rain jacket reviews

The Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket.

Review: Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket and Bibs

Winter Shell Jacket and Bibs
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket
$349, 1 lb. 5.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Bibs
$349, 1 lb. 9 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

The waves of December snowstorms rolled through for days, dumping cold, dry, light powder in the mountains. In the backcountry, the skiing was epic—as were the weather conditions. That’s when high-quality shells demonstrate their value. On numerous days of ski touring through hours of heavily falling snow, temps ranging from the single digits to the teens and 20s Fahrenheit, and frequent wind, OR’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket and Bibs passed every qualifying exam to rank among the very best outerwear for winter.

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The Black Diamond Treeline Rain Shell.

Review: Black Diamond Treeline Rain Shell

Rain Jacket
Black Diamond Treeline Rain Shell
$130, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

High-performance rain jackets for the backcountry cost real money. Cheap rain shells often compromise on quality. Through a rainy, three-day, August backpacking trip in the Wind River Range, including hiking nine miles in wind-driven rain and temps in the 40s Fahrenheit on our last day, this lightweight jacket kept my 20-year-old son dry. If you want a rain shell that delivers good quality at a price that leaves you gas money to reach the trailhead, the Treeline warrants a close look.

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Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket.

Review: Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket

Rain Jacket
Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket
$299, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
rei.com

Sometimes, mountain weather refuses to cooperate with your plans. On an August trip backpacking in the Wind River Range with my son, we saw patches of blue sky only on our first afternoon—followed by a couple of days of rain, culminating with us hiking out nine miles in a wind-driven tempest and temps in the 40s Fahrenheit. On days like that, I’m happy to have a shell that will reliably keep me dry and comfortable like the Zeta SL.

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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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