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Columbia Titanium Soft Drop Soft Shell Jacket : the "Best Stuff"

Columbia Sportswear claims that their Titanium line of products comprises their “best stuff” for high-performance outdoor gear. Well, I’m definitely impressed with their Soft Drop soft shell jacket.

We tend to have a damp chill here in western Washington, despite our relatively mild temperatures, so ordinary fleece jackets don't always get the job done. Columbia's new Soft Shell (don't worry, those of you who don't like pink; the jacket comes in black and in white) really cuts the chill better than any fleece or soft shell I've worn in the past (at about $50-100 less than other soft shells).

I love wearing my sleek black Soft Drop jacket around town and to work every day. I've also worn it cross country skiing several times, and it's the first jacket I grab for power walks in the cold. On a recent ski trip, the Soft Drop worked great as a top layer over a merino wool turtleneck. When we stopped for lunch and I cooled down, the Soft Shell became a non-bulky mid-layer under my parka.

While pumping my arms in the classic ski touring style, the specially designed radial sleeves didn’t tug or restrict my movement at all. And it’s definitely highly breathable, an absolutely mandatory feature for performance gear in my book. This jacket also kept me comfortable and dry when the wind and wet snow picked up.

I also like the soft inner lining of this jacket. In addition to two zippered pockets perfectly placed on each side for keeping my hands warm if needed, there's slightly diagonal zippered pocket above the left chest—an easy place to quickly stash and retrieve keys or lip balm. My favorite feature--glove loops on each sleeve to make sure I don't walk or ski off without my gloves. Handy.

Of course, I'm not above mentioning that I've received MANY compliments while wearing my Soft Drop jacket. The styling is trim and sleek while providing maximum warmth. And I have to admit, while wearing this high-tech performance jacket I feel like such an athlete—a label I’ve coveted since I was a teenage ski racer.

Bottom Line: This high-performance soft shell jacket truly performs. The Soft Drop soft shell jacket is an asset out on the mountain slopes or trails.--(J.I. Dec '05)

Price: $100-110

Manufacturer's Site: www.columbia.com

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.

 
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