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christos nicolaou

Huner Bierce
PSIA Ski Instructor
Hunter Bierce is a PSIA Ski Instructor and multidisciplinary outdoor professional.

PRODUCT REVIEW

Jack Wolfskin Go Hike Softshell

With their water-resistance, breathability, and general comfort you can find a use for a good softshell jacket in most any sport or season. They’re known for their adaptability and baseline utility, with wide applications ranging from the dog park to overnight expeditions.

Jack Wolfskin’s Go Hike Softshell, keeping with their more urbane approach to outdoor apparel, is a sleek and serviceable while retaining the resilience necessary in outdoor technical wear. While it feels more metropolitan than rugged, the Go Hike Softshell nevertheless has merit as a crossover jacket you can take almost anywhere.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Reasons to buy

  • Moderately priced and serviceable softshell
  • Elastic fit is comfortable and looks great too
  • Slimmer and more packable than the majority of the competition
  • Available in specific men’s and women’s cut
  • Water resistant near the top of the zipper

Reasons NOT to buy

  • Not warm enough for more technical uses
  • Two pockets is seldom enough for most serious hikers
  • Not everyone is going to like how tight the cut is

Overview

Flattering outdoor gear is hard to find, and style can be a tough sell when there’s something reassuring about the tactile ruggedness of Gore-Tex. Thankfully while Jack Wolfskin may opt for “tightness over toughness” and “form over features” in this instance, the Go Hike Softshell is true to its name and is an adequate choice to bring along on your next foray down trail.

Without a doubt, the Go Hike is much lighter on considerations dedicated to outdoor use than what you would get from a “performance” jacket. With its feature set limited to a miserly pair of pockets, this jacket is more appropriate for the occasional dip into the mountains rather than a “do-all” piece of gear to stake your life and limb on.

But, as mentioned above, it’s warm and packable enough for any low stakes adventure you can dream of. During testing we experienced some serious rain, the like of which the Go Hike passed surprisingly well.

Jack Wolfskin Softshell Front View

Jack Wolfskin Go Hike Softshell: Key Specifications

  • Full polyester construction
  • Stormlock Softshell fabric for water and wind resistance
  • Stretchy and breathable
  • Fixed hood
  • 2 Pockets

Where to Buy:

Weatherproofing

I don’t think I’ve ever tried a softshell jacket that has been able to completely withstand the rigors of a wet winter storm, but softshells as a whole have come quite a ways in the last decade or so.

The Go Hike employs the very popular three layer build that has nearly become standard in this category of jacket, and to great effect. Most softshells on the market have a similar design made up of either nylon or polyester, with a water-repellent treated outer shell, a layer of flexible insulation, and a plush inner liner. With it’s polyester construction and proprietary rip-resistant “Stormlock Fabric” water-resistant properties, you should expect some incursion of water in a deluge or gale force winds.

But on two occasions when we were subjected to thunderstorms the only significant amount of water that got in was at the shoulders where the backpack straps facilitated leakage.

In realistic hiking conditions like a cool fall morning with a biting and persistent breeze, or misty spring days with steady rain, the Go Hike makes a more comfortable alternative to bulky heardshells. Cold weather, however, highlights some of the drawbacks of the Go Hike’s trim appeal.

The amount of insulation within the jacket itself is necessarily limited- which on one hand lets it be breathable and impressively lightweight, while on the other making it less appropriate for late fall and winter. In regard to the fit, it’s nearly impossible to layer efficiently underneath the form-fitting fabric- ruling out anything more than a base layer for additional insulation.

That being said, it does open up the opportunity for additional layering on-top of the jacket, but more on that later.

Jack Wolfskin Softshell Hoody Front VIew

Comfort and Breathability

As alluded to above, the Go Hike is a bit of a departure from the big and boxy builds we’ve come to expect from typical soft shell construction. In many ways, it’s closer in spirit to a windbreaker in both its limited bulk and low-profile fit. There’s a limit to how comfortable polyester can actually be, but definitely not disappointing in that regard. I wouldn’t call it a next to skin layer by any means, but it’s comfortable enough to be used with minimal coverage, a sheer t-shirt or a tank top will do.

As a result of the trim fit and low-heft, it’s notably stretchy and flexible. Movement isn’t at all impeded in common places like across the shoulders or when reaching up and across your back. The low loft and flexibility also lend themselves to high breathability. While not unique amongst softshells as a category, it notably outcompetes anything in the “true” softshell category that weighs more than it.

When you consider these two factors together, the Go Hike makes a very sensible midlayer and opens up the possibility for more technical applications to the casual, fashion conscious mountaineer.

Jack Wolfskin Softshell Side View Close Up

Features

The Go Hike is light on features for a jacket as a whole, and this more than anything else really limits its utility in more serious sporting applications. The pockets are limited to two standard sized at the waistline and a hood. While it’s better to have these considerations than not, their usefulness is limited by a couple of factors.

