Ascender Softshell Jacket

Columbia's Ascender Softshell Jacket is a warm, durable softshell in a style suitable for campsites and cities. Its bonded softshell material is resistant against both wind and water, protecting you from the start of a summer shower when the tent's only halfway set up.

  • Softshell is a versatile, all-season piece for camping or casual
  • Bonded, contoured softshell fabric is wind- and water-resistant
  • Adjustments at hem and cuffs secure the fit
  • Zippered chest and hand pockets for ample organization
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Columbia Softshell Jacket

  • Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

Bought this jacket as a gift for my grandfather. He lives in San Diego, so he did not need anything too crazy but it makes for a good, lightweight jacket and I figured he would use it with regularity given the climate in Southern California.

Good jacket!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: medium

good for mid to high 40's by itself. Comfortable fit. With another bulky jacket underneath it is a bit tight, but warmer. I would buy it again, or maybe a large to use just as a shell for severe cold. Well made.

Alright non-technical piece of gear

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: Runs large
  • Size Bought: Large

First, my fit specs for those who need it (in imperial) : All measurements are done around the thickest part of that body part.

I lift regularly and am muscular, although not extremely lean.
I wear a 44 regular for suits.

42 Chest
33 Sleeve
33 Waist
17 Neck
15 Bicep
14 Forearm

The Good:

This jacket fits great with a little room for a thinner layering piece in the arms. The body has ample room for a down vest for extra core warmth. The fleece backing feels nice and soft against skin, and provides a little extra warmth.

The jacket breaks the wind(heh) and shrugs off light drizzles as advertised.

The Bad:

The left zipper will always rub up against your chin, resulting in a scratchy sensation that is honestly quite annoying.

The seams in the sleeve are sewn together and not flattened against the wall of the fabric, resulting in a long protrusion the entire length which rubs and scratches your arm as you move about- not a problem if you're wearing a long sleeve garment underneath. The seams are also not sealed and very obvious on the outside of the fabric, so if water were to slide right into the crack, you'll start to feel some moisture leak through


The hard faced fabric, the dwr, and wind resistance are great. If obtained at the modest 60$ that I did, it is awesome. Though, at original price of 120$, I would expect way better design choices from the team at Columbia. It falls short in terms, but could be better if they improved the quality of life things like flat sewn, sealed seams and a better zipper that doesn't scratch the chin.

This is definitely a softshell for non-technical outdoor things like standing in line for the pub, or moving between cars and buildings. As the description says, "For casual, work," and it fits the bill perfectly.

Columbia is stepping up their game

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs large
  • Size Bought: Small

What comes to mind when you think of Columbia? Maybe a step above retail store quality? Patagonia's ugly second cousin twice removed? Yeah me too. But my friends, we are wrong. I don't know how or when it happened, but Columbia has been quietly and progressively killing it. And, yeah, this this jacket is no exception.

Can we start with how impossibly comfortable this jacket is? It's loose but not baggy; flattering yet non-constrictive. The color stands out but isn't obnoxious. I would even venture to say that the heavenly microfiber fleece that lines this garment may indeed have been fabricated at Vesuvius by the Greek Gods themselves. Seriously though, the entire jacket (pockets and chin guard included) are lined with this ridiculously soft fleece.

On the outside, you'll find tough, tear resistant material that is somehow unimaginably....soft....How!? It defies physics. It also has a solid DWR coating, kills wind, is crazy adjustable ( hood, cuffs, waist), and looks dapper from the trails to the city.

Runs a tad bit large as do most Columbia garments, but this allows you to layer underneath if need be.

It's patagonia quailty without the price tag. Hands down one of my favorite technical layers.

Get it.

Unanswered Question

I'm looking for a jacket that will keep me warm for around town and local hikes. Is this a good enough insulator for temps in the 40s with some wind?