The Best Softshell Jacket in the WORLD! ~ Andy Kirkpatrick

Published on Jan 29, 2016 237,709 views

Softshells are a waste of money UNLESS they follow the five rules in this video. DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME! I am a proponent of using whatever jacket is currently hanging in your closet if it means you can go exploring today. If you sense my anger in this video it is due to the fact that corporations are creating and advertising jackets for their largest customer base (non-adventurists) at the cost of quality and features for their intended customer (hikers, climbers, backpackers). So if you are saving up to purchase a technical piece of gear for the outdoors make sure you don't waste your money on something intended for walking around town.

The video may sound like I am arguing against the use of hardshell jackets but I am not. I am simply trying to help you overcome the confusion that gear companies have created when they use the term "soft shell" to define jackets that are essentially hardshells with extra limitations.

Andy Kirkpatrick, one of the best alpinists in the world, wrote a FANTASTIC article on this subject. When I read his article a few years ago it blew my mind and I began putting his writings to the test. Since then, softshells (or maybe I should refer to them as "shelled micropile fleece jackets") have become irreplaceable in my gear closet. If you want to learn more please go read his fantastic article at this link:


Andy also has his own channel with some truly epic videos:


  • In The Bubble
    In The Bubble 2 года назад hardshells are very useful in harsh conditions with loads of rain and wind. I dont think there is right or wrong, depends on your needs and what you prefer. softshelld wont do the job everywhere andjust saying "hardshells make you wet in yourown sweat" isnt always the case.
  • TREEfool
    TREEfool 2 года назад You are very correct. Based on the comments it appears that most people think I hate hardshells like Goretex and eVent and that I never use them. This is incorrect. Their are many situations where I would use a hardshell:Situation #1 - When temps are 35*F and it is down pouring I will be wearing a hardshell because my sweat in this situation is very small (due to the temps) and the heavy amounts of freezing rain is a much bigger problem.Situation #2 - Setting up camp or packing up in a deluge. I am usually not working up a sweat doing these tasks so I want to keep my layers dry until I start hiking/climbing or I might be wearing my main insulation layer (a belay jacket) and I don't want it to get wet.I can think of many other situations but the point is that I don't hate hardshells and they are indeed important to have in certain situations. But I wear my softshell WAY more often ;)
  • In The Bubble
    In The Bubble 2 года назад I used a dermizax Bergans jacket for cycling and, dear oh dear, what a absolute nightmare. Even with just a well wicking baselayer you drown in your own sweat. I would say stay away from waterproofs for high output activities. Gore, dermizax, EVent and all the others don't do as well as just a breathable windbreaker+fleece or a softshell.
  • youtuber
    youtuber Год назад *There are
  • Harry Mills
    Harry Mills Год назад Yeah. I can see where climbers and other athletes get the most out of true softshell. It's the perfect product when your metabolism is up in harsh conditions and you need max freedom of movement and minimal weight. Just out working, you can remove layers when you're generating too much heat, and you can vent your hard shell with a better-quality 2-way zipper. Out shoveling snow or chopping wood in harsh conditions, you might just have a light layer under a properly-vented hard shell. You don't have to be doing sports to be working hard enough to sweat, but you're not trying to do a pull-up n a rock ledge, or carry a week's supplies for an expedition. Out working, your back tends to be to the precip, and partial-unzipping allows you to do all the bending-down you might need to do, while still keeping the wet off your back. And if you're out in the brush, maybe a waxed cotton canvas shell, like Filson tin cloth is the way to go, because the indestructibility is more important to you than a pound or two is to an extreme outdoorsman.
  • Jesse Struyvelt
    Jesse Struyvelt Год назад So what do you wear when you get too cold in your softshell?
  • Carlos
    Carlos Год назад Treefool: Can you tell me a brand and price around $250.00 - $300.00 CDN, not for outdoors or climbing, just to deal with the Vancouver winter rain?
  • Chris Indermuehle
    Chris Indermuehle 8 месяцев назад @Carlos easy, hardshell. If you aren't building up sweat than a hardshell is vastly superior to softshell for rain.
  • Irony Itch
    Irony Itch 8 месяцев назад Cyclists need armpit zippers. I have them on one softshell and one hardshell. Cant unzip enough when you cycle hard! That being said, for versatility, it is smart to buy softshell a bit tight fitting and then throw a hardshell over if it is pouring and you are not cycling ...
  • schlooonginator
    schlooonginator 1 месяц назад @Carlos This video covers active wear for situations involveing aerobic activity....where you sweat. For just walking around Vancouver a good hard shell waterproof breathable IS good. Any good Gore tex, event shell would do. MEC Synergy.for example. He is being critical because of how the hardshells have been marketed largely toward active sports for which they simply get overwhelmed due to lack of breathability.
    SPIDERGHOST99 3 года назад "the bullshit jackets we have today" Love it man :') Gave me a laugh.
  • G Henrickson
    G Henrickson 2 года назад That comment was hilarious...and so true...
  • leetshots
    leetshots 8 месяцев назад bought a paramo a few years ago, not sure if it counts as a softshell its not techincally waterproof but i've had it on in sideways rain herein the uk and never felt as comfortable in my event or goretex jackets.
  • Felipe Leal
    Felipe Leal Год назад what about the softshells made with neoprene (the same material used in wetsuits) + fleece?
  • CONAN-FA18
    CONAN-FA18 2 года назад Thank you for this info! Question: When you say that a proper soft shell must be worn against the skin, it seems unlikely that most people will go "topless" during outdoor activities, when donning or removing any jacket. There are hundreds of recommendations from outdoor enthusiasts related to "inner layer" garments that would be worn under a down jacket or outer shell. Usually they have moisture wicking properties such as certain wools or synthetics. Is it your opinion that these inner layers are unnecessary? It sounds like you are suggesting that people who engage in cardiovascular activity, would only be wearing a soft shell until the activity is complete. Then, when they remove the jacket, they would then be bare chested while redressing themselves for the next phase of their endeavor. Is that correct?