|Rating:||8.4 / 10|
|Value for Money||2.1 / 2.5|
|Comfort||2.2 / 2.5|
|Warmth||1.9 / 2.5|
|Durability||2.2 / 2.5|
We all need an outer layer that cuts the wind, provides additional warmth as well as providing a bit of water resistance. An older style of garment soft shell jacket is one option to help fill these functions and can be an important component of your layering system.
But I need to start by fessing up – I am not a fan of soft shell jackets. I have two soft shell jackets hanging in my wardrobe waiting for my nephew to move to a colder climate – luckily he doesn’t mind wearing hand-me-downs! I find traditional, cheaper quality soft shells too plastic to touch, too restrictive to wear and they never seem to cut the wind out the way they should. In many cases they don’t look that good either which I know isn’t a high priority for many hikers.
So when it came time to review the Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket I was a bit slow to get into the testing process. First I was waiting for the right opportunity to wear the jacket to give it a good try out. Then I was waiting for a series of different hikes to wear the jacket. And finally I was waiting for winter to really test out the jacket.
The jacket composition is made of 20% Merino Wool, 72% Polyamide and 8% Elastane which results in a soft, warm and comfortable fit that moves with you and stretches in the right places. In fact this composition ensures the wool has four way stretch.
The inner is made from Tasmanian merino – WildernessWool™ – got to love that! The exterior is made from Cordura® Nylon with DWR Finish which gives the jacket the tough, water repellent exterior you need in the outdoors. This jacket isn’t seam sealed so I wouldn’t rely on it to keep you dry in the pouring rain and its designed to be worn under a rain jacket if required.
The Ascent jacket uses a technical material, Schoeller NanoSphere® surface, where nanoparticles form a fine structure. This means that water, dirt and oil only remain on the peaks of the nanostructures and have a diminished contact area. The result is that liquids won’t soak in and the drops roll off or easily rinse off with water. And if you do need to clean the jacket you can do so in the washing machine!
The exterior also has articulated elbows which facilitates flexibility of movement and the pockets are positioned so they don’t interfere with pack straps. I must admit when I first tried this jacket on without a pack I thought that the pockets were a bit high but once I wore it with a pack it made sense.
In testing this jacket out I found that it kept me warm with a decent layer underneath, in this case the Wilderness Wear Merino fusion 190 Long Sleeve Zip Neck top and with lighter layers, its comfortable to wear into the high teens or on those windy days where the wind chill cuts through.
The Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket is described as a ‘regular fit’ and comes in sizes small, medium, large, extra large and double extra large. I tested the extra large and as someone with a broad chest and shoulders, found it to be a good fit for me.
The jacket comes in three colours; Jaz Green with Black accents, Steel Grey with Black accents, and Black with Steel Grey accents. Be warned – the Jaz Green colour is very bright and great for when you need to stand out. This is also a great looking jacket – it is so stylish it will take you from business casual to social occasions and on to the toughest outdoor environments and hiking trips. One jacket which does all that represents great value for money.
The real and very obvious negative on this jacket is the price sitting alongside the top tier down jackets at $449 AUD. However, it is definitely worth it being a very versatile piece of kit that you can turn into casual wear and not just use for hiking. Weight wise it’s also heavier than comparable down jackets with that comes extra durability that down jackets don’t provide.
I tried hard not to like the Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket and ended up loving it. First and foremost this is the most comfortable soft shell jacket I have worn, it feels luxurious as soon as you put it on. It has so many lovely little features with no shortage of pockets.
I’ve now worn it all through winter on a range of outdoor adventures, and social events and I can’t find fault. Will it replace my lightweight down jacket? Probably not, but it will form part of my hiking kit and has also become a firm fixture in my leisure wear so that’s a big thumbs up from me for this jacket.
Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket
Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket – product label
Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket – inside zip pocket
Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket – inside pocket non zip
Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket – underarm view
Close up of cuff adjustment
Close up of neck at the front
Rear collar view
Front chest pocket
As a standalone layer in cool weather or as an outer layer as part of your layering system
You can purchase the Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket from Wilderness Wear
Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our gear reviews
If you have worn the Wilderness Wear Men’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below
This soft shell jacket is unique within the Wilderness Wear range. Wilderness Wear also produces a large range of merino and merino blend base, mid and outer layers to suit a range of outdoor activities. Depending on your tolerance for cold and your layering system, there is a garment to suit your needs
This review was done with product provided by Wilderness Wear