OK, enough of my bilingual dexterity. You need some outdoor clothing. Here's how I see it: For years, people tended to pack two key pieces, a moderately heavy fleece jacket or sweater, and a substantial Gore-Tex (or similar) jacket or parka. That was, and still is, a combination that pretty much covers the gamut of weather conditions: wet, cold, mild, windy, in any combination.
But I'm not convinced all that stuff remains necessary. The great appeal of the new "soft-shell" jackets is that they handle the cool, windy stuff nicely by themselves, plus they shed drizzle or light rain that would otherwise have soaked a fleece jacket. Then, if it gets really wet, you can just fling on a light rain shell. For less weight, bulk, and money, the soft shell route gives you a very functional weather package.
So for the soft-shell part, you want something that offers pretty good insulation and isn't just a light shell (which some are). Examples: the REI One Jacket ($198; www.rei.com), made with Polartec Power Shield, a material I rate having used it in a cycling jacket. In cold weather, the One is remarkably warm when worn over a light, long-sleeve T-shirt or turtleneck. It's almost entirely windproof, breathes well, and can take a lot of rain before it soaks through. Arc'Teryx's Gamma SV ($250; www.arcteryx.com) uses the same material in a garment that's a little more trimly cut. Cloudveil's Serendipity ($220; www.cloudveil.com) works a bit more like a light shell, but also serves as a useful insulating mid-layer (over a light T-shirt, under a rain shell if it rains hard).
These days, the classic add-on to a soft shell is the Marmot PreCip Jacket ($99; www.marmot.com), a remarkable buy in a functional, light, compressible rainjacket. Lowe Alpine's Rush Tech Jacket ($109; www.lowe-alpine.com) is another good choice. Depending on the activity, I also like Pearl Izumi's Channel Jacket ($200; www.pearlizumi.com), which uses the new eVent waterproof-breathable fabric favored by some makers. The Channel is a slim, clean (i.e., no pockets and no hood) design that is great unless you really need to stuff things into pockets. I prefer a rainhat, anyway, so the lack of a hood is no hardship.
Hope that helps. Auf Wiedersehn!
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.