Our take A fully featured, nicely cut, movement-friendly shell for just $129? We had to triple-check the price, but it’s no mistake. The Cloud Cap Flex offers all the features you’d expect in a basic hardshell (adjustable hood, hem, and cuffs; pit zips; two hand pockets) and a few you wouldn’t, such as good tailoring and enhanced stretch. The hem extends far enough down the hips for full butt coverage, and we fit one or two thin layers under it when hiking in wet, wintry weather. There are a few concessions—namely, moderate breathability, a floppy hood brim, and tiny, hard-to-grab zippers on the pit zips—but we’ll take them for light, waterproof protection that costs less than some baselayers.
The details Eddie Bauer placed its waterproof, stretchy panels across the hood, shoulders, and upper arms for noticeably better maneuverability, and proprietary 2.5-layer fabric everywhere else. The combo turned back cold drizzle on Missoula’s 5,157-foot Mt. Sentinel and Seattle-area downpours without a leak.
Trail cred “The jacket felt really comfortable and always moved with me, whether I was hiking, jogging, or adjusting pack straps,” says a Seattle tester. “And it has a nice, soft feel—less crunchy than a lot of shells out there.”