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An affordable and warm softshell jacket


The Arec is a reasonably wind-resistant though not fully windproof softshell with a smooth outer and a fleecy inner, which makes it quite warm compared to the other softshells reviewed. A DWR finish means it’ll resist drizzle and light rain. The fabric only stretches a little though and the Medium is a close-fit on me. To wear it over more than a T-shirt I’d need at least a size bigger.

There’s a stiff flap behind the zip that rolls over to form a chinguard at the top, though this could be bigger. The hood is close-fitting – it won’t go over more than a thin hat – and has adjustable drawcords so it can be cinched down to stop it blowing off in the wind. The pockets are roomy but cut off by a hipbelt. Accessible pockets would be useful on a jacket that can be worn as the outer layer much of the time. The cuffs are close-fitting – no ventilation here – and the sleeves can only be pulled up a little way. The sleeves do ride up a little when I stretch.

The weight is reasonable and the price low, making this worth considering as a warm softshell for most of the year. I found it a bit warm on cool summer days.

Overview

  • Overall: 4 out of 5

Pros: cost, warmth, hood

Cons: no map pocket

  • Price: £60
  • Weight: 487g (M)
  • Materials: 96% polyester/4% elastane softshell
  • Hood: yes, front drawcords
  • Front Closure: zip with inner flap
  • Pockets: 2 handwarmer
  • Cuffs: stretch
  • Hem: stretch
  • Sizes: men S-XXL, women 8-24
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