Soft shell is such a broad category that choosing just one really depends on your definition and expected use of the jacket. For me, a soft shell is a garment that is more wind- and water-resistant than a fleece and also more durable, which allows it to be worn on the hill whenever you can get by without your waterproof shell. To that end the Touring Hoodie fits the bill. Wear this in anything but heavy rain and it will be ideal. The weight of just 480g means you won’t mind too much if it sits in your rucksack part of the day. Put it on, and you have a cut that offers good protection and a little warmth, while the hood keeps the wind off your head and traps warmth without you having to don your waterproof so regularly. The fabric keeps the worst of the rain out too, so you can wear this in misty drizzle without getting soaked. Most importantly, it is still very breathable – so you can throw a waterproof over the top if you need to. The four-way stretch fabric makes this perfect for scrambling, which is when a soft shell is really worth having. The pair of large chest pockets are just the job for maps and compass too. But this won’t be everyone’s ideal soft shell. It has a high price tag, which is difficult to justify when comparable jackets are under £100. Furthermore some will not want a hood as a matter of personal preference rather than for practical reasons. Other soft shell garments are lighter, while some are a bit warmer, more waterproof and more durable. Also, there is no women’s fit .So mountaineers may want something tougher without a hood while some walkers will prefer a warmer, more breathable option.
Material: Polartec Powershield Light and Stretch
Weight: 480g (L)
Made in Tunisia
Stores in UK: 40
Verdict: Buy it if you want a superb all-round soft shell jacket that is ideal for most mountain activity – particularly hill-walking, backpacking and scrambling.