When you’re far from the trailhead or a long way from home, it’s nice to have gear that’s both comfortable and functional.  GoLite’s Wind River Jacket is a backcountry accessory that scores high performance marks, and it’s fashionable enough to wear to the lodge when your adventure is done.

GoLite Wind River jacket

GoLite Wind River Jacket Features

  • Wind-resistant, eco-friendly softshell fabric
  • Durable Water Repellant (DWR) finish
  • Added reinforcement in high abrasion areas
  • Articulated wrist cuffs
  • Bonded sleeve pocket
  • Two zippered hand pockets
  • Relaxed fit
  • Weight 620g (1 lb 6 oz)
  • MSRP $175

GoLite Wind River Softshell Jacket Review

As its name implies, GoLite gear is made with one primary objective: providing functional performance with as little bulk or weight as possible.  The Wind River shell is designed with long trail days in mind, with styling to accommodate a daypack, harness, or other essential gear you need along the way.

Plush interior lining for comfort and warmth

The outer shell is a soft brushed stretch fabric that provides good breathability and allows full range of motion in all directions, with a plush interior lining that feels super comfortable against the skin.  Its front panels and sleeves are reinforced for improved wind resistance, with a somewhat coarse outer surface.  The coarse fabric stops just above the wristline, however, so the soft material is available to wipe against your brow without scratching up your face.

Dual cuffs: thin compressive layer, relaxed outer layer

With a relaxed cut, the Wind River can easily be layered over a microfiber shell, but isn’t too baggy to wear over a single base layer.  I’ve used it over a short-sleeve tech shirt for outdoor activities with temps in the upper 30s, and with a thicker layer or midlayer underneath I’d be comfortable into the mid 20s.  The cut is ideal for hiking, but probably a bit too roomy for serious trail running, with a hemline that’s a little high for MTB riding.  At the wrists, there are actually two cuffs: an interior, slightly compressive one, and a roomier outer sleeve; the net result is a relaxed look that still provides a secure fit.

High pockets for access above backpack waistbelt

Styling of the Wind River is quite attractive, and the jacket could easily pass as casual everyday wear for the times between camping trips.  If you’re wearing the jacket for a casual night out, the location of the hand pockets may seem a little too high, but not so much that it feels completely awkward.  However, for long hiking days, the placement of these pockets is ideal to allow full access even with a backpack waist strap clasped in front.  The arm pocket is large enough to hold an energy bar or small camera, but doesn’t have a media cord slot for mp3 players.

Good Wind River

  • Excellent wind resistance and insulation
  • Comfortable interior lining for long hours of wear
  • Ideal fit for wearing over a midlayer, or alone over a baselayer
  • Stylish design for casual wear

Bad Wind River

  • Limited crossover application for MTB or running
  • Unusual hand pocket positioning for casual use

Bottom Line: GoLite Wind River Softshell jacket

Made for the backcountry but equally suitable for kicking back by the campfire, the GoLite Wind River Jacket is a ruggedly comfortable general-purpose outdoor jacket.  It’s not ideal for hardcore workouts, but is highly recommended for lower intensity multi-hour use.

Buy Now: Find Fleece Jackets at REI (GoLite is out of business)

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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