Editors' Choice 2013: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Accelerant Jacket

Discover extreme versatility: You'll find a reason to wear this mid- and outer layer 12 months a year.

The only way to make this jacket more useful? Teach it to wash itself. “This is the closest thing to the perfect all-season layer I’ve ever used,” says one tester, and everyone who wore it agreed. “It morphed into whatever I needed it to be,” says our gear editor, who wore it Nordic skiing in Vermont, hiking on blustery spring days in Tasmania, and under a puffy jacket on cold nights in camp. Low weight and light insulation also make it effective as a summer camp jacket. Testers praised its water repellency and ventilation in windy spring conditions. “It functions just as well on the outside as it does under a shell or a puffy,” says one tester. The key design elements?

The core and arms are covered in a DWR-treated nylon, which fends off light precipitation, while PrimaLoft One insulation underneath seals in warmth in critical areas. Stretchy fleece side panels provided breathability even during high-output fall climbs in Colorado. The same soft fleece is used to construct the helmet-compatible hood, which subbed for a hat on more than one occasion. “For a sweaty body like mine, this jacket is best for cool, windy conditions when you’re working hard and want a touch of insulation and a balance between excellent venting and core wind protection,” says one editor. Another tester loved the Accelerant’s all-day comfort while he was ice climbing in the Rockies. Bonus: Long cuffs and thumbholes keep the wrists covered and warm in the coldest conditions. $180; 14.2 oz. (m’s L); eddiebauer.com