Choosing Your Mountaineering Jacket

Before you go to the highest summits of Europe or the world, it is time to equip yourself with the most suitable equipment for your projects. And if one thinks necessarily the technical stuff necessary, one should not neglect the equipment that you will be most useful in the end: the jacket. But between softshell and hardshell jackets, the choice is not always obvious. You’ll learn all you need to know beforeinvesting in a mountaineering jacket.

The Hardshell Jacket: Your Most Faithful Ally

Unless you have chosen German in LV1, it surely did not escape you that “hardshell” means in the language of Shakespeare “hard shell”. And it must be admitted that this denomination is rather close to the end result as the hardshell jackets prove protective.Like the turtle in its carapace, you will be protected from the cold, the wind, the rain and the snow.

A hardshell jacket is above all a protection against the outside: you can count on a high level waterproofness. But, you will say, if the water can not return, how can it come out?Good question indeed, but be reassured: you will not have to suffer from your sweating since such a jacket also offers a true breathability allowed by the addition of a breathable membrane between the outer fabric and the inner layer.

Be careful though, these jackets offer optimal protection but do not guarantee the maintenance of your body heat. If you are going to attack a summit in bad weather conditions, it is in your best interests to have a fleece that you will carry under your carapace.

The only disadvantage of a hardshell mountaineering jacket is related to its nature, according to Indeed, these jackets are somewhat equivalent to the medieval armor for mountaineers: solid and resistant but at times spartan comfort (although manufacturers make more and more efforts at this level). If you face a tough opponent, you will have the best interest to equip you while for the excursions in better conditions, the softshell will do well.

The Softshell Jacket: The Alternative

In contrast to the hardshell jacket, softshell means “soft shell”. Where the first only presents the third layer of the famous triptych of clothing advised for mountain excursions, softshell jacket aims to offer warmth and protection against the elements.

Let’s be clear, a softshell jacket will never replace a hardshell in the event of heavy rain or snowstorm but will play a very interesting alternative if you go on a mountain hike and the conditions are good. So dressed, you will not have to multiply the layers to benefit from a minimum of comfort unlike the hardshell jacket.

A softshell jacket would be to the hardshell what the knitted coat would be to knight’s armor: a compromise offering greater maneuverability for a downgraded protection but sufficient to cope with medium conditions.