A good soft shell jacket is an important piece of gear to have in your closet. Many people ignore soft shell jackets because they’re not especially good for any one thing. But that is precisely the strength of a good men’s or women’s soft shell jacket. A soft shell jacket isn’t excellent at any one thing, but it’s good at a whole bunch of things. The best soft shell jacket will keep you dry in wet conditions, warm when it’s windy, and will breath when you get sweaty.
Women’s Soft Shell JacketWhat to try and find when buying a new women's soft shell jacket.
- Hood – A hood is by no means a necessary feature to have on a soft shell jacket, but it can be a really useful feature to have. The most important thing a hood will do for you is come in handy when things get really cold, and just a jacket is not going to cut it.
- Water Resistant – It’s not a soft shell jacket’s job to keep you completely dry with any kind of waterproofing, but many soft shell jackets are at least water resistant, so that you stay reasonably dry through a few showers or flurries, provided they don’t last too long.
Best Women’s Soft Shell JacketSome of the very best women's soft shell jackets, with a range of features.
- Arc'teryx Hyllus Hoodie Jacket - This is far from the cheapest soft shell jacket out there, but it does what it does very well. It won the 2008 Outside Magazine Gear of the Year award, and with good reason. It's insulated, for one, to provide a good amount of warmth. It's also water resistant, and comes with two raised hand pockets, for easy access while wearing a backpack hip belt, as well as a convenient arm pocket for a few small essentials. The feature list is rounded out with a well built hood to add a bit of warmth when things get really cold. If you would prefer an insulated soft shell jacket, this is a great choice.
- The North Face Apex Bionic Soft Shell Jacket - If you just want a basic soft shell jacket then the Apex Bionic is it. There's no hood, and just the standard 2 hand zip pockets with 1 zippered chest pocket. It's not particularly thick, but will keep you warm and insulated from wind chill. The water resistant exterior will also keep you protected from a bit of moisture. A solid choice for a good all around soft shell jacket.
- Rab Aurora Pull-On Jacket - One the more technical side of thing is something like the Aurora. It won the 2011 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, and with good reason. It's not water resistant, in fact it has a UPF rating of 50, for protection from the sun on those cold, clear days. The hood fits close, and would go well under a helmet. The fabric is thin and lightweight, and definitely breathable, though it retains a little wind protection as well. So a great choice for those cold, sunny days. The price is also very low too, much better than either of the other two jackets above.