Stay Dry With The 7 Best Hardshells On The Market Right Now
These jackets will keep you on the trail no matter how bad the weather.
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Trends in backpacking gear come and go. One year it’s all about premium features; the next, ultralight minimalism is en vogue. What never goes out of fashion? Staying dry in inclement weather. Our favorite hardshells will make sure a rainy day doesn’t ruin your trip.
Lightest: Rab Phantom Pull-On
Over the last five or so years, Rab has been on top of the technical fabric world, churning out shell after category-smashing shell. That streak continues with the Phantom, which, as the lightest waterproof/breathable shell on the market, has the weight of a trashbag poncho, the rain protection of a hardshell, and yet somehow the airy feel of a softshell. Oh, and it packs down to the size of a kiwi. $200 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Best Weight-to-Features: Mammut Kento Light HS
This featherweight-yet-functional piece is a great shell when pack space is at a premium but you don’t want to break the bank. It has a full zipper, a chest pocket, and an adjustable hood, yet weighs less than 6 ounces. $219 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Best Value: Patagonia Torrentshell
Solid protection in even the nastiest weather doesn’t always require a new line of credit, as the updated Torrentshell proves. Costing far less than $200, this three-layer shell still shrugs off heavy rain. $149 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Most Versatile: Black Diamond Highline Stretch
Want a hardshell that you can wear with confidence in any season? The Highline Stretch has the breathability for rainy bike rides, the protection for stormy hikes, and the durability for backcountry ski sessions. $299 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Most Breathable: Columbia OutDry Ex Nanolite
In terms of breathability and long-lasting waterproofness, this shell reigns supreme. Columbia’s OutDry Extreme fabric places the membrane on the outside of the shell, so there’s no DWR that can wear off over time (and no layer of fabric on top to hold in heat and sweat vapor). The Nanolite improves on its predecessors by ditching their weight and rubbery feel. $250 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Best For Year-Round Use: 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. $350 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Best Protection: Norrøna Falketind
With all the smart details a hiker could ask for, the Falketind takes staying dry seriously. Chock-full of features like a fortress-like hood and asymmetrical cuffs, this three-layer shell with a soft, Gore-Tex C-Knit backer will keep you comfortable no matter how nasty the conditions. It’s plenty breathable, too, but know that you’ll be paying a premium for all that functionality. $469 Buy Now / Read the Full Review