Discover extreme versatility: You'll find a reason to wear this mid- and outer layer 12 months a year.
Stay dry and warm with core protection for any weather.
412 trail-tested products
A versatile fleece midlayer that performs like outerwear.
A jacket revered by a search-and-rescue team.
An outstanding winter performance combo.
Warm, high-tech, and fitted for optimal winter performance.
This coat redefines what warm means.
A versatile and lightweight puffy you won't be disappointed by.
Stay protected from the elements with these nine hardshell picks.
A super breathable hardshell that also offers great protection.
A jacket burlier enough for a BASE jumper.
A shell that offers winter-worthy protection at a year-round weight.
The comfort of a softshell with the protection of a hardshell.
A 3-in-1 system that also works great as separate pieces.
A great fitting, great performing jacket for the ladies.
A lightweight hardshell for under $200.
A great all-around jacket that handled a month straight of wet weather and rough hiking.
Will water-repellent down bags make synthetic insulation obsolete?
A warm, packable down sweater at an affordable price.
Stay comfortable and carry less with these versatile, all purpose pieces.
Get performance summer apparel for less.
These three key pieces will keep you comfortable on the trail.
A do-it-all hardshell for wilderness warriors who want four-season versatility in a light, packable, and impeccably cut package.
A featherweight, 800-fill puffy
Don't let the rainy season of spring keep you off the trail. Enter to win a rain shell a day and hit the trail in style.
Core protection for any weather and environment
Stay dry and comfortable on the move with these breathable softshells.
From a pack that accommodates curves to two sports bras that go the distance, we've rounded up our favorite women's gear of the year.
The Athena's attractively trim fit flatters ladies' curves better than any other rain jacket we tested this year.
BRR Nick, who is also a physical therapist, found lots of back- and budget-friendly gear on Day 3.
Plus, winter boots from Teva that fold as small as regular shoes!
Day 2 had this reporter looking for comfort - gloves, hats, travel pillows, and undies.
Four trail-proven picks from the winners of our Be a Gear Tester Contest
Warning: Wearing this jacket will encourage complete strangers to pet you.
Protect yourself from the worst of nature in these hardshell jackets.
Stay warm with these puffys, fleece, and wool layers.
A 650-fill down jacket that's super warm and packs to the size of a pineapple.
An ideal down midlayer made with 750-fill down and a Pertex Microlight shell.
For those days when a baselayer is not enough and a puffy jacket too much.
A top pick for its combination of warmth, weather resistance, fit, and packability.
A weather-resistant softshell that has strong moisture and odor control.
A softshell jackets that's not too heavy, warm, bulky, or expensive
A softshell with a hood that's ready for any weather condition
The ideal jacket for high-effort pursuits in wet snow and drizzle
This bargain jacket costs less than $100--and it was worthy of an AT thru-hike.
Warmth where you need it most; mobility and breathability where it counts.
A super durable jacket for the multisporter
A super breathable jacket for those foggy, humid hikes
A streamlined shell that achieves a low weight-to-performance ratio without scrimping on features.
Winner of our 2011 Editors' Choice Snow Award
A jacket that combines packablity, breathability, and durability, all at a great price.
This hardcore shell has everything you need to weather a monster blow without weighing you down
A convertible jacket that doesn't compromise
A jacket made for a mountaineer
Don’t muck up the performance of your pants by wearing cotton undies underneath.
Four companies made bold claims about cutting-edge waterproof technology in 2011. So we gathered a dozen rain jackets with the new fabrics and put them to the test in a head-to-head challenge. Verdict: We've never worn a more breathable crop of shells.
Made with Columbia Omni-Dry this full-featured jacket is $40 less than its nearest competitor.
Made with a PTFE membrane made by General Electric this shell was great in heavy rain.
Made with Polartec NeoShell, this versatile jacket is durable and breathable.
Made with Gore-Tex Active Shell this breathable jacket was wearable in a wide range of temperatures.
Windproof jackets for every type of hiker.
A wisp of a rain jacket at a great price
An extremely lightweight and tough jacket that's only $70.
This hoodless Patagonia jacket is extremely breathable.
A windproof jacket with a warm, brushed tricot lining.
This waterproof, windproof jacket loves crappy weather.
A great jacket for trail runners at only five ounces.
Throw the 800-fill Sierra Designs Gnar Hoody for a cozy extra layer.
Maximum warmth for minimum weight
An eco-friendly jacket that performs and won't break the bank
A stretchy, three-season jacket
A ridiculously light shell that also blocks wind and rain.
The perfect three-season jacket.
PrimaLoft, DWR-treated Pertex Quantum, and recycled polyester make this a warm and eco-friendly puffy jacket.
A hooded, 800-fill down puffy.
A primo softshell jacket...for your dog.
Get total weather protection for half the gas.
Get a softshell that's so light and versatile, you won't leave it behind on multiday treks.
Low weight, high warmth, and modest price make this jacket a perfect fit.
Ever wish to stitch additional insulation onto the front of your favorite mid-layer? Your wish is granted.
