Michael,

I sweat profusely while hiking. I love winter and fall, but summer kills me. In your opinion, what is the most breathable, light rain shell out there? Money is no object, and I was hoping I could use it for three-season hiking, if possible.

Thanks.

Mike
Everett, MA

 

David Ports on a rainy day on the High Divide Trail, Olympic National Park.

David Ports on a rainy day on the High Divide Trail, Olympic National Park.

Hi Mike,

The best jackets for weather resistance and breathability when you’re moving for long periods of time in rain are, in my opinion, still those made with a membrane (Gore-Tex and eVent are the best known). And to oversimplify, breathability vs. waterproofing basically comes down to how the manufacturer calibrates the membrane’s permeability. Better waterproofing often means less breathability and vice versa. Gore-Tex has long been known for its highly reliable waterproofing and eVent for its breathability.

For a lightweight, fully technical, three-season shell that places a premium on breathability, the two best jackets I’ve reviewed are the Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket, which uses the newest iteration of eVent, and the Westcomb Focus LT Hoody, another nice, lightweight shell that uses a previous version of eVent. Read my reviews (which I’ve linked here); there are some differences between the two jackets.

See also all of my reviews of rain jackets.

Good luck!

Michael

In Ask Me, I share my response to a reader question. Got a question about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside? Send it to me at mlanza@thebigoutside.com, message me at facebook.com/TheBigOutside, or tweet it to @MichaelALanza. I will answer the ones I can in a post, using only your first name and city, with your permission. I receive a high volume of questions, so I cannot always respond quickly. Scroll through my Ask Me page and All Trips pagesskills stories, and gear reviews for answers to your questions before writing to me.

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