“The grinder hike from Multnomah Falls up to Ponytail Falls really makes you sweat,” wrote our tester after a week of hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. “And this shell kept me dry inside and out.” After slogs in foggy, humid conditions, he gave the stretchy, air-permeable Polartec NeoShell laminate a near-perfect breathability score.
Another tester shared the jacket with his partner on a trip up Alaska’s Mt. Hunter, and neither missed having pit zips. On a fast ascent of Mt. Whitney, the same tester reported that the hood fits well over a helmet, stays on in gale-force winds, and “sheltered my head and face so well I felt like I was sitting in a tent.” The cut is roomier than average, a plus when worn over a parka but too baggy over just a baselayer.
Gripes: The extra material and the convergence of zippers and seam tape between the four chest pockets—two inside, two outside—cause a bulge that impedes the view of one’s feet. And all testers struggled with the sticky waterproof front zipper.