Wind resistance is an important factor in maintaining the user’s core temperature. Managing the effects of wind-chill will be a higher priority for some users than others, so it is worth taking it into account.
In the technical specifications of some of our softshell garments, you will notice a value expressed as CC or CFM this relates to how wind resistant the garment is, with a higher number denoting less resistance to wind. It is typical for such a measurement to indicate that the garment is more breathable, but the nature of softshells means that there will always be exceptions to the rule – so if you are not sure, ask us.
Softshells will offer some protection against rain, but our softshells are not waterproof, rather water-resistant.
The nature of softshell fabrics means that ingress will eventually occur, but it’s level of ingress relative to the overall comfort of the jacket that makes them so good for general or everyday wear, as well as many outdoor activities where very wet weather is not likely.
As an extra measure, we treat all of our softshells with DWR (Durable Water Repellency). Often confused for waterproofing, DWR coatings are a chemical treatment that is applied to the outer face of the garment, causing water to bead so that instead of soaking into the garment’s outer, the rain simply rolls off.
After prolonged use you will find that the DWR’s performance begins to diminish. This can be refreshed by applying a DWR treatment after washing. For full instructions see our care section.
When we talk about Softshells being ‘breathable’, we are referring to the extent to which the garment allows moisture vapour to escape.
Breathability is synonymous with softshells but is a difficult thing to quantify. The many blends of fabrics, adhesives and in some cases membranes that are used in the construction of softshells means that using a standard unit of measurement such as MVTR (Moisture vapour transmission rate) is difficult to achieve and often misleading.
When considering the breathability of a softshell, you need to employ a holistic view, accounting for the interplay between each of the softshell’s elements. You can assume that in most cases more resistance to weather, either through a more tightly woven outer fabric, use of a membrane or even the adhesive used to bond two layer fabrics will ultimately affect the garment’s breathability. And very simply put, the lighter a jacket is, the more breathable it will likely be.
DWR & Breathability
By reducing the amount of standing water on the face of the fabric, DWR will help maintain the breathability of the garment.
Wicking & Breathability
Many of our softshells will feature a high-wicking inner layer. Sitting against the skin or baselayer, it will typically consist of a polyester fleece or high gauge knit that, through capillary action transmits liquid moisture to the garment’s outer. Although not the same as breathability, wicking can significantly improve the process by removing moisture and promoting the flow of air.