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Shells



Fall Gear Guide 2013: Hardshells

Beat the elements with armor-like protection.

Gear Review: More Tester Picks Shells

Find your ideal shell with these myriad reviews.

Gear Review: Wild Things Custom Wind Pro Hoody Softshell

Make a statement with this custom softshell from Wild Things.

Gear Review: Marmot Nabu Softshell

The waterproof Marmot Nabu bridges the gap between softshell and hardshell.

Gear Review: Rab Zephyr/Solar Softshell

The Rab Zephys/Solar pairs a multitude of features with one low price.

Gear Review: Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody Softshell

Explore off the beaten path with this durable softshell from Arc'teryx.

Gear Review: Mammut Ultimate Light Softshell

Be ready for all weather conditions with the Mammut Ultimate Light.

Gear Review: adidas Outdoor Terrex Zupalite Softshell

This ultralight adidas softshell excels in everything from daily life to daring ascents.

Gear Review: Westcomb Crest Hoody Softshell

For cold weather activities, check out this softshell from Westcomb, a minimalist in price and weight.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Enchainment Softshell

The sky is the limit for this weather-resistant softshell from Outdoor Research.

Gear Review: Patagonia Encapsil Down Belay Parka Hardshell

What do you get when you make a down jacket water resistant and increase its loft? The Patagonia Encapsil Down Belay Parka Hardshell.

Gear Review: Millet Alpine Xcelerator Hardshell

This well-rounded hardshell from Millet suits the most varied of lifestyles.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Transonic Hardshell

Choose the Outdoor Research Transonic for breathability in the worst of conditions.

Gear Review: Salomon Veyrier Stretch Jacket Hardshell

Freedom of movement defines this hardshell from Salomon.

Gear Review: Patagonia Torrentshell Hardshell

Spend less with this all-around performer from Patagonia.

Gear Review: Montane Minimus Smock Hardshell

Go minimalist with the Montane Minimus Smock.

Gear Review: Marmot Micro G Hardshell

Stay snug in a storm with the Marmot Micro G.

Gear Review: Westcomb Focus LT Hoody Hardshell

Breathability and ultralight combine in this hardshell from Westcomb.

Gear Review: Bergans Helium Hardshell

The breathability of this hardshell from Bergans provides comfort in all conditions.

Gear Review: Rab Myriad Hardshell

For comfort in Myriad conditions, look no further than this hardshell from Rab.

Gear Guide 2013: Charts

Hundreds of pieces of outdoor gear from all the major outdoor retailers - now in an easy-to-print digital format.

Gear Review: The North Face Radish Mid Layer Softshell

A killer softshell that performs both as an outerlayer and a midlayer.

Gear Review: Stoic Microlith Softshell Pullover

A softshell and baselayer in one.

Gear Review: Sage Quest Insulated Softshell Hoody

This angler-worthy jacket keeps your torso toasty and your arms free.

Gear Review: Rab Baltoro Guide Jacket Softshell

Warm and fuzzy on the inside, durable on the outside.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Salvo Softshell

Mediating breathability and weather-proofing, the Salvo does exactly what a softshell is supposed to.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Alakazam Softshell

This breathable softshell combats weather like the best hardshells do.

Gear Review: Helly Hansen Racing Light Softshell

This sleek softshell was built for speed and temperature regulation.

Gear Review: Icebreaker Kodiak Hood/Arctic Hood Softshell

Feel good, look good, and perform at your best in this high-tech merino softshell.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012: Softshells

These versatile jackets repel wind and wet.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012: Hardshells

Stay protected from the elements with these nine hardshell picks.

Gear Review: The North Face Split Hardshell Jacket

A lightweight hardshell for under $200.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Mentor Hardshell Jacket

A great all-around jacket that handled a month straight of wet weather and rough hiking.

Gear Guide 2012: Hardshell Jackets

Core protection for any weather and environment

Gear Guide 2012: Softshell Jackets

Stay dry and comfortable on the move with these breathable softshells.

Gear Guide 2012: More Tester Picks - Softshells

Lightweight and durable, these softshells provide solid weather resistance.

