Our take If you’re one of those hikers willing to trade a few design luxuries for super-low weight (you know who you are), reach for the Storm Racer. This ultralight three-layer shell (made of Patagonia’s proprietary H2No) delivers only the essentials: a single chest pocket, an adjustable hood with a stiff brim that fits over a low-profile helmet, and elastic hem and cuffs. Testers praised the snug cuffs, which kept out the breeze while cycling. Despite the scant weight, protection proved solid in blustery rains in northern Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park and chilling gusts on top of Colorado’s 13,376-foot Mt. Guyot. The thin material delivers better-than-average breathability, but testers reported sweating out the lower back when they picked up the pace.
The details The shell stuffs into its chest pocket, which includes a loop for clipping to a pack or harness. And though it feels delicate, the 12-denier nylon face fabric held up on backpacking trips in the Badlands and Grand Canyon (just don’t take it tree skiing). And the hem is cut long enough to stay put under a hipbelt.
Trail cred “The fabric has slight stretch, and I could fit a baselayer and even a close-fitting puffy underneath without it being too constrictive,” says a Colorado tester.