One of your best options for an extra-thin softshell is the Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody. In some ways, this Black Diamond product is geared towards climbing. The hood is helmet-compatible (which is also useful for skiing, biking, etc.), but can be cinched down to fit nicely over a hat.
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody Review
The Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody has a built in fit in the arms and torso allows for unrestricted reaching (in other words, it’s relaxed fit makes it easy to move in), and it packs into a chest pocket with a carabiner loop for clipping into your harness.
That being said, I think it fits well for just about anything. And with Black Diamond’s new line of women’s clothing ladies no longer have to buy the (broad-shouldered and super long-sleeved) men’s version!
Keep in mind that the Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody is a minimalist layer, therefore it is not going to provide you a ton of warmth when you’re hanging around town. Their website recommends it for weathering “gusts and light weather.” But if you’re moving around, it will keep you more comfortable than the traditional softshell due to its fit and breathability (and it is surprisingly water-resistant).
If I’m worried about compromising on warmth with this extra-thin layer I throw in a vest. Vests are great for insulation while you’re moving, as their design is naturally vented.
If you often catch yourself reaching for your hardshell jacket, but wanting something a bit less bulky and sweaty for when the weather is moderate then the Black Diamond Women’s Alpine Start Hoody ($159.00) is a great alternative.