This streamlined shell achieves a low weight-to-performance ratio without scrimping on features. “When I hiked a 44-mile one-way on Oregon’s Rogue River Trail, I had a 40-liter pack and no raft support, so I didn’t have room for bulky clothes,” says a tester. “This thin Active Shell model was the obvious choice, due to its reliable waterproofing and packed size (think demi-baguette).”
She also praised breathability: “When you walk all day in a jacket, you know whether or not it is moving moisture. This one breathes so well I didn’t get sticky, even on humid spring days.” Our testers also liked the next-to-skin softness of the inner lining. “Of all the Gore-Tex jackets I’ve worn, from Paclite to Pro Shell, this one performs the best under aerobic conditions in foul weather,” says a Colorado tester who used his jacket for 70-plus days of winter skinning and spring running. Sacrifices: No pit zips or interior pocket, and a stiff price.