The KnifeRidge Was Discontinued in October 2017
Earning our Editors' Choice Award in 2017 is the Patagonia KnifeRidge. It outdid the competition by providing the best balance of wet and windy weather protection and breathability, high-quality construction, and a spot-on feature set. Ready for action all over the mountains and in all kinds of conditions, this model performs especially well in high winds. Leave your heavier hardshell behind in mild winter conditions when donning the KnifeRidge, which our testers decided was their favorite for technical alpine activities. Although it isn't 100% waterproof, it resists water absorption and wetting out better than any other model reviewed. For folks who like to have one jacket for a myriad of winter uses, the KnifeRidge is tough to beat and maintains an impressive capacity to take a beating while remaining breathable and mobile. The biggest downside to this piece is its high $450 price tag, considering that you can buy other top-scoring softshells for much cheaper. (If the KnifeRidge's price has you down, check out the $199 Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Shell, which won our Top Pick Award for Skiing and shares many technical attributes with the Patagonia model.)
While we loved the KnifeRidge overall, it isn't for everyone. For example, if you are in need of a softshell that breathes as fast as you do and while still providing some protection from wind and driving spindrift, consider the Best Buy winning Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody.