>> The membrane A PTFE membrane made by General Electric (based on the eVent technology that we’ve covered for many years). The membrane is similar to Gore-Tex in its basic porous structure (see inset), but it foregoes Gore’s polyurethane topcoat. Instead, GE applies an oleo-phobic (oil-repellent) treatment designed to protect the membrane from contamination without clogging the pores. That makes the membrane air permeable.
>> The claim In this Dry.Q Elite fabric (there are several different Dry.Q fabrics with different recipes), Mountain Hardwear has bundled the GE membrane with face fabrics, liners, and adhesives that it deems most conducive to breathability. Of course, maximizing the performance of the fabric recipe is not unique to Mountain Hardwear, but the company claims to have done so while maintaining the highest level of durability (based on a standardized wash test) in an air-permeable membrane.
>> The jacket This was a tester favorite for the soggiest days. Compared to the other shells in the test, the Jovian is a tad heavy and stiff, due to the hard-faced, densely woven 40-denier nylon fabric. But it also beads water and drains it off the shoulders faster than the other test jackets. And the hood has “standout peripheral vision with a visor that sheds slop without blocking upward view,” says one tester. The heavier build also translates to increased abrasion resistance for climbing, bushwhacking, and day-in, day-out use. “I regularly skied down through thick brush exits in Mill Creek Canyon, Utah, without any tears or damage,” says one tester. The burly face fabric is likely the reason that testers rated the Jovian as slightly less breathable than our other favorites, but the generous, 15.5-inch pit zips helped them manage heat buildup. Despite a slim, climbing-oriented cut, the Jovian affords good freedom of motion, thanks to waterproof/breathable stretch panels under the armpits.
The five-pocket (one internal) layout adds a bit of weight and cost, but the only pocket testers deemed overkill was the external triceps stash. There was one consistent complaint, however: The waterproof zippers are stiff, and require two hands to adjust. Tip: Lube them with McNett Zip Tech (mcnett.com) or lip balm.
>> similar technology/costs less Mountain Hardwear Ampato ($225, 1 lb. 4 oz.)
> Price $475
> Weight 1 lb. 3 oz.
> Sizes men’s S-XXL
> Info mountainhardwear.com