“This hardcore shell has everything you need to weather a monster blow without weighing you down,” a tester reported after climbing Alaska’s notorious Devils Thumb. He cheered the lightweight, durable material, the long tail, the ergonomic fit (great range of motion), and the hood (slips effortlessly over a helmet or cinches down on a bare head without sacrificing peripheral vision).
After a series of belays and long rappels, he also gave it high marks for the warmth it provided at such a minimal weight and potato packed size. Testers also praised the pleated Napoleon pockets for their capacity—big enough for skins or thick mitts.
The 18.5-inch pit zips enhance venting, but while our testers gave the Gore-Tex Pro Shell high marks for water and windproofness, breathability lagged behind the best jackets in this test—probably due to the burly exterior fabric. “After a 30-minute trudge through knee-deep snow,” says a tester, “my baselayer was soaked.” Sizing is big; go down one unless you’re wearing it over a puffy jacket.