Simms Windstopper Softshell Jacket Review

Simms Windstopper SoftShell Jacket

Specifications

Material: Gore Windstopper Soft Shell Fabric
Polyester microcheck fleece lining
YKK center front zip
High fleece lined collar
(2) zippered chest pockets
(2) zippered hand warmer pockets
Adjustable cuffs
Shock cord hem
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Retail price: $199.95

What’s the word….?

The Simms Windstopper SoftShell Jacket is sorta like the Swiss Army Knife of outdoor jackets, in that it covers a wide range of situations when you need it. For those that spend time outdoors, the fleece jacket has become a basic necessity, and many of us might own, like five or six. I live in mine. The Windstopper SoftShell fleece fabric is from W. L. Gore and Associates, who are the pioneers in the field of waterproof/ breathable fabrics. This cozy WindStopper fleece, unlike other fabrics that appear very similar, is completely windproof and highly water resistant, attributes that can increase the thermal efficiency of this fleece fabric up to 200% over conventional fleece. So, what that means to you is a soft, good looking, well fitting jacket that breathes comfortably on a mild day, but can turn away wind, or even a light rain, when the weather turns unexpectedly nasty. It provides reliable insulation on its own, or layered over garments and under a waterproof shell during extreme conditions. The YKK center front full zipper, high fleeced lined collar, corded hem and tabbed cuffs all allow for easy adjustments as the temperature travels up or down.

Fit and Finish….

Almost all, even folks that never leave the city, own and wear fleece jackets these days. Fleece made the eventual twenty year journey from arcane backpacking and mountaineering stores to racks in the department stores because of its light, breathable, stretchy, comfortable, quick drying and relatively durable nature. These garments come in a wide array of fleece finishes, but more importantly, they come in a wide range of quality. The Simms Windstopper SoftShell Jacket, along with a few close relatives from leading mountaineering companies, is at the top of the heap when it comes to functional fleece.

The rugged stretch nylon outer fabric provides superior abrasion resistance, similar to a hard shell jacket. Two large, zippered chest pockets can store glasses, phones and other accessories, while the zippered, mesh-lined hand pockets are warm on cooler days. The polyester micro check fleece lining has maximum thermal efficiency and the WindStopper properties keep wind and moisture out while maintaining comfortable breathability.

The Simms Windstopper SoftShell Jacket is cut and sewn on a pattern that allows a greater freedom of movement of the arms and shoulders than the most other fleece jackets. This is an extremely important feature in a jacket that will be used for fly fishing; if you can’t lift your arms to cast without resistance from the rest of the jacket, you’re going to be tired and frustrated, so fit is paramount when selecting in this category.

Although Simms Gore-Tex waders are made in Montana due to the greater technological demands of these products, their garments, like every other manufacturer’s, to my knowledge, are made overseas in Asia. Of course, some of the very finest needlework in fashion clothing originates there, so in most cases, it’s a matter of setting high standards for quality control. And that’s just what Simms has done; the workmanship on the Simms Windstopper SoftShell Jacket is impeccable, plus the garment carries a lifetime warranty.

Softshell blocks wind and rain while offering pliable comfort and warmth of midweight fleece
Soft yet rugged stretch nylon shell with soft and very warm microcheck interior
High, fleece-lined collar for addtional protection from the elements
Large zippered chest pockets
Zippered, polyester mesh-lined hand warmer pockets
Adjustable cuffs
Adjustable shock cord hem

Company Profile … Warranty

Here’s what Simms says about their warranty;

“At Simms, we stand behind everything we make. If your Simms product fails due to workmanship or material defect during the life of the product, please return it to us for repair or replacement. This warranty does not cover damages caused by improper care, accidents or the natural breakdown of materials over extended use and time. All defective or damaged products should be returned to Simms for evaluation and will be repaired or replaced at the discretion of Simms Fishing Products.”

Simms was the pioneer in the fly fishing world, creating the first waterproof/ breathable Gore-Tex waders in 1993. Since then, they have successfully grown to become the largest domestic supplier of waders, boots, and fly fishing clothing in the fly fishing industry. Simms is one of only three manufacturers worldwide licensed to make Gore-Tex waders, and the only one that does so in the United States. Simms’ staff is largely comprised of committed anglers and they’re located in the heart of trout country; Bozeman, Montana. In a continuing effort to improve their products, at any given time, Simms has two to three hundred prototypes being tested in the field by professional male and female fishing guides, and other outdoor professionals. I can’t think of many other manufacturers that are that dedicated to getting things right. On this success, so far, I would guess that Simms will be around to back their warranties for a long time.

Overall Rating; 4 out of 5 Stars

The quality materials, workmanship, design, and good fit make for an incredibly comfortable, and versatile, piece of basic outdoor clothing. As I said, you’ll find yourself wearing this jacket to the grocery store, as well as out fishing and hiking. Expect this product, with minimal proper care, to be extremely durable and provide many years of service.

Pros

Soft, cozy Gore Windstopper SoftShell fleece provides warmth and breathability like other fleece fabrics, but is also windproof and highly water resistant, increasing thermal efficiency by over 200%. This versatile, all-around outdoor jacket will even protect you if you’re caught out in a light rain without your shell. High collar, adjustable cuffs and hem with zippered hand warmer pockets. Well made.

Cons

Fancy, high tech fabrics lend themselves to a more costly garment; $200, in this case. Conventional, yet high quality, fleece jackets usually run about $110 to $160. Windstopper is heavier than regular fleece.

Bottom Line

One of the most versatile, and functional, outdoor insulation pieces that you can own for fishing, hiking, or just knocking around. Good looking, too.

Check out the best fly fishing layering.