Our take You don’t need a layaway plan to afford a shell that will protect you from the elements. The Pac Plus kept us dry while we hiked through three straight days of rain, sleet, and snow in Idaho’s Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and delivered good breathability on uphill grunts—all for half the cost of some competitors. This performance comes courtesy of the Gore-Tex Paclite Plus fabric (middle of the pack for Gore in terms of breathability and price), a two-layer material with a superthin inner coating for added durability; we didn’t get any abrasion or membrane damage from heavy pack straps or bushwhacks.
The Details The Pac Plus has an adjustable hood, hem, and cuffs, plus mesh-backed hand pockets that sub for pit zips. (They need to be closed in hard rain). But this isn’t the shell for alpinism or backcountry skiing—the hood doesn’t fit over a helmet, and the cut is too trim to fit over a bulky puffy. It packs down to the size of a large burrito.
Trail cred “The hood fits so well, I never had to readjust it even when 25-mph winds ripped off the Pacific on the Oregon Coast Trail,” one tester reports.
10 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL