“The perfect combination of fit and features,” one tester raves about the The North Face Leonidas. The dynamic jacket—made with stretch nylon throughout—let our tester reach for pole-plants and distant handholds without feeling pinched. An elasticized band sewn inside the hood snugs it to the wearer’s head more effectively than most cord-lock designs and keeps the hood tracking with every turn of the head.
Elastic on the cuffs cinch without snagging baselayers. Long pit zips ensure excellent ventilation. The 2.5-layer construction proved reliably weatherproof during rainy hikes in Colorado National Monument. And in winter, says our tester, “I stayed comfortable even while snowshoeing through wind-driven hail.” $199; 11 oz. (m’s M); thenorthface.com
See all “essential” reviews from the 2011 Gear