A tester who lives at 10,000 feet in Colorado’s Summit County, next door to some of the country’s best backcountry skiing, put this waterproof jacket through a season of abuse. “I used this shell from January to May,” he says. “It kept me totally dry in the wettest spring blizzards. And going up, it breathes almost as well as a regular softshell.”
Credit Hardwear’s new Dry.Q Elite fabric, which uses a membrane made by GE, the manufacturer of eVent (a highly breathable membrane our testers have praised for several years), and a polyester/nylon blend face fabric that’s exceptionally tough. “I bashed through a lot of tree limbs with it,” says our tester, “and did no damage.”
The hood seals out weather without hindering peripheral vision, and a removable powder skirt means you’re always ready for deep days. Fit tip: Our tester found it a bit tight with a puffy midlayer; consider going up a size if you expect to use it in extreme cold. And he wished for a slightly longer hem in back.
1 lb. 11 oz. (L)