Gear Review: MontBell Thunder Pass Rain Jacket

The most bomber shell in our test.

[most durable]

This bomber shell stood up to abuse when testers wore it backcountry skiing, practicing self-arrests on Mt. Rainier’s Muir Snowfield, and crashing through rain-soaked rhododendron brambles in the Olympics.

That’s because it’s a three-layer shell (the only one in our test), with a waterproof/breathable membrane sandwiched between a tough 70-denier nylon outer shell and an inner layer of wicking mesh. (In two-layer shells, the membrane is either exposed on the inside, which can feel clammy and compromise durability, or is protected by a hanging mesh liner, which adds weight and bulk).

The modest breathability of this fabric is mitigated by good venting features: 16-inch pit zips and mesh-lined, chest-high pockets. Caution: The hem is on the short side (barely reaching below a pack’s hipbelt on some testers).

And the roll-up hood earned mixed reviews: Some testers loved the head-hugging fit; others found it too snug. Bottom line: Fit is quirky, so try before you buy.