Hate rigid, crinkly, or trash-baggy jackets that feel plasticky next to the skin? The Storm Cruiser is softer and more flexible than other shells. The secret: The three-layer Gore-Tex fabric employs Gore’s new C-KNIT backer, which is woven in a springy, circular pattern from very fine nylon yarn (similar to pantyhose), creating a thinner, lighter, more pliable-feeling shell.
Gore says the C-KNIT backer, which is thinner than its previous liner fabrics, boosts breathability by up to 10 percent. Our testers say the Storm Cruiser is good, but not excellent, in this category. On steep ascents during a warm, steady drizzle on New Hampshire’s Mt. Lafayette, one tester found it sufficiently breathable with the 16.5-inch pit zips open.
Dumping rain, wet snow, and 35-mph winds on top of the White Mountains’ Mt. Moosilauke were no match for this shell. The two-way adjustable hood cinches precisely to protect the face (it’s roomy, but not big enough for a helmet).
It’s on the athletic side, but generous enough for multiple layers underneath. Dings: The elbows aren’t articulated, making for uncomfortable bunches, and testers wished for a longer hem.
Light yet durable, it fits inside a Nalgene.