Winner for Best Women’s Minimalist Softshell Jacket
Patagonia has a strong reputation for putting out women’s softshell jackets that excel when used for backcountry skiing and ice climbing, and the Levitation does not disappoint. It’s a rather simple shell with Durable Water Repellant (DWR), no lining, and a highly flexible fabric. It breathes through strenuous activity, but still responds well to moderate rain, wind, and snow. The fabric has a quick dry time after a complete wet out, but doesn’t repel water nearly as effectively as the rest of the softshells Active Junky reviewed. The arm cuffs are made with a fabric that provides stretch, and the hood has a rigid insert at the brim and adjustment draw cords in two areas, with another at the waist. This softshell jacket is very comfortable during spirited activity.
Field Notes: The Patagonia Levitation faced the same chilly and wet tests as the other women’s softshell jackets we reviewed. It was on the lighter, thinner spectrum but still the DWR fabric gave it solid water resistance and mid-level wind resistance. This softshell jacket packs a lot of weather resistance per ounce, so we issued it an additional challenge and threw it in the pack for a trek through balmy Vietnam. First and foremost it didn’t weight much or take up much space, which is huge when going as lightweight and minimalist as possible. Second, it did exactly as needed: providing a layer of warmth for the occasional ocean breeze, keeping the rain from soaking through when a tropical storm hit, breathing well in warmer temps, and drying quickly so it could be packed away when needed.
Tester Comments: “After landing in Hanoi, the Patagonia Levitation spent the next week or so either in the bottom of my pack, or doubling as a pretty comfortable pillow on overnight trains. However, our arrival in Huế was marked by rainfall of varying intensity. It definitely wasn’t cold outside, but we had planned on a day of exploring the old Imperial Citadel, and didn’t want to be completely soaked while doing it. I threw on the softshell jacket and was pleased with its ability to shed light drizzle. The inevitable downpour proved more of a challenge for the material, but overall, it held up well. That night I hung up the jacket and it was dry by the next morning; which was great, as it was back to the bottom of my pack as we headed further south into sunnier climates again. The Levitation was a great pick for my trip, it performed exactly how and when I needed it to and the rest of the time, it folded up nicely and took up minimal space in my small pack.”
Key Attribute: Fit
- Water, wind, and abrasion resistant
- Variable Conditions Cuff
- Microfleece lining
- Drawcord hem (via handwarmer pockets)
- Internal wind flap
Size: S - XL
Weight: 13.9 oz
Material: [body] 100% polyester stretch, [cuffs] 88% nylon, 12% spandex, DWR treatment