To be sure these jackets were indeed fully waterproof, we zipped each contender up, tightened down the hood and wrists, and stood under the downpour of a shower for three minutes. How are we doing? For windy cold weather activities this coveted soft shell keeps you warm Jacket has gold top stitching and brass buttons throughout.
Jacket has gold top stitching throughout with a small -Wrangler- patch in black Jacket has navy blue cotton corduroy along the collar, white top stitching Jacket has brown leather trim along the collar, gold top stitching and brass butto Jacket has dark brown cotton corduroy along the collar, gold top stitching and silver buttons Jacket has a rib knit like collar, Late 60s -Jinglers- Mens dark blue cotton denim western style jacket with waist length styling, tapered sides, fitted waistband, metal buttons in front, on cuffs, waist side adjustment tabs, and chest Late 60s -Roebucks- Mens dark blue background cotton denim longsleeve, four button front coat jacket with full acrylic faux fur lining that stretches onto the notched fold over collar, gold top stitch Early 70s -Levis- Mens faded indigo blue cotton denim western style jacket with waist length styling, tapered sides, metal buttons in front, on cuffs, chest pocket flaps, and waist side adjustment tab Three front patch pockets Jacket has gold top stitching and brass buttons with -Mickey Mouse- heads on them throughou Jacket has gold top stitching and brass snaps throughout.
Jacket has gold top stitching and gold snaps throughout. Adjust the drawcord hem to fit your style and the weather, and keep your phone in the left hand pocket where a media port provides convenient access to your tunes.
Standard fit jacket Secure-zip hand pockets Media port in left hand pocket Adjustable hem. Insulated Wind Protection Hooded. Kids will love hitting the downhill trails on cool days in this rugged windproof jacket with a water-repellent finish to shed light rain fleece-lined collar for extra warmth and secure-zip hand pockets to stash cash and lift tickets.
Water-resistant breathable stretchy and ready to rock. For windy cold weather activities this coveted soft shell keeps you warm For unparalleled versatility on the trails this 3-in For unparalleled versatility on the trails this 3-in-1 jacket system pairs a textured waterproof lined shell with a zip-out midweight hardface fleece for customizable insulation. Wear both jackets together in cold wet conditions or wear them separately as weather permits.
The Dynafit Radical and the Mountain Hardwear CloudSeeker were also among the best when it came to weather protection, and should be strongly considered if you are in the market for the most protective jacket you can find. To test for weight, we measured each jacket straight out of the box and ignored what the manufacturer's website said the item weighed.
However, we found that due to changing sizing among many manufacturers, we needed to order men's large jackets for some brands, and men's size medium in others, complicating our weighting metrics. Regardless of the stated size, we found that each of the jackets fit our head tester reasonably well, and so compared weights straight across the board. The jackets selected for this year's review had a wide range of weights. The lightest jacket was the Outdoor Research Interstellar , weighing in at a mere This model has been stripped of many features, such as underarm ventilation, all in the name of weight savings, but this isn't the only reason it is light.
The stretchy 20D face fabric is easily among the lightest used in this review and has a significant role in the Interstellar weighing in so low. Despite adding close to an ounce in weight by incorporating new Cohaesive buckles on its drawcords, the Arc'teryx Alpha FL maintains a meager Using 30D face fabric and eschewing once again the underarm ventilation, the Outdoor Research Axiom was the third lightest jacket in this review, weighing in at The majority of the jackets weighed in right around a pound, so still not what one would consider overly burdensome.
How much weight matters is subjective. As gear and materials evolve, manufacturers continually find ways to produce gear that matches the "light and fast" demands of elite alpinists.
But not everyone is an elite alpinist, or even aspires to be one, and so for those people, it is important to note that the difference between the lightest and heaviest jacket in the review was less than 10 ounces, a bit less than a pound.
For many, other performance characteristics may be more relevant. There is no clear correlation between weight and overall jacket performance. Besides differences in fabric, manufacturers typically save weight by cutting out extraneous zippers and pockets, features that many users demand.
So while wearing a hardshell jacket that feels as light as an extra shirt is far preferable to wearing a jacket so heavy it feels like you just donned a movable tent, you may want to consider whether choosing to cut the ounces is worth it. Packability is also considered in the weight metric. Climbing or skiing in good weather or warm climates means that the jacket will often live in the pack, and so having one that packs small and doesn't weigh a ton is a bonus.
Unlike lighter and smaller wind breakers or rain jackets, these jackets don't usually stuff into their own pockets, although the Interstellar does, and the Alpha FL comes with a tiny dedicated stuff sack. When not given one of these options, we typically roll them up and stuff them into their hood for compact packing and to protect their DWR coating.
Another critical component of hardshell jacket performance is its fit, including how mobile it is. We aren't using these jackets to watch an arctic football game in Buffalo, NY — though they would stand up to the test. No, we are using these as our outer shells for climbing up and skiing down mountains.
They need to move as we move, and they need to fit like a perfectly designed suit of armor. The best jacket designs used membranes and face fabrics that were soft and supple, and in the best cases, quiet. Uncommon in hardshells as recently as a few years ago, more and more jackets are being made with stretch fabrics.
In this year's review, four of the ten models jackets tested used stretch fabric: Stretch fabrics are appreciated by us because they allow a jacket to have a sleeker and trimmer fit, while not reducing its mobility. When it came to fit, we prefer an athletic fit around the torso. We like a hood that doesn't constrict our view even with a helmet on , a collar that was as comfortable as it was protective, and fabric quiet enough that we could hear ourselves thinking or our partner yelling commands even while moving inside the jacket.
