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Do you want to purchase a hiking jacket but don't know how to direct your search? Are the terms 2, 2.5, 3 layer jackets, Schmerber, MVTR foreign to you?

Don't panic, Muule has put together a short guide to help you make your choice in a simple and informed way.

Essential equipment for any nature lover, the hiking jacket is a very technical garment often resulting from many years of research and development.

Benefiting from the latest advances in textile fibers , increasingly responding to the eco-responsible aspirations of nature enthusiasts, the hiking jacket is today as efficient and comfortable as it is versatile and elegant , for everyday use in the city as well as at the mountain.

The different types of jackets: hardshell or softshell

There are two main families of protective jackets, softshell on the one hand, and so-called hardshell models on the other.

A softshell is a garment halfway between a fleece and a jacket . Above all designed to protect from the wind and provide you with good thermal insulation , it is however not waterproof but only water-repellent , that is to say resistant to light humidity and light rain for 30 to 60 minutes. In return, breathability is maximum.

Offering a soft contact , made from a stretch material guaranteeing excellent freedom of movement, a softshell is worn close to the body and is particularly suitable for active practice in cool and dry weather, in particular hiking, climbing, cycling, or Nordic skiing.

Softshell jacket

Softshells generally use the same type of construction with an insulating inner layer and an elastic windproof and water-repellent outer fabric.

A hardshell jacket is a traditional protective jacket. Both waterproof and breathable , this type of product is therefore intended to face rain, humidity, wind, etc.

Not providing heat , it is worn over a fleece and/or a down jacket depending on the weather conditions and the intensity of your effort.

This type of jacket offers great versatility, whether in terms of activities (hiking, trail, skiing, cycling, sailing) or the weather, making it an essential accessory all year round .

Any hardshell jacket has a more or less thick outer fabric to ensure abrasion resistance, a membrane guaranteeing protection against humidity, rain and wind, and an internal lining.

However, there are three types of construction: 2, 2.5 or 3 layers.

Hardshell jacket

The different constructions: 2 layers, 2.5 layers, 3 layers

A so-called “2-layer” construction is the classic system for protective jackets. Here, the outer fabric and the membrane are glued together to become one. Inside the jacket, there is a floating lining guaranteeing comfort and durability by protecting the internal side of the membrane.

Having proven itself, this type of construction makes it possible to offer effective jackets at a competitive quality/price ratio .

More robust and more elaborate, a 3-layer construction offers the advantage of greater freedom of movement, since the three layers - outer fabric, membrane and lining - are welded to form a single and homogeneous whole. This often results in a closer fit to the body and increased protection in all areas. On the other hand, this type of jacket is generally a little heavier and bulkier because it is thicker but, on the contrary, offers versatility and, above all, maximum durability .

Intermediate system, the 2.5 layer construction allows you to benefit from a very good level of protection, excellent breathability and maximum freedom of movement . Less robust than the 3 layers, this type of jacket is characterized by very light weight and low volume , making it the model of choice for sports enthusiasts (trail, cross-country skiing, ski touring, cycling, etc.)

Concretely, a 2.5 layer jacket does not have a lining inside the jacket. The membrane is simply coated with a protective film, thus guaranteeing lightness and compactness.

Concerning the membrane, the best known is undoubtedly the Gore-Tex® developed by the Gore® brand, but there are many others that are just as efficient, such as the Pertex Shield® or the in-house membranes developed by jacket manufacturers. themselves.


The central characteristic of a protective jacket, waterproofing is expressed in Schmerber; we also speak of a water column . So 5,000 Schmerber is equivalent to a water column of 5,000 mm.

The hardshell jackets that you will find on Muule offer waterproofing ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 mm overall ; the value appears in the technical description of our product sheets.

A jacket offering a protection level of 5,000 mm can protect you from light to moderately intense rain for 2 to 3 hours , but not much more. It is necessary to consider
this type of jacket more like an auxiliary jacket than a real protective jacket. However, they offer a very attractive price and are often easy to slip into the bottom of a bag due to their low weight and bulk.

Waterproofing is measured in Schmerber and is often between 5,000 and 20,000

A jacket measuring 10,000 to 15,000 mm ensures great versatility by covering a wide spectrum of use: hiking up to medium mountains, trail running, cross-country skiing, etc.

If you are looking for maximum protection allowing you to calmly plan your outing whatever the terrain and/or weather, a 20,000 mm jacket
will be the most relevant choice.

It is important to point out that a jacket that is both perfectly waterproof and breathable does not exist . In fact, a protective membrane is made up of
micropores. The narrower and tighter these pores are, the more they will provide a barrier against the elements but will also prevent sweat from escaping

It's all a question of balance and priority depending on your use (moderate pace hiking, trekking or Nordic skiing or high intensity hiking, etc.).


In addition to waterproofing, the breathability of a jacket is essential to guarantee its comfort of use as well as its level of performance since it expresses its ability to evacuate perspiration to the outside of the garment.

The value is most often expressed in MVTR (for Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate ), corresponding to the quantity of water vapor that the membrane lets pass through.
24h. It's easy to find your way around because the values ​​are identical to those for waterproofing.

Thus a jacket offering an MVTR of 5,000 offers average breathability , satisfactory for low to medium intensity efforts.

An MVTR of 10,000 to 15,000 means that the jacket is very breathable and will be suitable for most situations while a jacket offering an MVTR of 20,000 or more ensures a very high level of breathability , ideal for enthusiasts of intense efforts.

The appropriate level of breathability for you will be guided in particular by your practice

The accessories

In addition to the level of protection and breathability, the difference between two jackets will also be based on their level of accessorization: hood, type and number of pockets, ventilation, etc., all of which are certainly additional elements but which can change everything in the use of a jacket.

Hood : this can be fixed or removable. The adjustment can be achieved by a simple elastic cord or a more advanced multi-point system in order to adapt perfectly to your face and, possibly when wearing a helmet (mountaineering or cycling).

Finally, some have a semi-rigid visor to ensure that water doesn't run down your face.

With or without visor, removable, simple or multi-point adjustment, the visor is available in many forms

Ventilations : for those who practice intensely, a jacket equipped with zipped openings, generally at the level of the armpits, is a real plus by facilitating ventilation and thus allowing better evacuation of perspiration and optimal regulation of body temperature

Pockets : side pockets, Napoleon pockets, chest pockets, zipped or not: the location and number of pockets plays a big role in the price of a jacket because these are sensitive areas for waterproofing requiring special attention.

It is above all a story of taste and practice. Thus, jackets suitable for climbing/mountaineering often have raised pockets allowing them to be used while wearing a harness.

Pockets, vents: these details have a big impact on the use of a jacket

Tightening at the wrists and waist: depending on the model, these adjustments can be made using Velcro straps or elastic drawstrings.

These are of great importance when you find yourself in extreme conditions because water and wind pass through the extremities first.

While most hardshell jackets have this type of adjustment, this is not necessarily the case for SoftShell models.

In any case, you must keep in mind that the higher the level of accessorization, the more it will have an impact on the price of the jacket.

A well-fitted jacket guarantees optimal protection

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