Everyone should have one go-to jacket in the closet. It’s the one you pull out more than any other, because it’s perfect in most conditions—not the wettest or coldest, but the weather you actually hike in most often—and looks casual enough to wear around town. If you don’t have one already, check out Patagonia’s Simple Guide Jacket. This versatile softshell is our testers’ choice for hard hikes in wind, light rain and cool temps.
“I worked up a sweat cranking uphill in 30°F temps,” says our Idaho tester, “but the jacket moved moisture out quickly, allowing my baselayer to dry soon after I started downhill.” Fit is athletic but not triathlete-tight, and four-way stretch allows total freedom of movement. Water resistance is better-than-average for such a breathable jacket, thanks to the fabric’s Deluge DWR treatment. Testers love the tall collar lined with soft, chin-friendly fabric. Green bonus: It’s made with 91 percent recycled content. $119; 13.3 oz. (m’s M); patagonia.com