Softshells – Rig, or Rig Light? Which one is right for you?


We often get asked about the differences between our Rig and Rig Light Softshells.  We wanted to address these questions with a brief overview of softshells, what they do and when to use them.

What is a Softshell?

Softshell has become a rather large category in performance textiles.  In general, a softshell is a stretch woven, or knit that is breathable, wind and water resistant.  Softshells are typically used for high energy aerobic activities where you need protection from the environment, but you also require efficient heat transport and moisture management.  The stretch properties of softshell also make these garments easy to move in and more durable around seams.


Both the Rig and Rig Light Softshells are built out of a 4-way stretch Tweave© Durastretch© fabric.  The main difference between the Rig and the Rig Light is that the Rig Softshells have a layer of fleece laminated to the Durastretch© fabric.  This layer of fleece is going to add extra insulation for additional warmth in colder environments.  Because the Rig Light Softshells don’t have the fleece laminate, they are going to be lighter, more packable and will be better in moderate temps.


The Rig Light Jacket and Pant are going to be slightly more packable because they don’t have the extra layer of fleece laminate.  Here’s a comparison of the Rig Jacket and the Rig Light Jacket next to a 32oz Nalgene bottle:


A5 Rig and Rig Light Jacket Features

A5 Rig Pant Features

A5 Rig Light Backcountry Pant Features

Which one is right for you?

Both the Rig and Rig Light Softshells are designed to be worn in active use profiles, so it really comes down to temperature range.  If you are planning to be in cold – extreme cold temps, you’re going to want to go with the Rig Softshells.  If you’re going to be in more moderate temperatures and you’re trying to save weight, you’re probably going to want to go with the Rig Lights.

It’s also important to think about what might integrate the best with your existing kit.  For instance, if you paired the Rig Light Backcountry pants with the A2 Longjohn, you’re going to get similar cold weather functionality as the fleece laminated Rig Pants.  When the weather, or seasons shift, you can ditch the long johns and you have a super breathable pant for moderate to warm weather.

We designed the entire Axios system to be customizable to your specific use profile.  If you ever have any questions about which garment will work best with your existing kit, or if you have questions about what to bring on your next adventure, please reach out to and we’ll get you squared away.

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Leave a Reply


  1. hilary maguire

    Good morning
    I’m sure I’m not the first to approac5you folks but it’s worth a shot. I am heading to Antarctica and recently bought one of your fleeces! It does everything you advertised. I was wondering if you had any products that maybe I could “field test” for you?
    Thank you for your consideration I will be more than happy to supply my APO address if you say yes.

  2. Thanks for the article! I really like my PCU pants and was looking for jacket as light as them. Rig Light Jacket like a good addition to PCU pants. I couldn’t find softshell jacket witout fleece for a very long time and I’m happy to find your site.

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