We travel to the Alps quite a bit, and even for normal hiking. I was in need of a new Jacket, but I was looking for a good quality soft-shell which would not break the bank. I set a few mental “must-haves” while looking; at least 3 zip pockets, water repellant, and slightly long in the arms. Personally, if the sleeves are slightly longer it wears better with base layers or when carrying a backpack. I looked a many different brands (i.e. Mountain Hardware, North Face, Patagonia, Mammut, Haglöfs, Marmot, Salewa, and Berghaus) but many of them were made with special technical fabric which either set the price well above 200 CHF / USD or felt cheep which troubled me considering the longevity.
I was surprised to find the Jack Wolfskin Nucleon Jacket. It is wind resistant, water repellant, fleece lined, three zip pockets, Velcro wrist straps, fixed hood with elastic adjustment in the hood and waist. The sleeves are cut slightly long with thumbholes, accommodating neck space, and bi-direction underarm ventilation zippers.
I’ve worn this, with or without base layering in varying temperatures but would recommend it from 13ºC down to -4 ºC (~55 ºF to 25 ºF). The underarm zips are great, because you can open them up from either direction which is perfect while wearing a backpack, or a small child.
This is a great jacket when it is windy and the hood is a good shield without the need for a beanie. In fact, during a recent windy snow hike, I was too warm hiking up hill, shed the beanie, and used the only hood. The stitching is high quality, and the seams, Velcro, zips, and drawstring points are well designed. I wasn’t looking for an orange jacket, but this was a fun color with nice blue accents.
The only negative: the fabric is perhaps so good; they could not get their logo to stick on the back right shoulder. But perhaps it was from the sling bag I’ve been carrying (i.e. potential abrasion). All in all, it’s my new favorite jacket. Get one if you can, I haven’t see this on the Jack Wolfskin website, but if the rest of their products are as good quality as this one, you should not be disappointed.
Another review can be found here.