Outdoor Research Mentor
Full side zips offer better ventilation than you typically get from shells this tough.
Brand: Outdoor Research
Features Underarm zippers extend from the biceps to the jacket’s hem, offering more airflow than pit zips. The design let our New Hampshire tester dump heat while skinning up Tuckerman’s Ravine and hiking through rain on Mt. Moosilauke. “I could close the side zips without removing my pack, so I stayed warm when we stopped for breaks,” he says. The design also lets the fabric drape atop a harness.
Fabric Even without opening the vents, the Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric proved breathable enough for moderate exertion. And it’s durable enough for heavy packs and years of abuse; the 40-denier nylon (70-denier across the shoulders and hips) emerged unscathed after bushwacking through dense New Hampshire forest. Tradeoff: The fabric feels crinkly and stiffer than most, especially in cold temperatures.
Weather Protection Angled cuffs provide extra coverage over the hands, and the high collar and brimmed hood seal out everything but sideways rain. Our tester reports, “My neck got wet in the worst Mt. Washington storms, but otherwise the jacket kept me (and even my phone) impressively dry.” Packed, it’s about the size of a 1-liter bottle.
$475; 1 lb. 1 oz.; outdoorresearch.com