Gadling Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift Softshell Jacket

The weather has shifted here in the Pacific Northwest and that means a person can’t just throw on any old thing to ride her bike anymore – or go for a hike, or just a bus ride into town for sightseeing or … you know. It’s windy and sometimes rainy, and it gets cold. It’s jacket weather.

Adidas is known for their sports and outdoor stuff, but I’ve never used any of their gear before. I wrapped my stuff in their Terrex Swift Softshell jacket and rode my bike for 16 miles. That seems as good a way to test a piece of gear for insulation and breathability as any, right? Plus, lucky me, on the last two miles it rained. Yes, I DID stay dry.My biggest issue with outdoor brands – all outdoor brands, not just this one – is fit. I wore a large and really, I’m 5’2″ and SO not a large. The jacket has a narrow cut, it’s a little close in the armpits and the sleeves are narrow; the cut is very close. I could not have worn more than a thin shirt and/or long underwear underneath. Once I got going on my ride, I really appreciated things like the stretchy underarm fabric, but there’s no way I could wear this jacket on over a sweater. That limits the seasonal use for it – fine for warmer weather, but once you need to start piling on the layers, it is not so practical.

It’s actually a great jacket for riding a bike in, though. The sleeves are elastic at the wrist and keep the wind out. You can cinch it at the bottom, too. The pockets are flat and roomy and double as vents if you need that. And there’s a breast pocket that’s perfect for stowing your phone. It’s made of windstop fabric, and while it’s narrow, it’s actually a nice cut if you’re not worrying about cold. It looks great and includes the Adidas trademark triple stripe along the sides for the brand conscious.

You’ve probably gathered that I was cold wearing it. I wasn’t insulated enough for the wind from those fast downhill parts of my ride. I stayed very dry in the rain and the tall collar kept the cold from getting down my neck, but the Terrex jacket didn’t quite do the trick for the conditions in which I tested it.

The Terrex comes for men or women and retails for about $150. Get one size larger than you think you need. Pack it if your travels require an outer layer for something sporty in mild fall weather.

[Image credit: Adidas]

Gadling Gear Review: REI La Porte Jacket

La Poste Jacket from REII love it when it’s time to put away the winter gear – that’s sometime around the end of June in Seattle. You still need a rain shell, though, even in high summer so it’s nice to find something that’s not styled like all your other GoreTex foul weather gear. REI’s La Porte Jacket gives you rain and wind protection and some military styling, too.

As for things I like about this jacket – let’s start with the zippers. The jacket has high-quality metal zippers, not the plastic ones that are so common in most outerwear. The front zip is a two-way zip, as it should be, and the snaps are high-quality metal snaps, too. The zippered side and breast pockets will keep your stuff safe, though the top pockets could be a little bigger – they’re not big enough to hold my phone.

There are a lot of nice styling details. The jacket is cut narrow and it’s a flattering shape. There are big snaps at the cuffs; you can roll them up if you want. The belted waist gives you a bit more curve if you want it. And there’s a lot of surface stitching and panels. With the high collar done all the way up, you end up with something of a ’70s crime fighter look and that is not a bad thing. There’s some nice contrasting color on the inside along with some deeper pockets. And the fabric has a really nice texture to it, a little bit like a raw silk, if I had to draw an analogy.

At just over a pound, the La Porte Jacket is lightweight. It packs down quite small – smaller than my Goretex shells, it turns out. I suspect that’s because it doesn’t have a hood. I’m not sure how I feel about this. If I need a jacket for rain, I’m going to want a hood. However, if I’m looking for a lightweight shell to block the wind or to keep off some very minor weather, the La Porte could do the trick.

The jacket comes in two colors: mushroom (a medium khaki) and a pewter green (a dark sage sort of color). It’s cute; it’s light, and looks great with casual city attire. The La Porte jacket retails for $99.50, directly from REI.