Softshells that have two layers consist of two fabrics that are bonded together. Typically, the outer layer is designed to prevent the elements from penetrating, while the inner layer is intended to transfer moisture away from the body and offer different levels of insulation. Our designers can regulate the garment’s performance, particularly its wind and water resistance, by specifying the bonding technique.
A good softshell should provide a comfortable microclimate in which to operate. The balance between the garment’s wind-resistance, water-resistance and breathability is key and can vary greatly between products. In general, the more breathable a product is, the less weather resistant it tends to be.
A key advantage of softshells is their stretch. Through using technologies such as our exclusive Matrix fabrics, our softshells provide a level of stretch and comfort more akin to a mid-layer fleece.
This freedom of movement is especially important to you if you’re prone to lots of dynamic movement and cannot afford to be restricted or inhibited by your clothing. It just so happens that it also produces a garment that is comfortable and practical to wear on a day-to-day basis.
When you’re choosing a softshell jacket there are a number of features that need consideration.
Softshells are generally designed to fit more closely to the body than hardshell waterproof jackets.
A number of our softshells feature high wicking fleece inner fabrics, insulating the user and wicking moisture away from the body. Fleece comes in different varieties to compliment the intended use of the softshell. Grid-back fleece provides ample insulation, whilst a jersey-back fleece affords less insulation but is lighter and manages moisture more efficiently.
External pockets feature on all Rab softshell garments. ‘A-line’ pockets are the traditional type located just above the hip, whilst chest pockets are used in instances where active use is a key focus. Some of our range also feature fleece lined pockets where insulation is a primary concern.
As has been mentioned above, the flexibility afforded by softshells is one of their key attributes. Depending on the amount of active use you intend to use your softshell for, you may wish to prioritise a softshell with higher levels of in-built flexibility.
Getting a hood that fits is important, it affects how much body heat you’ll lose through your head as well as how good your field of vision is in poor conditions. It’s worth considering the level of adjustment available on a jacket’s hood. All Rab softshells feature helmet compatible hoods, either designed to be used over or under a helmet.