Our take A true all-season shell should be light enough for summer backpacking, protective enough for nasty winter weather, and breathable enough to handle your hardest pushes any time of year. That’s what you get with this do-it-all armor. The Elevation’s breathability comes courtesy of Gore-Tex with C-Knit fabric—a three-layer laminate with a softer, thinner backer than other versions of Gore-Tex—which makes it lighter and more pliable. Tiny covered holes in the pits add venting without the need to futz with zippers, but you can’t open them wide like long pit zips. Ding: A lack of shoulder articulation meant that we had to stop and yank the bottom back down whenever we reached up to scramble.
The details One pocket has a zippered inner stash for keys or a phone, while the elastic cuffs kept our wrists dry even when we were hiking with trekking poles. The Elevation is roomy enough for a midweight puffy underneath, and taller testers appreciated how the hem extended low enough to cover their rumps.
Trail cred Here’s a breathability test for you: Put on a 50-pound pack and hike more than 3,000 feet up to the rim of the Grand Canyon in 50°F rain. We did just that with the Elevation and it passed with flying colors: “I hardly felt clammy at all,” says our Southwest editor.