The recent drought years notwithstanding, it does rain in the Southwest, so you'd be unwise to forgo a shell entirely. But you'd be downright foolish to carry a heavy or expensive jacket. The Hurricane LT is the most affordable 12-ounce shell we've tested. It's super compact, has vents in the forearms to minimize overheating, and two hand pockets positioned well above your hipbelt. The short hem and two-point adjustable hood are basic but adequate. The snag: The fabric isn't highly breathable, and the inner surface gets sticky when wet.
Sizes: men's S-XXL, women's S-XL
Weight: 12 oz.
Contact: (800) 635-0461; www.sierradesigns.com.