Windproof and water-repellent softshell jacket review
If you're looking for a performance related, low bulk outdoor jacket then a wind stopper/ soft shell jacket needs to be at the top of your shopping list. A softshell jacket can offer the user protection from chilly winds and provide insulation for warmth to provide an activity jacket for whether lounging around at a campsite/ base camp, cross country skiing or on a winter hiking/ snowshoeing trip.
Standing in my Quechua Bionassay Softshell jacket
Key features of the Quechua Bionnassay Softshell Jacket
- Main fabric- 83% polyester, 10% polyurethane, 7% elastane Soft shell. Developed by Stratermic concept for Decathlon.
- Softshell has a Windproof membrane for protection
- Stretch fabric provides freedom of movement
- Fabric is also water repellent
- Longer length cuffs include thump holes
- Breathability provided by zipped side vents and mesh lined pockets to allow heat escape.
- Sizes available S to XXXL in Men's and Women's XS to XXL
Bionnassay Softshell Jacket in a great bold azure blue
Review of the Quechua Bionnassay Softshell Jacket
While this jacket forms part of Decathlon's Quechua outdoor clothing range the Bionnassay tag denotes that its purpose is geared towards mountaineering. However as with a lot of outdoor clothing the mountaineering elements have a great crossover into other activities too.
The fit is a little closer to the body to ensure warmth however the stretch in the fabric counters this and means the jacket is great for activities involving your upper body. Having used the jacket for a spot of ice climbing I would say that this jacket definitely has sufficient stretch in the arms and shoulders for rock climbing and ice climbing.
The hood has a snug fit however no adjustment cords so it is recommended to try the hood before you purchase if you feel you will need to use the hood as part of your activity. I have found the snug fit and stretch fabric is fine for underneath a helmet for climbing.
The hood can get a little fiddly and annoying as the jacket appears to have been designed to be worn with the hood up- fully zipped up the hood protrodes slightly backwards. If the zip is undone slightly the jacket tends to flap to the side as shown in the image above taken on a trip to the Pyrenees.
A great extra the jacket has is extended cuffs which feature a stretchy fabric cuff. This helps to seal in body heat and also allows you to slide a glove over the top of the cuff for layering comfortably. I find them to be comfortable and non restrictive however I have relatively slender wrists.
The jacket is best worn over a wicking base layer and is a great mid layer when coupled together with a good quality waterproof jacket.
Extended fabric cuff with thumb loop
Value for Money of the Quechua Bionnassay Softshell Jacket
At a price of £59.99 gbp / 69.95 euro this jacket is at least 2/3rds the price of the equivalent product in a softshell from a named outdoor brand such as the The North Face or Mountain Hardware.
An equivalent product from an outdoor brand would likely use a Gore Windstopper fabric as it's softshell fabric and this therefore would lead to a premium in the price due to the premium paid to Gore for the use of their fabrics.
For a review at this price this it an excellent value softshell jacket that performs well and looks good. It is ideal for hiking in cooler conditions, rock-climbing and ice-climbing, cross country skiing and personally I expect it to get some use downhill skiing on the piste as well as making my way around resort.
The Bionnassay Softshell features 3 zipped pockets. A chest pocket which is on the small side however seems to be a current fashion trend for outdoor products. I find it fine for a set of keys, mobile phone or small compass for when on the move however will carry very little more.
The jacket features two zipped pockets on the left and right above the waist. These are often inaccessible when using a hiking rucksack with support straps across the waist so be aware of this if you are a walker or tend to like to carry a sac for your chosen activities.
Dog Sledding in the Bionnassay Softshell, Andorra
Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on September 11, 2012:
Thanks Murilo- I agree with you that the hood can be a bit of a challenge at times. Ideally it should have a drawcord. The simplicity of the cut detracts from the fit of the hood when it is not used.
I use a size small jacket and have not had issues with harnesses and the side pockets while climbing however if I used a larger size medium I believe there would be an issue with pocket access
The chest pocket seems to be a bit of a fashion statement at present for outdoor clothing.Especially with the contrast pocket edging. I can usually fit a small compass in the pocket but realistically it's not ideal for anything larger.
I feel that decathlon have created an excellent jacket for the money however a few slight adjustments could make it an excellent jacket in any price range.
Murilo Lessa on September 11, 2012:
Interesting review. I used the same jacket for alpine climbing and just would add a few remarks:
1. The wrist is really tight making it a bit uncomfortable if you have other layers underneath or a watch on your wrist.
2. The hood is fine but can be a pain to put. You need to open the jacket quite a lot in order for it to embrace your head, is not just pull.. A bit fiddly if you have slings around your chest and need to open the zipper in order to have space to bring the hood up and over your head.
3. The side pockets are ok but their height just gets in between the harness so it's a pain in the ass to fully open them
4. The pocket chest is really small and you cannot even fit a compass into it.
Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on August 23, 2012:
Igor. Google Deacathlon to find your nearest store or for online purchases.
Igor on August 23, 2012:
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Help me, please, where can I buy it?
Contact, please, on firstname.lastname@example.org
Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on December 31, 2011:
Thanks Bob, You can happily link to this or any of my pages if you wish. I find it strange how this might relate to NBA Basketball however. I'm sure there's a good reason for you to link. Thanks for the read CF
Thanks BRIAN SLATER too- I may well see you in their over the next few days as I fancy treating myself to another in an alternate colourscheme. I will certainly update the review with plenty of images and information over the winter, especially with regards to washing experiences. I've been wearing this for a month so far and washed it once which has had no negative effect on it's performance.
I would recommend at least a lightweight wicking baselayer underneath as this soft shell is definitely what one would consider a mid-layer
Brian Slater from England on December 30, 2011:
Great review, I'm off to check this softshell out over the next few days. Buying quality clothing that does the job is very important to me and I'm always on the lookout for a bargain. It will be interesting to see how it performs when it's been washed a few times. Maybe you could update your review in a couple of months to let us know. I like items that fit next to skin to have some type of anti-bacterial or fungui repellent as I tend to go light and wear clothing for more than one day. The breathability of these types of product is also high on my wish list. Like you say the price is great, thanks for writing this. Voted up.
bob on December 30, 2011:
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Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on December 30, 2011:
Thanks Dan, for the money it's phenomenal. I've seen photo's on the net of people wearing it in snowstorms without any issue. I like my premium outdoor kit however also find the Quechua Bionnassay stuff to be of a comparable quality for a small fraction of the price.
Dan Human from Niagara Falls, NY on December 30, 2011:
That softshell looks like it has some fantastic features for the price. A hooded softshell with thumb loops is hard to find. I converted to softshells a few years ago for mountaineering and snowshoeing, my favorites being from Arc'Teryx and Marmot. Thanks for the well written review.