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CHEYENNE, WYâ€”OutdoorGearLab.com revealed today the results of the 2012 Editors’ Choice Awards for the Women’s Softshell Jacket category, listing this year’s best and best value for Women’s Softshell Jackets. The OutdoorGearLab Review Editors chose the following winners after extensive field testing and road trips in the High Sierra, Southeast Utah and The Cascades. We took a variety of top-of-the-line women’s soft shells and tried our best to thrash them. We brought them ice climbing, Alpine climbing, skiing on lifts and in the backcountry, Nordic skiing, and snowshoeing. We experimented with them in all types of weather, with varying levels of physical activity, and even just wore them around to see how they held up to peer scrutiny in a town setting. Wind protection, water resistance, breathability, comfort/cozyness, warmth, layering ability, and ease of movement were observed and measured for this category. Each underwent extensive side by side tests to evaluate these key performance metrics. View the complete Women’s Softshell Jacket Review
The winners are:
Mountain HardWear Barisian Jacket â€“ winner of the Editor’s Choice Award for 2012. According to Gear Editor McKenzie Long, “The Mountain HardWear Barisian is phenomenal. It is light and flexible, and slightly insulated with a thin fleece layer, like the new version of the Arcteryx Gamma MX Hoody – Women’s, but with the added benefit of being windproof. It wins our Editors’ Choice Award for doing what all the other soft shell jackets in this review strive to do, but better.”
North Face Apex Bionic Womens – winner of the Best Buy award for 2012. This award is given to a product that balances an extremely high score in our tests and a very reasonable price. According to McKenzie Long, “The North Face Apex Bionic strikes an ideal balance between casual and performance soft shells. The jacket is made from Apex Climate Block with a brushed fleece backing. It is warm and sufficiently stormproof for chilly hikes, spring skiing, and most day use activities. We wore the Apex Bionic through both New York and San Francisco and emerged weird-look free, something that’s not possible in a flashy performance jacket.”
Patagonia Guide Hoody Womens – winner of the Top Pick award for 2012. This award is given to a product that excels at a specific application. According to McKenzie Long, “Weighing only 18 grams more than the new Gamma MX Hoody and ringing half the price, the Patagonia Guide Hoody is the go-to choice for a climbing hard shell. It is slightly less flexible but a little more water-resistant, and many of the other features such as the adjustable, helmet-compatible hood and non-adjustable sleeve cuffs, are extremely similar. The Guide Hoody is less wind-resistant than the Marmot Reyna, which blocks approximately 98 percent of the wind, but feels more breathable.”