Access Special Features, Register Now!

How Should My Shell Fit?

How should a shell fit ? I can't decide between L or XL. Is it best to have ample layering room or should it be tight and form fitting. I can't decide whether to go up or down.


How should a shell fit? I can’t decide between a large or an extra large. Is it best to have ample layering room or should it be tight and form fitting? I can’t decide whether to go up or down.

Submitted by - Don, Denver, CO


My advice is to size up, especially if it’s a shell that you’d wear in the winter months. You want enough room under the shell to accommodate a puffy, insulated jacket for skiing, mountaineering, or just cold weather camping.

There’s really no downside to having a little extra room–except that you won’t look as svelte in your hero shots.

The only exception is if you’re looking at soft shells that have a little stretch built into the fabric. With these jackets, a snugger fit is okay, because they won’t bind you up as you reach for a handhold or swing a trekking or ski pole.


1 Comment

  1. Eric

    My advice would be to go with a jacket in the size you’d normally wear, but choose one that’s cut with enough room for layering. Some jackets are designed to fit more snugly than others, and it would be better to get one with the fit you need rather than contend with the longer sleeves and waist that a larger size would entail. As Mike points out, trapping air between layers is the key to warmth and either a really snug jacket or one that’s loose and billowy at the extremities will hamper that function.

Leave a Reply