Outdoor Research AscentShell jackets

The Black Diamond Helio Active Shell.

The 5 Best Rain Jackets for Hiking and Backpacking

By Michael Lanza

Shop for a rain jacket for dayhiking, backpacking, trail running, or climbing in the backcountry and you’ll see shells for adults ranging in price from under $100 to over $500 and in weight from less than half a pound to over a pound—with just as huge and confusing a range of opinions on them from reviewers and consumers. Look no further. This review spotlights the five best rain jackets for the backcountry and provides expert tips on how to select the right one for your adventures.

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The Outdoor Research Microgravity AscentShell Jacket.

Review: Outdoor Research Microgravity AscentShell Jacket

All-Season Shell Jacket Outdoor Research Microgravity AscentShell Jacket $249, 14 oz. (men’s medium) Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL backcountry.com Whether hiking steep hills in steady rain in temps from the 40s to the 30s Fahrenheit or backcountry skiing in heavily falling, wet snow, OR’s Microgravity AscentShell Jacket keep me dry going both uphill and downhill, thanks to the solid waterproofing …

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Outdoor Research Skyward Jacket.

Review: Outdoor Research Skyward II Jacket and Pants

Winter Shell Jacket
Outdoor Research Skyward II Jacket
$350, 1 lb. 7 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

Winter Shell Pants
Outdoor Research Skyward II Pants
$299, 1 lb. 5.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

OR’s Skyward II Jacket and Skyward II Pants have demonstrated unique versatility as winter shells over numerous days of backcountry skiing in a full range of conditions. I’ve skinned uphill and skied downhill through hours of dumping snow in temperatures in the teens and 20s Fahrenheit without ever taking the jacket off (and obviously not removing the pants) and remained comfortable skiing in single-digit temps (with an insulation layer under the jacket) and weather shifting from falling snow to sunshine.

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Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket

Review: Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket

Rain JacketOutdoor Research Interstellar Jacket$299, 11 oz. (men’s medium)Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XLbackcountry.com Anyone who’s spent enough hours in waterproof-breathable jackets while on the move in rain knows that the second half of that hyphenated adjective looms as critical to performance as the “waterproof” part. When OR introduced the Interstellar as an overhaul of a personal favorite, their Realm Jacket, …

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