Gear Guide 2012: More Tester Picks - Hardshells

Extreme weather protection and breathability make these hardshells great performers when it comes to rough conditions.

Gear Guide 2012: The North Face Alpine Project Shell

This shell's design enhances moisture transfer and provides both wind-proofing and water resistance, making it the most versatile.

Gear Guide 2012: Marmot Vapor Trail Hoody Shell

A stretch material allows for excellent range of motion while its overall cut leaves room for layering.

Gear Guide 2012: Arcteryx Gamma SL Hybrid Hoody Shell

The Gamma SL's design achieves optimum flexibility while creating a great fit.

Gear Guide 2012: Outdoor Research Mithrilite Jacket Shell

This multi-use shell demonstrates high performance weather protection with a breathable design.

Gear Guide 2012: Helly Hansen Odin Light Softshell

The Odin Light offers a unique design that focuses on versatility as well as comfort.

Gear Guide 2012: Rab Scimitar Shell

This is the go-to shell for alpine activity providing great breathability and impressive weather protection.

Gear Guide 2012: Helly Hansen Odin FastPack Shell

With smart details and great versatility this shell delivers protection and breathability all in one lightweight package.

Gear Guide 2012: Stoic Stash Shell

This shell handles wind, rain and snow like a pro offering versatility and a great fit.

Gear Review: Westcomb Switch LT Hoody Shell

This shell was built to take on the toughest conditions with ease providing heavy-duty protection with superior breathability.

Gear Guide 2012: MontBell Versalite Shell

This featherweight shell is full-featured with ultralight wind protection and a relaxed cut.

Gear Guide 2012: REI Kimtah Shell

The Kimtah offers excellent weather protection and breathability at a bargain price.

Gear Guide 2012: Columbia Compounder Shell

The Compounder's design helps you stay completely dry and comfortable in the most wet conditions.

Gear Guide 2012: Millet LTK Active Shell

This shell is great for the fast-and-light climbing crowd offering excellent breathability and low weight.

Gear Guide 2012: Montane Trojan/Athena Shell

If it's breathability you want, it's the Trojan/Athena that you need.

Gear Guide 2012: Mountain Hardwear Quasar Shell

Maximum protection and great breathability help make this shell a force against the toughest conditions.

Gear Guide 2012: Outdoor Research Helium II Shell

Reliable weather protection in a light-weight package.

Gear Guide 2012: Patagonia Super Cell Shell

This shell can handle any kind of weather and is both protective and comfortable.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Hardshells

Protect yourself from the worst of nature in these hardshell jackets.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Softshells

Eight softshell jackets from super breathable to warm and cozy.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Vigor Jacket

An extremely lightweight and tough jacket that's only $70.

Gear Review: Patagonia Nine Trails Jacket

This hoodless Patagonia jacket is extremely breathable.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Shadowland Jacket

A windproof jacket with a warm, brushed tricot lining.

Gear Review: GoLite Kenai Jacket

This waterproof, windproof jacket loves crappy weather.

Gear Review: Arc'teryx Celeris Jacket

A great jacket for trail runners at only five ounces.

Gear Review: The North Face Leonidas Jacket

A stretchy, three-season jacket

Gear Review: GoLite Malpais Jacket

A ridiculously light shell that also blocks wind and rain.

Gear Review: Marmot Ether DriClime Jacket



Gear Review: Stoic Welder Lo Jacket

The perfect three-season jacket.

Gear Review: Rab Boreas/Aurora Pull-on Jacket



Gear Review: Sierra Designs Hurricane Accelerator Shell

A hooded, seam-taped, DWR-treated rain jacket for kids.

Gear Review: Ruff Wear Cloud Chaser

A primo softshell jacket...for your dog.

Gear Review: MontBell Thermawrap BC Jacket

A light, warm, synthetic layering piece ideal for damp conditions and active pursuits.

Gear Review: MontBell Tachyon Anorak Jacket

An extremely light and extremely packable windshell.

Readers' Choice Issue: Reader-Rated Gear

Our official test team logged more than 2,337 miles and 263 nights in the backcountry to find the best gear for every type of hiker.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Alibi Jacket

A stretchy softshell jacket that is perfect for dayhikes

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Hardshells

Repel rain, cold, and snow with these hardshell jackets.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Softshells

Find a jacket that's suited for highly active, cold-weather activities.

