Our take As waterproof/breathable shells get lighter and lighter, it’s often at the expense of features or weather protection. Not so with the Minimalist. The keys are 2.5-layer construction with barely-there, 15-denier nylon face fabric; smart details like a stiff-brimmed, adjustable hood; and sleeves that cover the backs of the hands. The result: a jacket that kept us dry for hours in a storm in New York’s Adirondack Park.
The details Despite packing down small enough to fit in a climbing chalk bag, the Minimalist handled the abrasion of backpack straps for five months of testing—but it probably can’t handle rough contact with rocks or trees. A Napoleon pocket fits a credit card and a snack. Breathability is middling.
Trail cred “The shell is cut slim, so it didn’t catch high winds like a sail when I was on exposed Adirondack summits,” our tester says.