Breathability You don’t need to be a textile scientist to understand the idea behind one of Gore’s lightest and most breathable fabrics: Adidas Active Shell pairs a thin face fabric with an even thinner membrane to reduce the amount of material that sweat vapor has to push through. “At Colorado’s Berthoud Pass, with snow squalls moving in and out, our crew’s short runs had us constantly transitioning from skinning to skiing,” says one tester. “I just left the jacket on through it all and stayed warm and dry.” It breathes so well that designers omitted pit zips. Tradeoff: While our samples suffered no damage, Active Shell is the least durable of Gore membranes.
Features Designers didn’t cut much despite the low weight. “Everything just feels dialed,” raves one tester. The three-way adjustable hood has an extended brim for face protection, and the streamlined adjustment toggles are easy to operate with gloves. The long cut protects the upper legs from drips and the lower back from gaps. One wish: an interior glove-drying pocket.
Versatility Protective enough for winter trips but light and breathable enough for summer hiking, the Terrex Fastr has the chops for year-round use (which helps justify the price). m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL