Women's Softshell - Technical Underwear

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The women's softshell jacket is relatively unknown to the general public, yet it has tended to replace membranes in many cases in recent years.

What is a women's softshell jacket?

Softshell (soft protection) is by nature opposed to hardshell (hard protection). Softshell is, softer to the touch and above all more flexible and stretchy than waterproof jackets (hardshell).
The difference between a softshell and a waterproof jacket is that the softshell is stretchy. It does not have a waterproof membrane. Of course to make things more complicated the brands offer jackets with semi-waterproof membranes such as the windstopper but the jacket built with this type of membrane cannot be mentioned as a raincoat because the seams are not watertight.

The women's softshell jacketis a fabric with tight fibres that has undergone a chemical treatment that makes it water-repellent. The softshell is resistant to light rain but especially to wind and snow, while being much more breathable than a membrane fabric. In fact, in the mountains, in 95% of cases a softshell is more suitable than a membrane. Contrary to a Windstopper jacket, on a softshell it is the weave of the fabric that provides the windproof effect.

Ideal for ski touring, Karpos softshell jackets for women offers breathability and comfort on the way up and perfect protection on the way down.

In short, the women's softshell jacket offers breathability and windproofness while the hardshell jacket offers waterproofing.

The softshell becomes an essential for an intense activity in the mountains where rain protection is not a priority.

Understanding the rain protection of a women's softshell jacket

With an external material water-repellent windbreaker and a lined interior (sometimes polar fleece), the Softshell jacket for women guarantees you a pleasant temperature in cool or cold weather during your activities. They also offer a ride style like the Protest softshells.

It is important to note that a Softshell is not a waterproof jacket, far from it. If its characteristics water repellents allow him to to withstand light showers, However, you will not be protected if your exposure is particularly long or if the rainfall is too heavy. On the other hand, if the jacket Softshell is not designed to protect you from the vagaries of the weather like a Hardshell, but it is extremely breathable.

The Softshell is a jacket made of a tightly woven fabric and chemically treated to make it water-repellent. This technology is called DWR (durable water repellent). Thanks to this chemical treatment, a Softshell jacket can withstand non-violent rain for more than 30 minutes. Water does not penetrate and slides down the mesh. Be careful, however, in case of heavy rain, the Softshell does not protect you. Moreover, once soaked, the fabric will take quite a long time to dry because of its tight fibres. Indeed, if this fabric is designed not to let water in, once soaked, it is also difficult to extract this water. All in all, it makes sense...

Details not to be overlooked on a softshell jacket:

  • Tightening around the waist: essential to ensure optimal insulation. No more fresh wind in the back.
  • Tightening at the wrist: essential especially in winter. You loosen, put on your gloves and tighten. Insulation guaranteed.
  • Be careful not to take a jacket with a zipper that is difficult to grasp. The zipper is often extended by a piece of string for a better grip (especially with gloves) -
  • Chin protection: to avoid irritating your chin on the zipper, it must be protected by a soft material.
  • Protective "grips" on the back: stabilize your backpack and prevent the jacket from wearing out at shoulder level. Some manufacturers offer them.
  • The hood : essential when there is a small fresh wind or a small shower > protection of the head but also of the neck, very sensitive to temperature variations.

Find all these details on the ultra-technical Rab softshells for example!

The pluses and minuses of a women's softshell jacket

Advantages of softshell jackets :

  • Light, comfortable,
  • Handy in movements (stretch fabric)
  • Saves space in the bag compared to the duo "fleece + hardshell jacket".
  • Will have an impermeable effect in light and intermittent rain.
  • The low price (between 100 and 200€ compared to 300 to 700€ for Hardshell mountain jackets)

Disadvantages of softshell jackets:

  • Cannot withstand heavy rain. Waterproof qualities are often limited in time (30 minutes).
  • Much cooler than the "fleece + hardshell jacket" duo.
  • Much less windproof than a hardshell jacket.

Our tips for using the women's softshell jacket

The sofhtshell jacket is ideal for high altitude treks with dry weather or occasional light rain.

  • Day hiking spring / summer / autumn.
  • Trek in altitude with dry weather or occasional light rain.
  • Spring ski touring with good weather conditions.

So think about equipping yourself with technical underwear to stay dry no matter what you do!

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