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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Enchainment Softshell

The sky is the limit for this weather-resistant softshell from Outdoor Research.

by: Ted Alvarez and Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

Outdoor Research Enchainment (Courtesy)
Outdoor Research Enchainment (Courtesy)

ALL SHELLS
Stay dry and warm with these shell options
[peakbagger]
Your itinerary: mostly above treeline. Your softshell: the Enchainment. It can handle biting winds, plummeting temps, snow, and the occasional squall—plus manage sweat well enough to wear while cranking up steep slopes. Lots of softshells do that, right? This one is special because the mechanical-weave fabric is more weather-resistant than most. The 75-denier face fabric features 25 percent more yarns per square inch than a standard double-weave softshell, blocking wind and most precipitation while preserving a softshell’s airy performance.

It shines in high-and-dry terrain, but can handle wetter weather, too: “I wore this on a drizzly hike up Washington’s Little Si—including 20 minutes on the exposed summit—without a leak,” reports one tester. (Water eventually seeped through at the shoulders and chest pocket after 30 minutes of moderate rain.) Stretchy, double-weave Schoeller panels on the shoulders, underarms, neck, and face enhance both mobility and breathability. Testers loved that the hem extended well below their hipbelts. Dings: The hood’s internal adjustment cords scratched testers’ faces when cinched, and some people wished for longer sleeves. $199; 1 lb. 2 oz.; outdoorresearch.com



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