There’s no quicker way to ruin a fourth-season hike than getting caught in a rain- or snowstorm without the protection you need. If you’re the kind of hiker who hits the trail no matter the conditions, you need a good shell to keep the weather out. Luckily, we’ve picked eight of the best on the market. Armor up and get out there.
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Most Breathable: Ortovox 3L Ortler Jacket
The Ortler is made for pedal-to-the-metal types. One cross-country skier reports that it breathed like a champ during everything from training sessions in the teens to a wet ski tour in the 50s in Alaska’s Talkeetnas: “I heated up, but the jacket still did a great job getting rid of moisture,” he says. Buy the Ortovox 3L Ortler Jacket Now / Read the Full Review
Best Protection: Outdoor Research Archangel
Yes, it costs more than the lease payment on a new Tesla. But with the Archangel, you get what you pay for: On above-treeline ski tours, sleet-soaked climbs, and expeditions where a leak would be disastrous, it won’t let you down. Buy the Outdoor Research Archangel Now / Read the Full Review
Best Mobility: Rab Khroma Kinetic
We’ve been big fans of Rab’s Proflex fabric since its debut in 2017, and the lovefest continues with this toughened-up version for winter. The Khroma Kinetic has a woven, 20-denier nylon/spandex face (more durable than the original knit material) with a flexy PU membrane and soft polyester backer. Buy the Rab Khroma Kinetic Now / Read the Full Review
Year-Round Pick: Marmot Keele Peak
If your winter destinations lean more toward mild-weather hiking trails than vertical ski terrain, you don’t need to pay for a shell with all the bells and whistles—in money or in ounces. The Keele Peak pairs high breathability with functional features, at a weight that’s great for use in all four seasons. Buy the Marmot Keele Peak Now / Read the Full Review
Read More: Gear 360 Reviews the Helly Hansen Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 Jacket
This shell is designed for everything the high alpine can throw at you. The Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 is made with a three-layer waterproof/breathable fabric that held off rain in Olympic National Park and whipping wind on an ascent of 12,276-foot Mt. Adams, and its 70-denier face fabric is among the burliest on the market. Read more