A light, warm, synthetic layering piece ideal for damp conditions and active pursuits.
An extremely light and extremely packable windshell.
A packable puffy with a sleek, athletic fit.
For weeklong trips that range above treeline, you want gear that's light, protective, and built for abuse.
It's a stretchy winter softshell completely coated in high loft, fuzzy lining. Need we say more?
Has 24 pockets to keep all your gadgets in place
This puffy has high-end weatherproofing and an insulated, versatile hood
A stretchy softshell jacket that is perfect for dayhikes
Our own gear diva met with Martha on December 20th to talk about cold-weather layering. Here's the gear Kristin suggested:
Stay connected, warm and well fed, with these staple gift ideas.
Light on the wallet and on the back...and perfect for hunting salamanders.
A perennial favorite of BACKPACKER editors, the Nano Puff is a no-brainer layer that your gift-ee will use 12 months a year.
This 14-ounce shell is equally at home on the trail or around town, thanks to its reliable weatherproofing, performance features, and plush niceties.
Find a jacket that's suited for highly active, cold-weather activities.
Cool-weather enthusiasts–skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, & winter hikers–will love this jacket.
A three-in-one jacket system...that works.
This lightweight fleece jacket has been a long-time tester favorite.
-20°? No problem for this bargain heater.
A super warm jacket that compresses down to softball size.
Columbia's "Omni-Heat" increases insulation by 20 percent over standard fill.
A core-warming affordable, functional vest.
A versatile jacket that blends in anywhere.
A waterproof ski jacket that's warm as well.
A hybrid softshell/puffy jacket.
A water resistant, down-filled force field.
Our testers endured a year's worth of wet, cold conditions to find six lightweight jackets that will keep your body dry and your wallet plump.
From mild autumn evenings to winter's deep freeze, here's how to stay warm for less.
A bargain waterproof insulated shell that is Rainier worthy.
A synthetic puffy that turns into a neck pillow.
Repel spring (and summer and fall) showers with this eVent jacket.
Having the right boots, packs, bags, and tents is never enough. Here, a roundup of all the other "essential" pieces of gear you'll want in the great outdoors.
Repair any fabric with this super sticky tape.
Fleece sturdy enough to satisfy an Argonaut.
This stretch-nylon softshell jacket is one of the most-worn garments in our gear closet.
This Feathered Friends puffy jacket stays fatter than a StayPuff marshmallow.
This Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket is overkill when you need it.
The toughest, most versatile windshirt around.
These five finalists were close to the tops for our editors–for you they may be perfect.
This lightweight shell is mountain ready.
Total rain protection at a happy, happy price.
A do-it-all rainshell with a roomy cut.
A sweet, packable puffy with big warmth
This synthetic-filled puffy stays warm even in wet, sloppy snow.
This stretchy-baffled down jacket traps mega heat for serious warmth.
Boost the performance of your down gear
Transform your shortsleeve tee to long with these cozy add-ons.
At 10.5 ounces, this jacket worked as a windshell in the Swiss Alps and and handled rain and wind in New England and the Rockies.
Stay toasty with the right fill for your bag and puffy jacket.
This classic windshirt–a favorite of BACKPACKER testers for 15 years–goes green.
Unparalleled breathability and clean, lightweight designs distinguish the year's top shells.
Forget the frills: This shell provides superior breathability with lightweight, all-season protection
These essentials will make your dayhiker the envy of everyone else around the tree.
Whether you're skiing, snowshoeing, running, or hiking this winter, grab one of these softshells.
These six hardshell jackets will keep you covered in any weather.
Stay cozy in all temps with these puffy jackets.
This shell-puffy combo comes with a shorter fit for climbers.
The super warm Rab jacket has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio.
Mount Hardwear combines a puffy with a shell in their Synchronicity jacket.
This featherweight MontBell jacket is perfect for moderate winter temps.
This 700-fill down jacket was an instant tester favorite.
This warm, but not bulky, hoody can do double duty as insulation or outer shell.
This hoodless jacket is breathable and stretchy, perfect for aerobic activities.
This '08 Editors' Choice Award winner is still a staff favorite.
This Outdoor Research jacket was deemed "most comfortable" thanks to its stretch Pertex Shield fabric.
Pulling this jacket over many layers is a breeze with the elbow to hem pit zip.
This Westcomb hardshell is at its best in extreme, wet conditions.
This Millet hardshell is a great climbing jacket due to its high range of motion.
This lightweight, breathable hardshell comes complete with a transponder.
Soak up the sun in this windproof ARC'TERYX pullover.
This cold-weather The North Face jacket comes complete with handwarmer pockets.
This waterproof, hooded REI jacket is stretchy and breathable.
This Cloudveil jacket is great for wind, snow, and light precipitation. And it's under $200.
This ARC'TERYX pullover is the perfect mix of baselayer and jacket.
Kids stay warm and dry with this deluge-proof shell, perfect for everything from family hikes, to waiting for the carpool.
Goal: Help you stay comfortable in any weather. Solution: Hike through two-week-long downpours and hurricane-force winds to bring you the best new gear for every trip.
