The Outdoor Research Mithrilite Jacket ($199, outdoorresearch.com) presents an extremely lightweight (24 oz.) and versatile softshell with full waterproof capabilities.
Sweat No More
My biggest issue with most softshell jackets is their all-or-nothing approach to weather protection. Full water- and windproofness usually means I’m sweating like the devil in church on any outing that doesn’t boast single-digit temps. The Outdoor Research Mithrilite Jacket ($199, outdoorresearch.com) spites the trend and presents an extremely lightweight (24 oz.) and versatile softshell with full waterproof capabilities. Perfect for spring alpine conditions, it’s proven its worth through hailstorms and sunless Colorado approaches in temps ranging from the low 20s to low 50s, without the slightest hint of overheating. My favorite feature is OR’s TorsoFlo two-way waist-to-pit zips. When the jacket is tucked under a harness, you can zip down from the pit and still have complete side ventilation, or, if it’s layered on top, you can zip up from the waist. I layered over base, mid, and puffy layers for winter outings, but for maximum breathability during intense performance, a base and mid layer underneath were ideal. A fully adjustable hood (around the face and in the back for use with a helmet), comfy adjustable cuffs, hand-warmer pockets, and a chest pocket were icing on the cake. —Julie Ellison