Softshell Jacket for Men

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The men's softshell jacket is not well known by the general public, yet it has tended to replace membranes for some years in many cases.

What is a softshell jacket for men?

Softshell (soft protection) is opposed by nature to hardshell (hard protection), Softshell is, softer to the touch and especially more flexible and more 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. Obviously to make things more complicated brands offer jackets with semi-waterproof membranes like windstopper but the jacket built with this type of membrane cannot be mentioned as waterproof because the seams are not sealed.

The softshell jacket for men is a fabric with tightly woven fibres that has undergone a chemical treatment that makes it water repellent. The softshell resists to small rains 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. Unlike 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 men offers you breathability and comfort on the way up and perfect protection on the way down.

In short, with a softshell jacket for men you get breathability and windproofness, while with a hardshell you get waterproofness.

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 softshell jacket for men

With a water-repellent windproof outer fabric and a lined interior (sometimes fleece), the men's softshell jacket guarantees a pleasant temperature in cool or cold weather during your activities. They also have a mountain style as Lafuma street look softshells.

It is important to note that a softshell is not a waterproof jacket, far from it. Although its water-repellent properties allow it to withstand small showers, you will not be protected if your exposure is particularly long or if it rains too hard. On the other hand, while the Softshell jacket is not designed to protect you from the vagaries of the weather like a Hardshell, it is extremely breathable.

Softshell isa jacket made from a tightly woven fabric that has been 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 a light rain for more than 30 minutes. The water does not penetrate and slides down the mesh. Be careful, however, in the event of a heavy downpour, the Softshell will not protect you. Moreover, once soaked, the fabric will take a long time to dry because of its tightly woven fibres. Indeed, if this fabric is designed not to let water in, once soaked, it is also difficult to extract this water. Logical in short...

Details not to be neglected on a softshell jacket:

  • The tightening around the waist: essential to ensure optimal insulation. No more cool wind in the back.
  • The tightening wrist: essential especially in winter. You loosen, you put on your gloves and you tighten. Insulation guaranteed.
  • Be careful not to take a jacket with a zipper that is difficult to grasp. The zip is often extended by a piece of cord 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
  • The "grips" of protections on the back: stabilize your backpack and allow to avoid the pronounced wear of the jacket at the level of the shoulders. Some manufacturers offer them.
  • The hood: essential when there is a cool breeze or a small shower > protection of the head but also the neck, very sensitive to temperature variations.

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

The pluses and minuses of a softshell jacket for men

Advantages of softshell jackets :

  • Lightweight, comfortable,
  • Easy to handle (stretch fabric)
  • Saves space in the bag compared to the "fleece + hardshell jacket" duo
  • Will have a waterproof effect during a light and intermittent rain.
  • The low price (between 100 and 200€ against 300 to 700€ for the Hardshell mountain jacket)

Disadvantages of softshell jackets:

  • Do not resist to heavy rains. Waterproof qualities are often limited in time (30 minutes)
  • Much less warm than the "fleece + hardshell jacket" duo
  • Windproofing effect much less effective than a hardshell jacket

Our advice for the use of the softshell jacket for men

The sofhtshell jacket is ideal for trekking at altitude in dry weather or with occasional light rain.

  • Day hikes in spring/summer/fall.
  • High altitude trekking with dry weather or occasional light rain.
  • Spring ski touring with good weather conditions

So remember to equip yourself with technical underwear to stay dry whatever your activity is!

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