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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: adidas Outdoor Terrex Zupalite Softshell

This ultralight adidas softshell excels in everything from daily life to daring ascents.

by: Ted Alvarez and Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

adidas Outdoor Terrex Zupalite (Courtesy)
adidas Outdoor Terrex Zupalite (Courtesy)

Stay dry and warm with these shell options
[ultralight windshell]
“It’s the jacket I didn’t know I needed, but now can’t live without,” says one tester of this whisperweight champ, thanks to its exceptional combination of wind protection and breathability. Other testers agreed, toting the Zupalite like a loyal sidearm on heart-pumping dayhikes, mountain and road bike rides, trail runs, and multiday backpacking trips all over the Rockies and Southwest. “It cut stiff, 30-mph winds on the ridges of Montana’s Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness,” reports one fan of the Climaproof Wind fabric, a tightly woven nylon that “sheds light rain like it’s covered in wax.” (The Zupalite is DWR-treated but lacks taped seams, so it’s not suitable for sustained precipitation.)

Four-way-stretch knit polyester-mesh panels under the arms provided superior venting on punishing uphill slogs in the Rockies and while biking up steep grades; testers reported that even when it did get a bit sweaty during high-octane activity in warmer weather (mid-50s and up), the shell dried fast. Even at this rock-bottom weight, you get features: a smooth full zipper, an adjustable hem, elastic cuffs, reflective piping for night runs and rides, and a hood that cinches tightly to stay out of your eyes. The single Napoleon pocket fits a smartphone and turns inside out for packing the shell—with room left over to stash a beanie. $140; 5 oz.;

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