[lightweight storm shelter]
Here’s a crucible shell test we don’t often get to use: an honest-to-goodness hurricane. “I took the Micro G out in Superstorm Sandy, and it held solid in 60-mph winds, driving rain, sleet, and hail,” reports one Massachusetts tester. He wasn’t entirely surprised: On earlier trips throughout the White and Green Mountains, this shell provided hazmat suit-level protection from the worst weather: “Nary a leak, not even when wind-whipped rain blasted me head-on in 20-mph gusts,” he says. Superior stormproofing comes from smart details like angled Velcro cuffs, a cinchable drop hem that completely protected testers’ rumps from wet packs and drafts, and an adjustable hood that “snugs like a gasket” around the face.
Marmot’s new, three-layer MemBrain FusionDri waterproof/breathable fabric, which features a membrane laminated to a wicking backer, also proved notably breathable: Testers said the shell picked up and evaporated sweat quickly when worn over a T-shirt, and a covered vent at the nape of the neck helped dump extra heat. One hard-charging hiker steamed up a bit in very humid conditions on Mt. Washington, but “once we stopped, the brushed lining wicked moisture away and kept me from getting chilled, even when temps dropped to 35°F and the wind picked up to 50 mph.” Fit is athletic, with enough room to put on a light midlayer, and the soft, 15-denier fabric packs down to soda can-size. Caveat: The Micro G’s fabulous protection-to-weight ratio makes it a no-brainer for three-season use, but the light fabric, trim cut, and tiny zipper pulls (hard to grab with gloves) mean you’ll need something different for winter. $300; 10.2 oz. (m’s M); marmot.com