Gear Review: Helly Hansen Verglas Pants

Softshell pants that are waterproof, breathable, and abrasion resistant.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research TrailBreaker Pants

Breathable softshell pants for skiers that log logs of vertical.

Gear Review: Westcomb Skeena Hoody

A weather-resistant shell that's as warm as a sweater.

Gear Review: Marmot Up Track Jacket

This wind resistant yet breathable softshell is great for layering.

Gear Review: Salomon XT Wings II Softshell Jacket

An ultralight softshell that wicks.

Gear Review: Rab Exodus Jacket

A midweight softshell that's multiseason.

Gear Review: The North Face Kishtwar Jacket

This softshell provides maximum breathability and weather protection.

Gear Review: Helly Hansen EkoLab Rapide

This eco-friendly jacket is everything you'd expect from a midweight softshell.

Gear Review: Columbia Turn-'N-Go Softshell Jacket

A bargain softshell that's cozy and great for aerobic activities.

Gear Review: Westcomb Cruiser Jacket

One pound of all-purpose protection

Gear Review: The North Face Lockoff Jacket

A good looking jacket with plenty of storm protection.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Mantra Fusion Jacket

A versatile ski shell at a great price

Gear Review: Rab Kinetic Rain Jacket

An ultralight hardshell jacket for under $150.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardware Axial/Emporia Jacket

A versatile hardshell that's lightweight and breathable.

Gear Review: Mammut Adrenaline Jacket

Reinforced shoulders and three-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric make this jacket super tough.

Gear Review: First Ascent BC-200 Jacket

An all-conditions jacket that's under $200.

Budget Apparel Guide: $100 Rainshells

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.

Gear Review: Columbia Hail Tech Rain Jacket

A cold-weather rain jacket that's $90.

Gear Review: Helly Hansen Vancouver Rain Jacket

A $100 jacket which doesn't skimp on features.

Gear Review: MontBell Thunder Pass Rain Jacket

The most bomber shell in our test.

Gear Review: Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket

There's nothing this bargain rain shell can't do.

Almost Editors' Choice 2010

These five finalists were close to the tops for our editors–for you they may be perfect.

Gear Review: Millet 350

This lightweight shell is mountain ready.

Gear Review: White Sierra Tempest Tek Jacket

Total rain protection at a happy, happy price.

Gear Review: Merrel Norgate

A do-it-all rainshell with a roomy cut.

Gear Review: Patagonia Simple Guide Jacket

A streamlined softshell that packs up small and cuts the wind

Fall/Winter Gear Guide: Hardshells

These six hardshell jackets will keep you covered in any weather.

Gear Review: REI OXT Airflyte Running Jacket

This hoodless jacket is breathable and stretchy, perfect for aerobic activities.

Gear Review: Rab Latok Alpine Jacket

This '08 Editors' Choice Award winner is still a staff favorite.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Revel Jacket

This Outdoor Research jacket was deemed "most comfortable" thanks to its stretch Pertex Shield fabric.

Gear Review: ARC'TERYX Alpha SL Pullover Jacket

Pulling this jacket over many layers is a breeze with the elbow to hem pit zip.

Gear Review: Westcomb Revenant Hardshell

This Westcomb hardshell is at its best in extreme, wet conditions.

Gear Review: Millet Aerial Max Evo Hardshell

This Millet hardshell is a great climbing jacket due to its high range of motion.

Gear Review: Ground Essence All-Season Shell

This lightweight, breathable hardshell comes complete with a transponder.

Gear Review: ARC'TERYX Squamish Pullover Jacket

Soak up the sun in this windproof ARC'TERYX pullover.

Gear Review: The North Face Valkyrie Jacket

This cold-weather The North Face jacket comes complete with handwarmer pockets.

Gear Review: REI Taku Waterproof Jacket

This waterproof, hooded REI jacket is stretchy and breathable.

Gear Review: Cloudveil FirsTurn Hooded Jacket

This Cloudveil jacket is great for wind, snow, and light precipitation. And it's under $200.

