Gear Guide 2012: Marmot Athena Jacket

The Athena's attractively trim fit flatters ladies' curves better than any other rain jacket we tested this year.

[do-it-all shell]

The Athena’s attractively trim fit flatters ladies’ curves better than any other rain jacket we tested this year. This waterproof/breathable shell features four-way stretch—exceeding some softshells’ elasticity and giving the Athena outstanding freedom of movement. Plus, the balance of weight, breathability, and waterproofness made it our multisport testers’ favorite for backpacking, climbing, and mountain biking; it eliminates the need for a closet full of jackets.

“The 40-denier fabric feels unusually light, so it doesn’t add unwanted warmth on strenuous ascents,” one wearer reports. “But it’s also tough, suffering no rips or scuffs after bushwhacks.” Breathability is good: The 2.5-layer construction trims weight and helps evacuate perspiration by eliminating a full layer of fabric on the inside. Features are surprisingly numerous, given the low weight: Zippered pockets double as vents, adjustable cuffs are angled to reduce bulk without compromising wrist protection, and the brimmed hood shields faces from rain, snow, and glare better than most. $260; 13 oz.; XS-XL; marmot.com