How does softshell fit into your winter wardrobe?
As the windy, cold and wintery weather is upon us (with the odd bit of sunshine), it's definitely time to scout out your ideal softshell.
A quick view on Softshell and Hard Shell...
A softshell fabric is normally a more breathable ‘stretchier’ fabric than a Hard shell product, which is normally know as a waterproof jacket..but there are areas that blur the lines of definition such as Polartec Neoshell.
Generally a good softshell will keep out rain for a while, but a hard shell will always keep the rain out. A softshell is stretchy, making it great for sports such as climbing, where as hard shell's movement is often limited due to the waterproof membrane that it contains.
A softshell despite its name can be made out of some pretty gnarly material. You can save some pennies on the quality of the hard shell you use, or carry a lighter hard shell in mixed weather due to the weather resistance of the softshell which keeps you fresher for longer.
A softshell product is normally very weather resistant in
regards to wind, rain and snow. It is also often made of a Nylon and Polyester mix fabric. I have found Softshell is perfect for British weather with a lighter waterproof for when it gets properly wet. I personally own 5 different softshell Jackets and 3 different types of softshell trousers.
Why so many?
Because they are AWESOME!!!!!
I can be out in the turmoil that is British weather, and know that unless it gets really gnarly, I don't need to stop and change my outer layers!
I can make a splash, and even take on a good shower of rain and still be dry!
Softshell - Perfect for people who do multi-sports
These amazing garments can take on the snowy peaks as a multi-purpose garment for skiing and walking, just make sure the trousers come with a snow gaiter.
There are 2 main types of softshell I use: Summer and Winter!
Within these categories there are different types of insulation, from the uuuuber fluffy to the basic shell outer. Depending on how your temperature works when you're on the move, and what you want to do with it.
Here are our examples of the main linings you get with our 'harder' softshells:
(Gamma MX) which has a high wicking, fleecy lining that gives you the 'oooh factor'! It is great for winter walking with some light baselayers underneath. It's not as breathable as some other softshells, but it's breathable enough to keep you fresh.
- I personally wear mine with a long and short sleeve baselayer and an Atom SL Gillett and play in the snow, rain and all things wintery! It generally means I don't become a sweaty betty, as it's still more breathable than wearing a waterproof jacket, and as a 'coldie' I stay warm even when the wind gets a bit gnarly.
(Salvo Jacket) A type of grid fleece that keeps you warm but super fast wicking. It's perfect for high output activities such as mountain biking, running and a good winter walk.
- I personally wear my gridded fleece softshell for mainly biking and more sheltered walking. If you run warmer than I do (which is most likely) it is a great winter mountaineering jacket.
(LD Shuksan high Loft Hoodie) Ultimate 'OOOOOOH' Jacket! It's soooo soft and so cuddly! The perfect instructor and skiing jacket. This jacket is lovely and warm, but can be a bit too warm if you're doing really high output activities. This is perfect if you're doing stuff at a slower pace, or in really cold conditions. Perfect for many different eventualities such as a 'get warm quick' paddling / surfing jacket, a camp fire jacket, or even a belaying jacket!
- I have a similar soft shell that as an instructor I had to keep stealing back off the other girls!! Can not recommend this highly enough when you're doing low key group work.
The summer softshells are great as a light weight layer
, that's smart but super practical in our British climate. It's perfect as a second skin when the weather looks a bit unpredictable, or if you want to pop on your bike in the warmer weather.
Our example of this is the Millet LD Kamet Shield Hoodie
which is a lightweight, nicely cut jacket
that you could go down the beer garden in and sit at the beach with out catching a chill from the wind. But this is more of a 3 season jacket unless you layer appropriately.
I believe what sets softshells really apart is their 'burliness'! For the weather protection it offers and the hard wearing, tough fabric it's made from gives you confidence, especially when you're out on the crag face doing a crack!
Hopefully now you feel informed on this awesome product! It is time to scout out your perfect softshell.....
Have fun in the winter wonderland!