North by Northeast

Review: Mountain Hardwear Synchro Softshell Jacket
4 February, 2007, 7:01 pm
Filed under: outdoors, reviews

4 of 5 Stars. Recommended for an active shell without a hood.

Feb 1, 2007 by

Brian Christiansen

photo of 'Mountain Hardwear Synchro Jacket'

★★★★☆ [prologue: The formatting is a little odd here because this was preformatted by hReview Creator. ]

At the end of December, I had the good fortune to get a couple of Eastern Mountain Sports gift certificates. With those I decided I needed an alternative to my long loved LL Bean XCR GoreTex hard shell which has served me well over the last five years. The shell is great, although it’s time to clean and retreat it, and has weathered some serious downpours, and it’s three layers of GoreTex have kept me bone dry, while keeping me reasonably comfortable internally. It did have some downsides, though. One being that it has no thermal qualities of its own, so if I wanted a shell, but it was mid-fall, I’d have to put a thin fleece underneath. So I’d be wearing two jackets. If it’s crazy cold and windy out, the shell plus my LL Bean PrimaLoft jacket underneath make for a formidable, if bulky, combination. But frigid and windy is currently the exception weather-wise in Massachusetts. Drawback number two is that the hardshell is noisy. Any form of movement would ruffle the sails, and it would amplify if the hood was up.

So, despite the years of dedicated service of this excellent shell, I needed something a little more appropriate for everyday use. I had heard that soft-shells offered comparable performance with few drawbacks. So I trotted down to EMS with my gift certificates in hand to find a black, hoodless softshell suitable for everyday use, perhaps winter on-bike use, and as an option for any cool weather sport (usually hiking). Continue reading