Gear Review: ARC'TERYX Gamma LT Pullover Softshell Jacket

This ARC'TERYX pullover is the perfect mix of baselayer and jacket.

Outfit Your Kids: Fall '09 Kids' Gear Reviews

Want to enjoy more time on the trail? It's simple: Bring the whole family, but make sure the kids stay comfortable with gear built for them.

Fall Apparel Guide 2009

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.

Apparel Guide 2009: Shells

In a 2000 BACKPACKER raingear review, the average jacket weighed 20.6 ounces. Nine year later, that's down as much as 65%–and these six entries are more breathable to boot.

Gear Review: GoLite Mckenzie Reflexion Jacket

Waterproof and breathable, this hard shell is perfect for cold places and pursuits.

Gear Review: Millet Super touring Jacket

This all-around soft shell keeps the drizzle on the outside and warmth on the inside, right where it belongs.

Gear Review: Mammut Lobuche Shell

New technology makes for a super breathable, go anywhere hard shell

Gear Review: Marmot Nano Shell

Weighing less that 10 ounces this ultralight shell withstood 3 days of torrential rain.

Gear Review: REI OXT Airflyte Running Jacket

This high intensity, breathable jacket is perfect for fast day hikes and cross training.

Gear Review: Patagonia Houdini Ultralight Shell

Trim fitting, highly durable, and easily packable, this is one shell you'll never question packing.

Gear Review: The North Face Trajectory Hybrid Ultralight Shell



Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Tempo Ultralight Shell

With a fleece lining, and Gore Windstopper fabric, chills are blocked and breathability is excellent.

Gear Review: Marmot Mica Ultralight Shell

While editors were wringing out their socks, nothing penetrated the Mica's waterproofing.

Gear Review: ARC'TERYX Alpha SL Pullover Ultralight Shell

With a puffy insulated layer and the clean anorak design, this ultralight did the trick in wet Welsh weather.

Online Exclusive: Ultralight Shells

These versatile jackets weigh less than a pound and pack smaller than a grapefruit.

Review: Merrell Carbon Shell

This durable shell is hefty enough for four-season wear.

Field Test: Global Apparel for Men

Get technical layers that work everywhere from hotel bars to high-mountain trails. Our testers vetted more than 50 products from the Alps to the Andes to bring you these top systems.

Review: Core Concepts Monsoon to Market

Core Concepts Monsoon to Market effortlessly transforms from satchel to shell.

Women's Fall Gear 2008

Our female testers pick their favorite gear for fall hikes.

The Denali Test: Gear for America's Highest, Coldest Peak

Our tester spent 18 days climbing, camping, and evaluating gear on America's highest, coldest peak. If his picks made it there, they can make it anywhere.

Extreme Layering: All-Purpose Clothing

For all-purpose performance year-round, this layering system works overtime through any weather.

Extreme Layering: Rainy-Weather Clothing

Don't let a crappy forecast keep you home for the weekend. Just pack this deluge-tested system.

Extreme Layering: Hot-Weather Clothing

From the Grand Canyon to sunshine-pounded Colorado peaks, stay cool and comfortable with this ultralight system.

Extreme Layering: Cold-Weather Clothing

Our testers faced raging blizzards, pounding hail, frigid temps, and 60-mph winds to select these top clothes.

Extreme Layering: Clothing for all Weather Conditions

Wild weather coming? We've devised a perfect system for every condition.

2008 Apparel Guide: The Outtakes

We couldn't fit all of our reviews in one spot. Here, read the outtakes.

Field Notes: The Latest Word from Our Testers

True-blue reviews on the latest items we've taken out on trail.

Puffy Jackets

Made with down or synthetic fibers and paper-thin shells, these puffy jackets weigh less, loft higher, and pack much smaller than fleece.

Clothing Review: Westcomb Syncro Pants

Proven extra-tough after 30 straight days of hiking

Apparel Review: More For Your Money

Budget shopper or big spender? We have the perfect three-season layering system for you.

Stone Cold Campers

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.

Getting Navy SEAL Gear

How to acquire your very own Navy SEAL Protective Combat Uniform.

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