If you’re like us, you’ve been craving a rain jacket that combines the full-on water barrier of a hard shell with the featherweight packability of a windshirt. The North Face Diad fills that void. Solid wet-weather performance, wispy weight, and an extremely competitive price make this our favorite hard-shell jacket of the year. At a mere 6 ounces, the Diad can slip into the tiniest crevice of your pack and still offer up features like 61/2-inch pit zips, an adjustable hood, cinchable waist cord, and chest pocket. The cut is on the short side, but roomy enough for layering. On snowshoeing trips in Colorado’s Indian Peaks, the proprietary HyVent fabric steamed up only during a sunny 1,500-foot climb in knee-deep champagne–but pit zips allowed excess body heat to move out at mach speed. And during a very rainy Northeast autumn, the fabric fought back torrents day after day after day with no leakage. Quibble: The pit zips, while easy to open, tended to grab at closing time, often requiring the help of a friend.
Sizes: men’s S-XL; women’s XS-L
Weight: 8 oz. (men’s L); 6 oz. (women’s M)