Get top-shelf storm protection at half the cost of a top-shelf shell.
Brand: Marmot Gear Reviews
Protection The two-layer construction with Marmot’s proprietary membrane can handle miserable conditions. That was our tester’s conclusion after wearing the Kirwin on an overnight tour near Colorado’s 14,065-foot Mt. Bierstadt. Pulling a pulk sled through a wet spring snowstorm and 25-mph wind, he stayed dry and comfortable.
Features The roomy hood fits over a helmet and makes the Kirwin suitable for gusty conditions, in or out of bounds. Two zippered hand pockets sit just above a hipbelt, and articulated seaming (rather than a baggy cut) provides ample freedom of movement through the arms and shoulders. “I could raise my hands overhead to shoot photos without the sleeves or hem riding up,” our lanky tester says.
Breathability Some shells sacrifice breathability for affordability, but this is no discount-store steam chamber: Testers were impressed with the jacket’s ability to dissipate sweat during moderate exertion. When storms gave way to warm sun, one wearer stayed comfortable by opening the center and underarm zippers. But it’s best for stop-and-go activities: sustained, high-output hiking steams it up.
Durability Wading through thickets of scratchy scrub oak didn’t snag the nylon oxford fabric. Tradeoffs for this affordable armor? It’s heavier than comparable shells, and less compressible (volleyball-size when packed).
$225; 1 lb. 12 oz.; marmot.com