Brand: L.L. Bean
Model: NeoShell Bounder
Why we like it This versatile, three-layer shield delivers some of the best breathability we’ve found—at the right price.
Protection A snug-sealing hood with a wide brim and a long, back-protecting cut shielded testers in extended Seattle drizzles and Canadian squalls. “When fall storms hit the coast of Nova Scotia, the Bounder kept me dry even when I was battered by driving rain and superstrong gusts,” says one.
Breathability Polartec NeoShell has been a top performer in this category since its debut several years ago, and the Bounder proves why: “I wore it as a windbreaker in the mid-50s in Colorado’s Elk Mountains, and I never got that sticky, sweaty feeling,” says one hiker. NeoShell’s superfine polyurethane filaments leave lots of tiny holes, allowing small amounts of air (but not water) to permeate; this lowers internal humidity and helps vent sweat vapor directly through the fabric. Still, one tester wished the shell had pit zips for high-intensity days, though mesh-lined Napoleon pockets provide some cooling.
Fit The boxy cut allows for bulky layers, but feels swimmy with just a baselayer.
$299; 13 oz.; m’s S-XXL, M-XXL tall, w’s XS-XL, petite XS-XL; llbean.com