Last fall Tools of the Trade got Carhartt to send me a Soft Shell Hybrid Jacket to try out on the jobsite. I typically wear fleece or a hooded sweat shirt and was looking for something that would be good in light rain or heavy mist.
The jacket has several features that make it practical for work. It isn’t water-proof and that’s ok; I have rain gear for that. But it is water-resistant, so a light rain doesn’t soak through. The body is made from thin nylon quilt—which I like because it’s not too warm and I prefer to layer. The shoulders and portions of the arms are made from a tougher polyester/ripstop nylon blend with grid-textured fleece bonded over it. I can carry lumber on my shoulder without fear of instantly wearing out the fabric.
The Hybrid Shell has a pair of zippered side pockets and a zippered side-entry chest pocket large enough to hold a smartphone in a rubberized case. A media port allows me to pull the cord for my headphones into the pocket from inside the jacket. The hood is nice and large and the bottom of the jacket has a bungee so you can close it against the wind.
I really like the Soft Shell Hybrid Jacket. It’s roomy enough so I can layer and windproof so I can stay warm when it’s windy and cold. And it looks good enough to wear outside of work. The only issue I’ve had with this jacket is that the fabric is so smooth my nail bags tend to slip down when I wear them over it. It’s nothing serious—just a minor annoyance.
The Soft Shell Hybrid Jacket (style J294) comes in black only in regular and tall sizes. The MSRP is $150 but I’ve seen it online for less than $100.