Weather protection Softshells typically breathe better than hardshells, but at the cost of weatherproofing. The Lithic’s hybrid construction provides max waterproofing where you need it (up top, on the shoulders and chest) and superior breathability where you sweat most. Even a 2.5-hour climb through a blizzard in Colorado’s Park Range couldn’t soak it. “The smart fabric pairing eliminates the need to pack a softshell for the climbs and a hardshell for storms and descents,” reports one tester. But like other hybrids, it’s not meant for long periods of rain.
Breathability On the back and underarms, a stretchy, thinner-than-average softshell material provides impressive breathability. “I barely felt damp even after long uphills,” one tester reports. Two huge, mesh-lined chest pockets double as core vents.
Features The high collar and brimmed hood provide ample protection from sideways snow. Two internal pockets hold skins.
$450; 1 lb. 2 oz.; arcteryx.com