Gear Review: Sierra Designs Savage Softshell Jacket

A softshell with full-length side zips for great ventilation

If you climb or hike hard in typical winter temps, the effort can overwhelm the most breathable jackets. Solution? Take the jacket off without actually removing it. The Savage’s full-length side zips open it up completely, allowing you to dump heat from armpits to waist. Says one tester, “All the way opened, the Savage breathed like a cape. It worked great when the inclines got steep and I needed extra airflow.” He used it while cross-country and downhill skiing in Colorado, and adds, “the polyester face fabric easily shed heavy snowfall—even slush didn’t penetrate.”

A mix of high-loft and gridded fleece is body-mapped on the interior, so you get more warmth where you need it (like the top of the head and around the neck and shoulders) and less where you don’t (sides, under the arms). That design makes the Savage warmer than average—whether for bitter cold days or low-effort activities, like mellow snowshoeing—without being totally steamy.

One wish: a stiffer brim on the hood. And it’s heavy.

$189

1 lb. 10 oz. (L)

m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL

sierradesigns.com