In this hybrid hooded jacket, you get the reliable rain protection of a hardshell and the stretchy comfort and breathability of a softshell. The Taku uses a proprietary three-layer, four-way-stretch, waterproof/breathable hardshell fabric on the hood, shoulders, arms, and bottom hem–the areas that receive the most pounding from the elements. A super-stretchy, waterproof/breathable softshell fabric covers the back and chest–places where you sweat the most.
On a spring ascent of Cristo Couloir on Colorado's Quandary Peak, when our tester was climbing hard up steep pitches in direct sun and 40°F-plus temps, he opened the core vents to improve airflow. "The elastic fabric let me reach big with my ice axe," he says. "And the adjustable hood fit perfectly over my helmet." He stayed completely dry in a pounding, sideways rainstorm that brought wind so strong it broke tent poles. The fit is trim in the torso to facilitate aerobic activities, but it also offers good coverage, with sleeves that drape over the hands and a bottom hem that extends over the butt. It's a tad heavy, but the price-to-performance ratio is unbeatable. $209;
1 lb. 7 oz.; men's S-XXL, women's S-XL; rei.com