Soft Shell


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The Odin Mountain Hybrid pulls double duty as a ski shell and all-year rain jacket. “If you hate loud, plasticky outerwear, consider this soft shell your new favorite jacket. Its four-way-stretch fabric feels like broken-in denim and stays blessedly silent when you move,” our testers wrote.

There’s never a bad time to give your gear some TLC. We recommend the Tech Wash for cleaning your synthetic technical fabrics and the TX Direct Wash-In for reviving DWR coatings.

These men's jackets offer versatile protection for a variety of weather

This is the softshell we recommended for winter cycling in our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide. “The chest, shoulders, and arms on the shell are wind- and water-resistant, taking the sting out of nasty weather,” wrote our tester, “while lighter back and underarm panels add stretch and breathability.”…

Deer, ducks, and other quarry won't even know you're there

Stio released the first version of the Downwater Anorak last year and we loved it. Made from a rugged water-resistant nylon treated with UPF 50-plus sun protection, it fends off wind and water while still looking casual enough to wear around town.

Fall clothes that look as good as they work

By focusing on breathability, Polartec Alpha works when you’re moving, too

Stay comfortable on the trail, whether you're out for two days or ten

It’s a material, not a pattern, damnit

Your best defense against snow, sun, and everything in between

When to wash your shell, how to apply a DWR, and whether to choose a spray-on or wash-in

When weather rolls in, grab one of these

Dress for success when you get snow, rain, and sunshine, all in 24 hours

Smart, classy apparel for the chilliest time of year.

Don’t leave home without a warm winter buddy.

Après layers that pull double duty on the trails and slopes

The champion of the waterproof-breathable hardshell is getting soft

Barely-there shells for all kinds of conditions

Running to work is hard, especially when you have to contend with cold weather, poor visibility, and icy roads. On those days, your gear matters.

Glow-in-the-dark apparel for after-hours commuting

You should be packing like a technomad.

I ran my first ultra, The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile on December 7. Save two missing toenails and a pinky toe that looks like it belongs on a cadaver, I think I am far enough away from the pain to write about the gear that helped…

The Halogen can’t do it all, but it does so much so well that it rates as one of the most versatile winter jackets we’ve ever tested.

This gold-standard shell holds its own come wind, rain, snow, or shine—and plays well with others

The Marmot prodigy is a do-it-all soft shell

Outside reviews the best gear in the Summer 2013 Buyer’s Guide, including the Rab Maverick.

A company never satisfied with the status quo has designed two new jackets that are as cozy and comfortable as some of your favorite pieces

In the past 12 months, Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, Polartec, Gore-Tex, and Stoic have introduced new waterproof-breathable membranes. We won’t bore you with the wonky details of their lofty claims; all you need to know is that each is more breathable than many of the jackets we’ve been raving about for years.

These shells offer equal parts protection and comfort. We reviewed the Columbia Flyin' Dry, with its waterproof, breathable membrane and roomy back pocket; the Marmot Tempo Hoody, which kept our tester toasty on mountain runs and hikes during a windy season; the super-stretchy First Ascent High Season; and others.

Nordic skiers and cold-climate runners will love this aerobic-oriented jacket, which has a wind-blocking front face and a thin, breathable back.

In 2005, I bought a Mountain Equipment Co-Op Composite 2 softshell jacket. It's the best purchase I have ever made. Unfortunately, seven years later it's starting to pile. I need a replacement. What do you recommend? Blair Turner, Saskatoon, SK

Outside picks the essentials for January, including the Westcomb Switch LT Hoody.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the K2 Rescue Shovel Plus.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Canada Goose HyBridge Lite jacket

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain jacket.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Nau 3/4 Length Cocoon jacket.

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