Soft shells are the best shells. Except when they're not waterproof, but who rolls that way anymore? Have your cake and eat it too with The North Face Jammu jacket. It's one of the first waterproof soft shells made with Polartec NeoShell, a new tech that is much more breathable, quiet and stretchy than traditional hard shells.
The Jammu is a standard three pocket design: a zipped chest pocket and two zipped handwarmers. The hand pockets are extremely tall and zip up from the bottom, allowing easy access over a harness or your pack's hip belt and also providing additional venting through the mesh pocket backing. The adjustable hem drawcords are inside the pockets.
The adjustable hood is well articulated and unusually tall, making it very easy to fit over high-volume helmets like our lightweight fave, the Petzl Meteor III. One thing we always look for in a jacket is a chin guard that comfortably fits over the chin when zipped, and the Jammu does that nicely. No cranking your neck forward to warm up your Dudley Doright.
The overall fit of the Jammu is tailored, except for the sleeves which are on the long side. That's nice for those of you with a high ape index – you know who you are, banana-face – and for those of us who like a little coverage over the hands. The NeoShell material lives up to its hype, breathing like a teenager watching after-hours cable. Unlike said teenager, NeoShell is quiet too, which seems like a minor thing until you have to live in your jacket on extended trips. It's great to see Polartec reclaim the textiles technology crown with its new materials. Try it, you won't go back.