This top sits at the softer end of the soft shell category. The fabric is Polartec Thermal Pro with a slightly denser and harder-wearing face treatment, which also makes it a little more water-resistant than conventional fleece. The result is a garment that is exceptionally breathable and a little lighter than some other options. The fabric is also more stretchy than most and warmer, too, making it feel very comfortable. There are three chest pockets, all of which are large enough for maps and easily accessible while wearing rucksack belts. In addition you get stretch panels under the arms for a little extra freedom of movement, a low tail and adjustable cuffs. Use this for hill-walking and scrambling, and it is ideal. The price is far more attractive than other soft shells too. But you’ll need to put on a windproof or a waterproof far sooner while wearing this in foul weather compared to other options, and it does not feel as durable as other soft shells either. Is it a soft shell or just a fleece jacket with a slightly harder-wearing face treatment? There is no hood either.
Materials Polartec Thermal Pro with Hardface Technology
Weight 585g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 100Verdict
A superb piece of kit that pushes the definition of the soft shell genre, but is ideal for hill-walking and backpacking if you don’t need more water and wind protection.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine September 2008