We’ve been putting the Jack Wolfskin Exhalation Flyweight Softshell from Jack Wolfskin through it’s paces for the last few months or so on mountain walks and more local runs around Snowdonia. This is what we thought.
Features – While sold as a soft-shell, this is essentially a very posh wind-proof shell. You don’t get any insulation – just the outer layer, which suits us fine as that’s much more versatile for all year around use. The Flex Shield Softshell Airlite material is stretchy as well as highly breathable and reasonably waterproof. Neither does it have that slimy texture some lightweight tops have, this fabric is pleasant and soft to the touch. As it’s a soft-shell then it isn’t designed to keep you dry in prolonged rain, but it should keep the odd shower at bay. Couple this with thumb-loops, which we’re massive fans of at mud and routes, and it ticks all our boxes.
There are also pockets in the jacket, something of a novelty when it comes to lightweight wind-proofs. Why, is something of a mystery. With shorts often short, (see what I did there), of pocket real estate then you often find yourself with little more than token key pockets, usually woefully insecure. These hold a phone, gels, keys and wallet comfortably and are something we consider essential in a jacket like this.
It’s a minor gripe, but the sleeves are a bit tight when you pull them up and you’d need seriously lightweight arms to cool down by sleeve rolling.
What we really love is that the whole caboodle collapses into it’s own bum bag. Having the words Stowaway written on the jacket should have made me realise it was nothing to do with sneaking a free ride on a ship, but it was only after a number of sweaty runs that I realised this. The zipped up jacket fits comfortably into the integrated bag with just enough room for my large smartphone and a key or two.
This has been out first choice windproof for running this summer. The colour makes you visible to others and it copes with most conditions well, even folding into itself if you get too warm. The only thing we don’t like is the price, which at £100 is at the higher end of the windproof market.