First things first; this jacket looks hot. Go try one on if you can and see how well the cuts and dimensions were designed. I personally think the North Face competing softshell looks a little too "techy", as if it was made only to wear with an iPod. Also, the Mt Hardwear color selection is much better; even the atypical colors look very good. My personal favorite (even over my normal black) is "Shark" (steel gray) which looks and feels (a little) like real shark skin. As far as performance goes; if you NEED a raincoat, go buy a raincoat. The Synchro has definitely proven itself in my eyes as a solid unhooded water barrier, even for a softshell, but if you plan on catching water balloons or visiting Sea World, you need to get something that doesn't look as good, doesn't breathe as well, and isn't as versatile.