Our take This shell nails the trifecta: tough, light, and breathable. The latter is especially good considering the price. Credit Marmot’s Stretch NanoPro fabric, the latest iteration of a fabric that earned an Editors’ Choice Award a few years ago. The 2.5-layer material features an air-permeable membrane that lets sweat vapor escape through tiny, densely packed pores. Pit zips and mesh-backed hand pockets add options for mechanical venting, too. The jacket repelled precipitation both sustained (six days in a row on the Pacific coast) and intense (sleet and sideways rain in the Rockies). And the 40-denier nylon face fabric stood up to miles of bushwhacking through thick salmonberry and blackberry bushes in coastal Washington.
The details Both hem and cuffs are adjustable (the cuffs are cut longer in front to cover the back of the hand), and the one-way adjustable hood sports a bendy brim. The fit is fairly trim, but the Valor still layers comfortably over thicker midlayers or light puffies, and the stretchy fabric preserves mobility.
Trail cred “After hiking through a tough section of coastal forest with lots of downed wood to climb over, my partners started commenting on how hot they were,” says one Washington-based field biologist. “But I wasn’t sweating at all in the Valor, despite the difficult terrain.”