Understand waterproofing, and you'll pick the right shell and keep it working like new.
Ever seen a cold goose? Slip into one of these cozy down (or synthetic down) heaters, and you'll understand why you haven't.
This midweight synthetic packs small and repels light rain and snow.
This quilted pullover was a go-to jacket all year round.
This puffy is perfect as a midlayer for skiing or a springtime camp coat–and comes in a wide variety of sizes.
This overstuffed puffy was the warmest of the bunch with a high-collared hood and hand gaiters.
This microlight puffy will keep you warm no matter the rain, sleet, or snow.
This close fitting jacket is great for winter cragging, or fast trips from spring trough fall.
Waterproof and breathable, this hard shell is perfect for cold places and pursuits.
This all-around soft shell keeps the drizzle on the outside and warmth on the inside, right where it belongs.
New technology makes for a super breathable, go anywhere hard shell
Weighing less that 10 ounces this ultralight shell withstood 3 days of torrential rain.
This high intensity, breathable jacket is perfect for fast day hikes and cross training.
Bargain shell for rainy weather
This "magic coat" is great for changing conditions.
This rainshell excels with weekend warriors who dabble in a bit of everything.
These versatile jackets weigh less than a pound and pack smaller than a grapefruit.
This puffy layer saves weight without excess cold spots.
Trim fitting, highly durable, and easily packable, this is one shell you'll never question packing.
With a fleece lining, and Gore Windstopper fabric, chills are blocked and breathability is excellent.
While editors were wringing out their socks, nothing penetrated the Mica's waterproofing.
With a puffy insulated layer and the clean anorak design, this ultralight did the trick in wet Welsh weather.
This durable shell is hefty enough for four-season wear.
Plenty of cargo space, an adjustable hood and great air flow, you may never have to take this coat off
Want to make it out alive? Consider packing these 17 items carried by a veteran Yosemite search-and-rescue ranger.
For all-purpose performance year-round, this layering system works overtime through any weather.
Don't let a crappy forecast keep you home for the weekend. Just pack this deluge-tested system.
From the Grand Canyon to sunshine-pounded Colorado peaks, stay cool and comfortable with this ultralight system.
Our testers faced raging blizzards, pounding hail, frigid temps, and 60-mph winds to select these top clothes.
Wild weather coming? We've devised a perfect system for every condition.
We couldn't fit all of our reviews in one spot. Here, read the outtakes.
Stay warm with the Arc'teryx Kappa SV Hoody, Marmot Torrid, REI Ladro Hoodie, and Solstice Cool Ruler.
Check out the Cloudveil Hobak, EMS Aurora Shell Pant, L.L. Bean Ascent GTX, Mountain Hardwear Dragon, and Sierra Designs Cyclone Eco
The best gear in the world can be worthless in the wrong conditions. That's where Backpacker's Perfect System comes in.
Packs, tents, boots, and bags–that's easy. Now comes the hard part: Everything else. Below, you'll find our top picks for all the lust-worthy backcountry essentials you'll need to make your trip safe, fun, and simple.
We found 17 pioneering products that will cut your carbon cost without sacrificing performance.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is waterproof and durable, but the manufacturing process creates carcinogens
From your tent, to your bivy sack, to yourself, learn how to stay dry and comfortable.
Clothing is gear that's just as important as a tent or sleeping bag. We'll help you choose wisely.
Make sure you don't forget a thing with our comprehensive gear checklists for pretty much any trip occasion. Plus, learn how to pick the perfect piece of gear.
Salvage a few more years out of your favorite jacket with these zipper fixes.
Don't overload your pack. Learn how to leave the non-essentials behind and still stay warm.
Cutting-edge fabrics make outdoor gear eco-friendly.
Testing confirms it: You can get a real rain jacket for less than 8 ounces.
How to make your cold months warmer: boots, bags, jackets, backpacks, and booties for frosty weather
Don't let your kid board the bus underdressed this winter
Budget shopper or big spender? We have the perfect three-season layering system for you.
Comfortable, water-resistant fabric earns points lost from this jacket's boxy fit
Keep your wallet and load a little lighter with Outdoor Research, Marmot, and Integral Designs
Stay sweat-free in all conditions with this lightweight shell
Racing a storm to a peak is no time to whip out an inferior rain shell.
You don't have to be a direct Mayflower descendant to appreciate a little Yankee thrift with this rain shell
This super-compact and affordable shell is perfect for the Southwest
This is one of the lightest three-season sleep systems we've seen
3 waterproof secrets from veteran mountaineer Pete Takeda
They kill swiftly and silently. They flit like ghosts through enemy forests. And they will brew you a fine cup of cowboy coffee. Meet America's deadliest hikers as we hump ruck with the Special Forces.
How to acquire your very own Navy SEAL Protective Combat Uniform.
Going sleeveless might save you weight, but will a vest keep you as warm as a jacket?
Make the proper buying decision by first learning the language of jackets.
Getting the right shell has as much to do with personal needs and hiking habits as it does with the quality of a garment.
How to dress smart and stay warm when Old Man Winter blows in.