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What our Members are Testing Now: The North Face Sotara FUTURELIGHT Jacket

There's more than meets the eye with this comfy, waterproof shell.

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I’ve been testing a North Face pullover that feels like a softshell, but is definitely watertight. It sports some of the best characteristics of a good security blanket—it’s comfortable, comforting, and wards off wind- and water-monsters well.

The fabric is soft, flexible, and notably breathable. As advertised, FUTURELIGHT sheds the stiff, plastic-wrap feel of earlier-generation rain gear. Gone, too, is that annoying, old-school swishy noise when you move around. It is less bulky, and more packable.

I’ve had the Sotara handy in a high-desert floodplain—New Mexicos’s Rio Grande Valley—during sudden summer monsoons. It easily repelled the short but violent downpours and, despite late-summer temperatures in the 80s, didn’t get too hot.

It’s also been useful above 10,000 feet on Sandia Crest, where foggy drizzle and brisk winds met sunrise temps in the low 40s.

The hand pockets are zippered for security and easily fit gloves, a stocking cap, a phone, and keys. A breast pocket holds an oversized iPhone 11 nicely.

The cut is not roomy, but not tight. In winter months it might be hard to fit more than a baselayer and a thin midlayer underneath. You might want to consider a size larger if you’re heading into serious cold. – Frank Michel