Why we like it It’s light enough to vanish in your pack and protective enough for the worst three-season weather.
Protection From hail on Bunsen Peak to 60-mph summit gusts on Mt. Holmes (both in Yellowstone) to unrelenting rain on Denali, testers couldn’t find a forecast that overwhelmed this shell. Key features like a high collar, long sleeves, and nonadjustable but adequately shielding hem, hood, and cuffs provide an effective barrier to all types of precip. Caveat: After hours of rain, some testers reported feeling damp under the ultrathin fabric (but no water actually penetrated the shell).
Packability Off the charts—one tester squeezed the Verto Storm into a ditty bag the size of a deck of cards. (But you can still fit a midlayer under it.)
Durability “Surprisingly sturdy,” declares one tester of the 15-denier face fabric. “Not a single tear after a week of bushwhacking in Alaska.”
Breathability Testers were split about the HyVent 2.5-layer fabric, which keeps weight down by using a gridded half-layer against the skin (see page 86). One reports: “I had no problem on rainy runs in mild weather.” But another wished for pit zips and got sweaty on snowy backcountry ski tours.
$199; 7 oz.; m’s S-XL, w’s XS-L; thenorthface.com