Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Jacket

A bargain rain jacket that's actually breathable.


I’ve rarely worn a bargain rain shell that didn’t make me wish I’d spent more for better breathability. But the Plasmic performs as well as jackets that cost twice as much: Fully zipped during sustained, 2-mile climbs in Colorado’s Park Range (40°F and drizzling), it kept clamminess in check and left my tee only faintly damp (though moisture did collect inside the shell fabric). Credit Dry.Q EVAP, which uses microscopic channels on the jacket’s lining to disperse moisture and speed its evaporation. That technology also makes the fabric feel soft rather than sticky when it’s worn with short sleeves (many shells cling to skin like Saran Wrap). The hood is fully adjustable (with cinch cords behind the head and at the chin), hand pockets sit above a pack hipbelt, microfleece softens the collar, and the Plasmic packs to grapefruit-size. $140; 10 oz. (w’s M); m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL;

Best For

Ultralight Three-Season Backpacking

Tester Data

Kelly Bastone (Other testers: Kristin Hostetter, Will Rochfort, Rachel Zurer) When April to May Where CO, MA, MT, CA, UT; rain, snow, wind; 10°F to 60°F “I stayed dry through drenching spring New England showers.”

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