The Valparola is every bit a winter soft shell: cut from a reasonably thick, fleece-lined fabric and with an excellent, cavernous hood. It has a great array of pockets – 4 in total and all good-sized and easy to access, even when wearing a harness; and lengthy pit zips that help spill heat when pressing hard uphill. The fabric is super-weatherproof, repelling water and snow effectively; but it doesn’t feel as breathable as the others in the men’s selection. The cuffs are long and adjust with Velcro, but they are too tight to pull up, a real bug if you do start overheating. The hem is a good length and has drawcord adjustment, which works well. I loved the high collar, which really does feel snug when it meets a cold northerly, and I was also really impressed with the amount stretch in the fabric, this helps with the fit and will make it an ideal soft shell jacket for winter climbing or scrambling. I have no doubt it will work well for skiing and walking too. At £180, it’s not cheap; but the performance matches the price and this really is a good alternative to a hard shell for winter use.
Gear review by Tom Hutton @MTBGuiding