Our take In the race for better breathability, there’s a new frontrunner. The L5 LT’s three-layer FUTURELIGHT fabric has an air-permeable electrospun membrane made from superthin fibers—not a new technique, but testers reported exceptional airiness. (The North Face makes different-weight FUTURELIGHT material and membranes for different purposes, and this one prioritizes breathability.) “I generally do the old on-again, off-again dance with my shell,” says a tester. “But on a 45°F day skinning up 9,196-foot Monument Peak in Colorado, it breathed so well I just kept it on.” Caveat: We found this shell best for cold, snowy conditions, not hard, extended rain.
The Details The L5 LT’s 20-denier polyester fabric proved hardy enough to survive squeezing past boulders on Monument Peak. It has a cinchable, helmet-compatible hood, and a single exterior chest pocket that swallows a smartphone. Note: This shell is on the roomy side, so consider sizing down.
Trail cred “The fabric is so buttery-soft that it was comfortable enough
to sleep in when I needed extra heat one night in Banff,” one tester says.
1 lb. 6 oz.; m’s XS-XL, w’s XS-XL