Brand: Outdoor Research
Model: Allout Jacket and Pants
We love hiking in airy softshells, but who wants to carry another jacket for when it’s raining? No such doubling up required with the Allout, which uses a three-layer proprietary membrane that proved equal to a good, all-day Northwest rain. “We had pouring rain, then snow,” a tester says. “Then we had to wade through soaking brush that was over our heads. When we got back to camp, my underlayer was completely dry.” And unlike other waterproof softshells we’ve seen, this one never got saturated and dried quickly. It also thwarted freezing winds up to 20 mph on a -1°F snowshoe in Colorado’s James Peak Wilderness.
The Allout is surprisingly comfortable to hike in with the vents zipped (though it’s not as breathable as a conventional softshell). Breathability becomes superior when the shell’s vents are open. Both the shell and pants have zippered vents on the sides (7 inches on the shell, 11 inches on the pants) that very effectively cooled testers when they were cranking hard up precipitous trails in 50°F temps.
A fully adjustable hood with a moldable brim protects against breezes and precip. But the pockets and vents are tough to unzip, particularly with gloves on, because they extend back toward your hips at a 45-degree angle.