This provides a different kind of soft shell experience from some other jackets, but it is quite suitable if you want something beyond what a normal fleece can offer. It is made from a fabric that is more wind- and water-resistant than a conventional fleece and it also feels far more durable. Under the arms you get more conventional stretch fleece fabric for greater breathability too. Generally this feels quite warm , which in part is reflected in its higher weight. It is very slightly more breathable than some other soft shells as well, which is an advantage as it prevents overheating and allows it to be worn under a waterproof jacket without affecting the condensation control too badly. You get two large chest pockets that easily take a map, but better still you get an extra pair of map-sized chest pockets, and all these can easily be accessed while wearing a rucksack hipbelt. The body has a long cut with a scooped tail – which is ideal for most activity. Adjustable cuffs, hem drawcords and collar drawcords complete a very practical jacket. All that for just £90 is superb value and hard to improve on. But you do not get a hood, something that I think would be very useful in the windy, drizzly weather for which soft shells are designed. Similarly some soft shells are more wind- and water-resistant. This is a little heavier than some comparable tops too. As with the winning Montane shell, it does not come in a women’s fit.
Material: Freeflow soft shell, DryActiv Stretch
Weight: 568g (L)
Made in China
Stores in UK: England 60, Wales 15, Scotland 25, Ireland 5
Verdict: Buy it if you want soft shell with superb pockets and no hood, as this is by far the best option and ideal for just about any mountain activity.