The Outdoor Research Vanguard is definitely one of the most technical soft-shells out there. It is built with 3L Gore-Tex with an insulating fleece layer for warmth. Soft-shells also offer a bit more breathability than hard shells and it’s pretty decent on the Vanguard. It also has some pretty cool pit-zips that extend a bit more to the front of the jacket allowing for some pretty good venting. One downside is that the Outdoor Research Vanguard only has fleece in the torso, and not the sleeves, but I found it to be pretty warm despite. It does have a bit more relaxed fit, so you have plenty of room underneath for layering on the really cold days. It also has stretch material allowing for better movement. The Outdoor Research Vanguard has a ton of great pockets, and a removable/adjustable hood and powder skirt. It also comes with a RECCO reflector for in-bounds avalanche detection. Overall, the Outdoor Research Vanguard is one of the most bomb-proof soft shells I’ve seen, and it’s great for both in-bounds and out-of-bounds riding. It may be a bit warm for backcountry travel, but the extended pit-zips and good breathability help drop heat pretty well. For resort-riding it offers a ton of protection from the wet and the cold, and with a relaxed fit there is plenty of room for layering. Soft shells often tend to be a bit more comfortable and the vanguard is no exception.
Jacket Size – S
Normal Specs– 5’10”, 160 lbs,
Upper Body– 34.5” Chest, Torso Length 23” (collar bone to pant button), Shoulder Width Approx 22”, Arm Length 18.5” (pit to wrist)
Lower Body– 30” Waist, 38” Hips, 30” Inseam, 22” Thigh
Turn On’s: Active fit jackets that fit well around my chest and torso, but don’t restrict movement. Size S Pants that have a bit more room in my thighs, that way I can actually use my pockets.
Turn Off’s: Size S Jackets that are too tight, and Size M jackets that are too loose in the waist. I really don’t like a loose waist that can allow cold air in, and I don’t like having to cinch down the waist. I also don’t like jackets that ride up when I’m skiing, The jacket should stay in place. Pants that fit too tight in the thigh, and I can’t use my pockets.