Will Renwick explains why he chose Columbia’s Whisper Creek as his Best Buy softshell jacket when he tested eight of the latest options on the market

There’s little in the way of bells and whistles on this freshly released jacket, but when it comes to water resistance and protection from the wind I found it performed excellently.

It’s made from Columbia’s tightly woven fabric, Omnishield, which has a medium thickness and average stretch compared to the other jackets tested. Overall this made for a top that felt comfortable over just a baselayer and that also proved a great option in cold and windy conditions when pulled over a fleece.  It offers ample space for a thick layer underneath, especially around the armpits, which is often a tight area for me. The handwarmer pockets are the most comfortable of all the jackets tested thanks to their microfleece lining – and I found the chin guard comfortable as well.

I usually find Columbia’s jackets can be a little on the large side but this has an athletic and short cut, plus an adjustable hem. There’s no adjustment on the cuffs however, just an elastic that didn’t hold around my wrists. In windy conditions I had to keep my hands in my pockets to stop the cold blowing up my arms. The pockets were slightly too small for access with a hipbelt. These are small complaints considering the high performance from this jacket’s fabrics and the fact it’s one of the cheapest tested.

Reviewed April 2016