To start, aside from being limited in number (we would love to see a zippered chest pocket), the pockets are located right where a hip belt, climbing harness, or waders would cut across the waist. In other jackets designed specifically for hiking or outdoor activities, pockets are usually located a little higher across the torso so they’re actually accessible regardless of the activity you’re pursuing. The hood, much in the same way, is great for keeping the rain off of you while jogging, but in no way is voluminous enough to accomodate a helmet.

In fact, the lack of features–the minimalism of the shell–proved really nice for jogging and trail running. The breathability proved equally nice.

 

Jack Wolfskin Softshell Side Pockets

Value and Other Models

The Go Hike isn’t considerably more affordable than many alternatives with similar weights and feature sets. There are plenty of alternatives out there that will give you more bang for your buck in terms of overall functionality, but at a certain point with this jacket, you’re weighing how it looks right alongside tech specs- easy to rationalize to the right person.

In sum it’s at the lower end of “high-quality” softshells price wise, several steps above generic jackets you can grab for a pittance from any large-scale retailer.

Jack Wolfskin knows their audience, and for a brand that aims almost exclusively at outdoorsy urbanites this jacket is reasonably priced for something that can work hard, and look good while doing it. Below we’ll cover some closely related alternatives to the Go Hike, but for a closer look at other options including softshells and more, venture toward our top waterproof jackets page.

Taking a look at the market at large, the most competitive models out there are built around specialized niches- the closest we’ve found to something like the Go Hike is the Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody. It’s nearly double the price, but balances a fashion forward focus with top tier technical design. If you like the aesthetic appeal of the Go Hike but don’t want to compromise on function, you can do no better.

Patagonia Galvanized is another hot name in the softshell racket for it’s boundary-blending totally waterproof approach to a flexible jacket. Though it’s less breathable than most of the other options out there, people in cold, wet environments who need something more flexible than a hardshell (think midwinter ski touring in the PNW) for high-output activities should give it a serious look.

Finally, as an alternative that leans into lightweight and packable properties of the Go Hike, Mountain Hardware’s Kor Preshell pushes the boundaries of what’s possible. Spiritually closer to a windbreaker than an actual jacket, this ultralight outer layer packs down to a fist-sized bundle with a carabiner loop for hands-free carrying. I’d recommend the Kor Preshell for anyone drawn to the Go Hike’s low profile, and are unconcerned with practicality outside of niche outdoor applications.

Jack Wolfskin Softshell Inside Pocket

Bottom Line

The Go Hike Softshell is everything we’ve come to expect from Jack Wolfskin- sleek and metropolitan-minded while retaining more than a modicum of outdoor practicality. I’d recommend it primarily to people looking for a double duty outer layer for spring and fall.

With its relatively light weight and low-volume it could also make a decent midlayer for anyone who wants to stretch its usefulness a little beyond its intended purpose.

Some of the Divein team enjoyed it as a jogging shell, for its breathability and simplicity. That puts it solidly.

See the complete list of the best Water Shoes here!

What We Like

  • Moderately priced and serviceable softshell
  • Elastic fit is comfortable and looks great too
  • Slimmer and more packable than the majority of the competition
  • Available in specific men’s and women’s cut
  • Water resistant near the top of the zipper

What We Don’t Like

  • Not warm enough for more technical uses
  • Two pockets is seldom enough for most serious hikers
  • Not everyone is going to like how tight the cut is

Where to Buy:

Where to Buy:

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Jack Wolfskin Softshell

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    What is the point of a softshell jacket?

    Softshell jackets, while not as waterproof or windproof as a true rain jacket, nonetheless are popular and practical outer layers due to their high degree of breathability and inherent flex. They do an adequate job of keeping you dry and warm in inclement weather, and are most useful for high output activities like running, cycling, climbing and more.

    For some of our favorite softshells and more, have a look at our top waterproof jackets page.

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    Is Jack Wolfskin a good brand?

    Jack Wolfskin is a well-renowned manufacturer of outdoor gear with more than enough experience making technical equipment to have earned their mettle. That being said the brand also caters towards an alpine clique community that is more interested in the appearance of ruggedness than they are performance. Nonetheless, from outwear to tents, Jack Wolfskin has plenty of serviceable products out there any enthusiast should consider investigating.

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    Can you buy Jack Wolfskin in the U.S.A?

    Jack Wolfskin is widely available via 3rd party resellers such as Amazon, but have recently opened up their first direct to U.S. online store. For a closer look at what this famed European gear manufacturer has to offer, take a look at our reviews of their Expedition Trunk and Go Hike Softshell.

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    Is Stormlock waterproof?

    Jack Wolfskin’s Stormlock is their proprietary take on 3 layer jacket construction. Stormlock jackets are windproof, warm, and reasonably water resistant provided it’s not typhoon season. To see the technology in action, check our review of their Go Hike Softshell for a full performance breakdown.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What are the best softshell jackets?

    Softshell jackets are a highly specialized product in the outdoor world, with a wide range of styles and feature sets to accommodate particular sports. To see some of our favorites, and a few equally suitable hardshell, venture over to our top waterproof jacket article. For a sneak peek at the latest and greatest, here are a few of our favorites from across the industry.

    Best softshell jackets:

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