Softshell jackets can seem like one of the more perplexing pieces of outdoor kit. Why do you need one? You already have a warm fleece and a waterproof jacket. Is there much point buying another layer? Well the answer is a resounding yes.

Softshells are great for active mountain pursuits in the summer - whether that’s climbing, mountain biking or hiking - because they are lightweight and breathable when you are sweating on the move, but also protect you from harsh weather conditions.

The Jack Wolfskin Exolight jacket is a particularly great example. Jack Wolfskin was founded in Germany in 1981. It’s known for its popularity with European hikers as well as being adaptable enough to wear down the pub. With over 900 stores worldwide, Jack Wolfskin is one of the biggest outdoor clothing retailers on the planet

“Once the Exolight is in your wardrobe, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it."

The Exolight jacket has the top-quality waterproofing of a hardshell jacket, combined with the comfort of a softshell. Outside, the jacket is made with an extremely waterproof Texapore Hyproof material. It has a a 30,000mm rating, providing outstanding protection from heavy wind and rain. When an unexpected downpour appears from nowhere, you will be totally prepared.

Now here comes the clincher. Compared to a hardshell, this softshell jacket is highly breathable, allowing sweat vapour to escape while you are pacing uphill. It is super stretchy too, so the Exolight jacket will move with your body as you climb/bike/hike. Unzip the pit vents and you’ll be treated to an extra dose of fresh air when things get too hot and sweaty. Top this off with an inside lining that feels comfortable and soft against your skin.

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There are a number of great features that keep us coming back to the Jack Wolfskin Exolight jacket. The ultra-light hood is easily adjustable and offers a wide field of vision. There are five pockets to store your snacks and carabiners, including a pocket shaped specifically for your GPS system. Jack Wolfskin have raised the hip pockets, so you can access them while wearing a harness or a backpack waist belt.

When the sun comes out and it is time to put the Exolight jacket away, it will neatly pack down into a lightweight bundle, ready for next time the sky clouds over. Softshell jackets are a must-have when it comes to summer outdoor gear. Once the Exolight is in your wardrobe, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Jack Wolfskin Exolight Women’s Softshell Jacket

Shot on location in Chamonix.