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Hardshell vs Softshell: The Differences Revealed

Going out on an adventure is much easier when you are confident that you have the right clothing to stay warm and dry, regardless of the weather.

Hardshell Fabric HARDSHELL FABRICS PROVIDE FULL WEATHER PROTECTION
Softshell Fabric SOFTSHELL FABRICS ARE BREATHABLE AND STRETCH FREELY TO ALLOW MAXIMUM MOVEMENT

Hardshell

Your outermost layer is a key element. A hardshell provides the most weather protection. Hardshells are fully windproof, waterproof and breathable. Arc'teryx hardshells are made of GORE-TEX® fabric technologies. The different technologies are engineered to meet specific performance needs, from prolonged, intensive use to very compact emergency storm shelter.

  • Full storm protection
  • Windproof
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Outermost layer

Softshell

Softshells are flexible and air permeable, meant to protect but not to provide shelter. Best suited to better weather, without much precipitation, softshells excel at maintaining a comfortable temperature during high exertion and are exceptionally mobile, moving freely and easily.

  • Water repellent
  • Air permeable
  • Breathable
  • Highly mobile (has stretch)
  • Protective mid layer or outer layer
Embroidered Hardshell Fabric TIGHTLY WOVEN HARDSHELL FABRICS RESIST ABRASION WEAR ON THE OUTER AND INNER SURFACES
Softshell Fabric A SOFTSHELL'S FLEECE INNER FACE IS COMFORTABLE NEXT TO SKIN AND PROVIDES MID LAYER WARMTH
Hardshell or Softshell: Evaluate the conditions you anticipate to be the most frequent and make your choice accordingly. Consistently wet weather is best managed with a hardshell; better conditions offer the opportunity to wear a softshell.