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Posted on April 13, 2011
Oh softshell, how we adore thee. There really isn’t a more prefect layer for transitional weather seasons.
My enthusiasm for the water-resistant material increased exponentially when I slipped into Hi-Tec’s latest women’s jacket—the Misty Mountain Softshell ($89.95 MSRP). Its blend of 96 percent nylon and 4 percent spandex turns out to be the goldilocks of springtime hiking jackets. Where most jackets can become uncomfortable in temperatures too warm for a coat but too chilly for short sleeves, this softshell is just right.
New to Hi-Tec for spring, the Misty Mountain Softshell is fairly breathable, and it’s totally lightweight. It’s has three layers and can stretch four ways. Lined with 100% polyester, the jacket is mighty comfy, too. Off the trail, I found myself wearing it more and more around the office, where the air conditioner is already cranking. I appreciated the three zipper pockets—especially the pocket on the upper left chest. I never used it to store anything, but I liked how it looked and the fact that if I wanted to pop something in there, I could.
To test the water-resistant element, I put my elbow under a faucet. Obviously this isn’t a naturally occurring event. Instead, it posed as the most extreme version of water exposure. While the water did bead up and was able to be brushed off, it did somewhat absorb into the outermost softshell layer. However within 10 minutes, the damp area had dried completely. This means that even if you encounter a rainstorm in your Hi-Tec softshell, it won’t be too long before you’re completely dry again.
All in all, this is a great lightweight jacket. I will be wearing it for many spring hikes to come.