Looking for a soft yet durable jacket that bridges the gap between a fleece and a waterproof jacket? Then a soft shell jacket is the one for you! More weather-resistant than fleece, yet not as restrictive as some "hard shell" jackets, these jackets are ideal for active people and can be worn as an outer layer over T-shirts and tops, or as an inner layer under waterproofs for extra warmth in extreme conditions. Most soft shell jackets are rain resistant rather than fully waterproof, lightweight and made from stretch material, ideal for moderate climates and a range of outdoor activities
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The Best Jackets For Outdoor Weather Protection
Jackets are available in a variety of materials, enabling you to choose the best jacket for the weather conditions you will be facing in the great outdoors. There are also different types of jackets, each meant for a specific kind of use. Are you currently looking for a jacket, but not quite sure which one will be best for the environment you will be facing? Check out our useful guide to outdoor jackets below.
What Is A Softshell Jacket?
Softshell jackets are popular with winter sports lovers, as these kinds of jackets are quite warm and have some degree of water-resistance. That being said, these jackets are not completely waterproof.
One of the added benefits of the softshell jacket is that it provides a combination of warmth and water resistance. On top of that, it also has some added resistance against wind. Therefore, the softshell jacket is certainly suitable for colder conditions.
What Is A Hard-Shell Jacket?
Contrary to the softshell jacket, the hard-shell jacket is completely waterproof. To provide such qualities, these kinds of jackets are usually made from materials such as PVC and Gore-Tex.
A hard-shell jacket is not as warm as a softshell jacket, so if you do choose this type of jacket, do not forget to layer some clothing underneath. If layering is missing, the jacket will make you a little colder than you want to be. If warmth is more important than the waterproof qualities of the hard-shell jacket, then a softshell jacket might be better for you.
What Is A Rain Jacket?
The rain jacket usually falls under the category of hard-shell jacket. While they do not provide lots of warmth, they provide the best protection against water and moisture. Therefore, a rain jacket is most suitable for a rainy environment.
Once again, various materials can be used to create a rain jacket, this includes some of the fabrics we have mentioned underneath the hard-shell jacket section. Another popular material for rain jackets includes a coated nylon, which provides strength and durability.
What Is A Wind Jacket?
Cold and warm temperatures are not the only things you will encounter when you spend some time in the great outdoors. In fact, wind is another one of the elements you will have to face. As such, the wind jacket could be another addition to your outdoor kit.
The wind jacket can be compared to the softshell jacket, as it shares some similarities. Like the softshell jacket, it provides added protection against the wind. However, the wind jacket does not way as much as the softshell jacket and is relatively thinner. The material used to create wind jackets tends to be lightweight, but less breathable compared to the material used in softshell jackets.
What Is A Fleece Jacket?
Fleece jackets are quite popular as casual attire, mainly because this kind of jackets provides a lot of warmth. While it does have the downside of not providing major protection against rain or snow, it does provide more warmth in cold temperatures.
If you will encounter cold weather with lots of wind, it is recommended to use a wind jacket in combination with a fleece jacket. Fleece does not provide the same protection against the wind, so an extra wind jacket will be required. If you do use this combination, always consider that it will be less breathable than a softshell jacket.
What Is An Insulated Jacket?
An insulated jacket is usually made with an inner lining, this to provide the wearer with more warmth. Insulated jackets do have limited water resistance, this must be taken into consideration if you will encounter wet environments.
Despite its limited water resistance, insulated jackets are considerably lighter than other jackets that are known to provide warmth, this includes fleece. They also tend to be on par with softshell jackets in terms of breathability.
Which Jacket Is The Right Choice For Me?
Choosing a jacket often comes down to evaluating the environment you will encounter. For example, if you go hiking in the middle of summer, you will need a jacket that can provide some rain protection but does not provide too much warmth. In the- winter, you would need a jacket that provides extra warmth as well as water resistance.