The Columbia Men's Ascender Softshell Vest does it all while maintaining a high level of performance. The outer softshell layer is soft, quiet, and repels the weather. When I was caught in a passing shower, the Ascender's Omni-Shield beaded up the rain drops perfectly. Never did it cross my mind to question the durability of the vest even when bushwhacking. The inner layer of fleece will keep you warm on those chilly spring mornings. The vest was cozy enough for me on a breezy 50 degree day with only a long sleeve t-shirt underneath. Still, the vest is very breathable for when you are climbing a hill on your day hike or powering through a turn on the slopes. Columbia keeps it simple with three zippered pockets. The two hand pockets are lined with fleece, and the chest pocket will keep your essentials handy. Another great feature of this vest is the adjustable drawstring on the bottom hem which just takes a second to tighten in order to keep a cool wind out. The Ascender was not too baggy nor was it too tight. It fit well over several layers and was still comfortable when I put a jacket on over it. The only feature I would change for this vest would be to produce it in some brighter colors. At $72, this vest is affordable and is completely worth it. As with all softshells, make sure that you use a detergent specifically made for softshell products to clean this vest. When you use regular laundry detergent it ruins the durable water repellent coating (thus you will be soaking wet the next time it rains, snows, etc.).
While this vest is in a men's style, Columbia puts out some awesome women's style vests. Check them out here.
The Ascender on Columbia's website.
Please reply with any questions or comments!