Can a $200 softshell be a bargain? Consider that other jackets made with Polartec’s Power Shield Pro cost as much as 75 percent more, and the value equation starts looking pretty clear. The key is Power Shield Pro’s all-around performance, which hits the classic softshell ideal of weather resistance (it’s highly water resistant and repels ripping wind) with superior breathability. “I climbed to 11,200 feet in Utah’s High Uintas during a 50°F overcast morning, and never overheated,” says one tester.
And yet the brushed-fleece lining adds a touch of insulation, so you can wear the Centre Peak with just a baselayer while on the move in much colder temps. But it also makes it a bit heavier than another tester favorite made with Power Shield Pro, Patagonia’s Knifeblade ($349; 1 lb. 1 oz.; patagonia.com), a hooded anorak with a lighter tricot backing that our tester wore all day while backcountry snowboarding in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon. Proof that guys run hotter than gals? The men’s version of the Centre Peak (pictured) lacks a hood, but the women’s model includes one.