The more we tested these jackets in powder and on ice, the more we realized that some of them just didn't fit their intended purpose. Not only did we want them to move well and not inhibit our range of motion Mobility , we also wanted them to keep us covered no matter what position we were in Fit. Three things drove us crazy when it came to fit: When a climber raises their hands above their head to swing their tools, they need the sleeves to stay put by their wrists, not ride down to the middle of the forearm.
Likewise, when skiing through the glorious bounty of powder that last night's storm dumped, a high hemline can only lead to snow filling the inside of the jacket.
Lastly, both skiing and climbing require you to be able to see your feet, and a baggy jacket front only gets in the way. Any or all of these things caused us to dock points for fit, and their absence made us very happy.
In general, the jackets we tested this year showed a marked improvement over models we have tested in the past. It is athletically sized, has long sleeves and a low hem, and the fabric is supple and quiet, leading to significant mobility and a perfect fit. Our size large could undoubtedly accommodate a few extra layers or someone who has been hitting the bench press, or the bar, harder than we have but wasn't at all what we would consider baggy.
The Outdoor Research Interstellar seems like it was cut to the same specifications, and was thus also a high scorer for mobility and fit. A tiny step down was the Rab Firewall , which also used quiet and stretchy face fabric, was roomy enough to eliminate any constrictions of movement, and fit long and sleek.
The hardshell jackets we tested all purport to be waterproof and breathable, so it only makes sense that we examine them for their breathability. While an interested reader can spend days reading about the science of breathability on manufacturers' websites, the sweaty outdoor enthusiast slogging up a mountain might notice that these jackets don't seem very breathable. In an attempt to accurately test these jackets for breathability, we wore them while riding on a stationary bike in a controlled environment and made notes of the differences we felt from jacket to jacket.
While the results of this test could not be considered scientific, we were able to draw a few broad conclusions. First, there is no doubt that these jackets DO breathe, but it is virtually impossible for our testers to definitively state which one breathes the best or the worst.
However , it was apparent to us that jackets that are air permeable performed noticeably better than jackets that used solid state diffusion, such as most Gore-Tex membranes, to breathe.
Finally, the most obvious conclusion drawn from the stationary bike test was that to produce the correct atmosphere inside the jacket for breathing to occur, the user is going to feel uncomfortably hot and moist. Due to the laws of physics, a certain amount of heat and moisture must be generated before an efficient transfer of the moisture from the inside to the outside of the jacket will take place.
Our stationary bike test proved what longtime hardshell wearers have long known: So, while breathability is an important characteristic, it is more useful as a backup, meaning if you get wet or sweaty inside your jacket, it's nice that it will work to dry you out.
However, the first option to avoid getting wet and sweaty in the first place is to ventilate. Features that allow one to ventilate include the standard pit zips, as well as mesh lined pockets that can be left open when needing to ventilate, and two-way front zippers that allow you to unzip the front of the jacket from the bottom, which allows for some ventilation while still protecting from the rain. It seems to us that manufacturers are getting more creative with their use of venting zippers as well.
Instead of the typical pit zips which in our opinion may not be in the most ideal place for serious ventilation anyway , the Dynafit Radical uses zippered vents on the back and outside of the shoulders. The Rab Firewall takes this a step further and has zippered vents that run the entire length of the arm, starting just above the wrist. These work very well, although not if it's storming. Taking it even further, the Mountain Hardwear CloudSeeker pairs back of the shoulder zippered vents with two gigantic front pockets , mesh lined, that can be opened nearly the full height of the torso, making this the most thoroughly ventilated jacket that we tested.
However, the features that a jacket includes and especially how well they function can make the difference between smiling with appreciation every time you wear the jacket or frowning with annoyance every time you have to screw with something that doesn't work. All the jackets we tested share features like pockets, collars, wrist enclosures, zippers, and drawcords, and so the quality, placement, and how well they function is an important characteristic to consider.
We assessed this metric based on the quantity of features because more is always better, right? With its abundance of skiing specific features that also performed just as well as advertised, the Mountain Hardwear CloudSeeker was the highest scoring jacket. We also loved the nearly perfect features found on the Patagonia Pluma, although they weren't quite as innovative as those found on the CloudSeeker.
Likewise, although not blowing our minds with things we hadn't seen before, the features found on The North Face Summit L5 FuseForm GTX were super reliable and obviously well thought out. Below is a short description of some pertinent features and how they perform on a hardshell jacket. Pockets come in all shapes and sizes: One thing is for sure; pockets are handy for holding things. With this in mind, we love pockets that hold stuff in convenient-to-reach places. Our favorites are "Napolean"-style breast pockets that live high on the chest and allow crossover access.
We also like interior non-zip stash pockets that store bulky accessories like gloves, a hat, or skins while on the downhill. We find less use for hip-height hand pockets because they tend to sit underneath a waist belt on a harness or waist strap on a pack.
Of the jackets tested, the CloudSeeker had the most pockets, while the lightest jackets tended to have only one chest pocket. All of the jackets in this review use the same system for wrist enclosures: Velcro or a non-branded alternative. However, they are not all made equal. Some of the Velcro was not very sticky, and some models had Velcro swatches that were too small.
Drawcords are used liberally in all of these jackets to tighten openings around the face and the hemline. The positioning of the pull-tab end of the cord and the quality of the buckles that hold the cord taut make a big difference in performance. We loved hood drawcords that have the pull tab on the outside of the jacket, rather than the inside, so we didn't have to unzip the jacket to find the tab if we wanted to tighten the hood, we usually wanted the jacket to stay zipped up! Cohaesive buckles, which live inside the fabric of a model and are very easy to release with thick gloves on, were our favorite sort.
Quite a few jackets have switched over to this type of buckle, and there are more of them being used than we have found in the past.
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