Ventilation Instead of using pit zips, the three-layer Vapour Storm relies on innovative, gill-like slits in the underarms and upper back (the latter vents are blocked by a pack) to release heat and moisture. And the Gore-Tex Active Shell (sandwiched between supple, 20-denier nylon and a polyester lining) is also supremely breathable. “I skinned up 2,200-foot pitches—at race pace—in whiteout conditions with temps in the teens, and barely steamed up,” one tester says.
Protection Though the gill vents can’t be sealed shut, testers deemed them waterproof because of their side-of-ribcage location and flat, folded edges. In Washington’s Cascades and Colorado’s Park Range, the Vapour Storm kept hikers dry through rain and snow. Most testers appreciated the way the feature prevented overheating, but those who run cool (or used it in low-output situations) needed an extra layer for warmth. The brimmed hood provides excellent shelter from blowing snow, and stayed in place through 25-mph blasts.
Durability The fabric is thin, but not gauzy. Testers shouldered skis, jammed the jacket into overstuffed packs, and wore it beneath 35-pound packs. The fabric showed no rips or scuffs, but Gore says that Active Shell is less durable than its other membranes .
$379; 12 oz. (w’s 12); berghaus.com