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Jacket Reviews

This Goldilocks Softshell Squashes Shoulder-Season Chill

The Marmot WarmCube Novus Hoody will keep you warm—but not too warm—on early spring hikes.

Our take When you’re on the move in shoulder-season temps, sometimes a shell plus a puffy is overkill, but a shell alone won’t provide enough warmth. Enter this lightly-insulated softie, which packs a lot of warmth into a sleek package. The Marmot WarmCube Novus Hoody has a patch of cube-shaped baffles on the back, which are stuffed with synthetic 40-gram Primaloft Black Eco insulation. The design traps air in deep channels between the squares, even when you’re wearing a pack, and it kept us toasty down to the teens as we hiked without adding too much bulk. “On a sunny, 25°F hike up Missoula, Montana’s Mt. Jumbo in a foot of snow, I could wear it a lot longer than other shells without getting clammy thanks to the airy nylon face fabric,” one tester says. “And it felt like a warm blanket at the summit and throughout the descent.” When we weren’t moving hard—fall fly-fishing on the Big Blackfoot, or chilly camp mornings—it kept us warm down to about 40F.

The details The WarmCube Novus Hoody has two hand pockets and a soft, lined inner pocket (great for stashing sunglasses), a cinchable hem, and elastic cuffs that keep wind out. A non-adjustable elastic hood fits over a helmet, but we wished we could batten it down in horizontal snow. The 20-denier nylon face fabric handled bushwhacking through broken branches without snagging, and its stretchy material never interfered with casting or reaching when we fished. $250; Buy Now in men’s and women’s