Outdoor Research Trailbreaker

This midweight softshell strikes a balance between weather protection and breathability, all for a great price.

Performance The Trailbreaker defies the notion that softshells are only suitable for the dry Rockies. “I snowshoed in this for two hours in light rain at Gold Creek in the Cascades, and didn’t feel a bit wet,” says our Washington tester. Credit the waterproof/breathable Pertex Shield+ on the shoulders and hood, which protects the areas that bear the brunt of a storm. The rest of the jacket is double-woven polyester blended with just 4 percent spandex (less than you’ll find in most stretchy softshells), so the Trailbreaker gives up some elasticity for faster dry times. “I wished for a little more freedom of movement through the shoulders,” one tester noted.

Breathability Huge (12-inch) pit zips helped our tester dump heat on steep gradients, and the body’s breathable fabric let her keep it on while hiking in sunny, 35°F conditions.

Fit & Features Stiffened with wire, the brimmed hood keeps rain and melting snow away from your face. It’s lined with a cozy, fuzzy material, but it is not helmet compatible. The long torso offers ample coverage even for gangly shapes, and the relaxed cut offers plenty of room for underlayers or a puffy. Bonus: A tethered lens wipe in the pocket clears foggy goggles.
$250; 1 lb. 4 oz. (L); outdoorresearch.com