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The Falcoarmy Guide to Softshell

The demand for a protective yet breathable outer layer arose from outdoor activities that require sustained, aerobic output and often take place in challenging and changeable environments. Early softshell garments were introduced to the market and were quickly adopted by users such as mountaineers, skiers, and climbers as a means to stay warm, dry, and mobile.
To make things easier for you, we have divided this guide into three sections that are easy to comprehend. This will provide you with the necessary information and assurance to find the perfect piece for your needs.

Construction

Our focus is on examining the utilization of one and two layer construction to customize performance and application.

What This Guide Covers

Wind Resistance, Water Resistance and Breathability

Understanding the interplay between these three factors will be key in identifying your perfect softshell.

Stretch & Freedom of Movement

The ability to move dynamically, in comfort and with little restriction is one of Softshell’s key advantages.

1. Construction

Two Layer Softshells

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.

2. Weather Resistance And Breathability

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.

We tune the wind and water resistance of our softshells by varying how tightly the outer fabric of the garment is woven. In two layer garments, we can also adjust the bonding process.

3. Stretch & Freedom Of Movement

Maintaining temperature and managing moisture are vital in creating a good softshell but so too is how the garment fits and moves with your body.

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.

Features To Look Out For

When you’re choosing a softshell jacket there are a number of features that need consideration.

FIT

Softshells are generally designed to fit more closely to the body than hardshell waterproof jackets.

Insulation

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.

Internal & External Pockets

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.

Stretchy Fabric

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.

Hood

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.

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