wicking properties of polyester with the freedom of movement provided by the stretch of elastane. Some jackets may also incorporate other materials like nylon or fleece for added insulation and durability.
Hiking softshell jackets are ideal for wearing in mild to cool weather conditions, especially for high-intensity, high sweat activities, such as hiking or climbing. Softshells are perfect for days when there's a light drizzle, moderate wind, or when layering is necessary for warmth and comfort.
Some advantages of wearing a hiking softshell jacket include:
When selecting a hiking softshell jacket, consider the following features:
To improve the longevity of your softshell jacket and maintain its performance capabilities, follow these care tips:
Here are some expert tips to maximize the benefits of your hiking softshell jacket: