What is the purpose of a soft shell jacket?
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It’s no surprise that the modern outdoor enthusiast has a seemingly endless array of apparel choices. From wool to down, lightweight synthetics to waterproofed hardshells, the options can be overwhelming. One of the most popular choices for outdoor apparel is the softshell jacket. Softshell jackets are incredibly versatile, lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for a range of outdoor activities. But what exactly is a softshell jacket and what is its purpose?
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Softshell jackets are constructed from a stretchy, breathable material that is both wind and water resistant. The fabric typically consists of a three-layer construction with an inner liner, an outer membrane and a middle layer of insulation. Softshell jackets are designed to be lightweight and flexible, allowing for a wide range of motion while still providing the wearer with adequate protection from the elements. The fabric is usually treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish to help keep the wearer dry in wet conditions.
Softshell jackets provide a number of benefits over traditional hardshell jackets. The main advantage of a softshell jacket is that it is much more breathable than a hardshell. The fabric is designed to be breathable, allowing moisture and body heat to escape while still providing protection from the elements. This helps to keep the wearer comfortable and dry, even during strenuous activities. The breathability of a softshell jacket also makes it a great choice for warmer climates, as it allows the wearer to stay cool.
In addition to being more breathable than hardshells, softshell jackets are also more flexible and comfortable. The fabric is designed to be lightweight and stretchy, allowing for a wide range of motion without restricting movement. This makes them ideal for activities such as hiking, running and climbing, where mobility is key. The fabric also feels softer against the skin, providing a more comfortable fit.
Finally, softshell jackets are usually less expensive than hardshells, making them a great option for those on a budget. Although they may not provide the same level of waterproof protection as a hardshell, they can still provide adequate protection from the elements in most situations.
Overall, the purpose of a softshell jacket is to provide lightweight, breathable, flexible and comfortable protection from the elements. They are ideal for a range of activities and climates, making them a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Whether you’re embarking on a multi-day backpacking trip or just heading out for a day hike, softshell jackets can provide you with the protection you need.