Tag Archives: winter shell jacket reviews

Review: Outdoor Research Skyward Jacket

January 11, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Outdoor Research Skyward Jacket

Outdoor Research Skyward Jacket

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

From the moment we left our car, through several hours of backcountry skiing in Idaho’s Boise Mountains—uphill and downhill, in dumping snow and temperatures from the teens to the 20s Fahrenheit—until we got back to the car, this soft shell never left my back. Not once. The only layering change I made all day was to twice pull an insulated jacket on over the shell. The fact that I can’t remember the last time I wore any shell jacket all day, through a huge range of exertion levels in winter conditions, speaks to this shell’s superior breathability. But it proved superior by many performance measures as a shell for backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, mountaineering, and ice climbing. Continue reading →

Review: Marmot Zion Jacket

January 20, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Marmot Zion Jacket

Marmot Zion Jacket

Winter Shell
Marmot Zion Jacket
$400, 1 lb. 4 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

Backcountry skiing at around 9,000 feet around Galena Summit, which separates Idaho’s Smoky Mountains and Boulder Mountains (with views north to the better-known Sawtooths and White Cloud Mountains), on a day with lightly falling snow, wind on exposed ridgelines, and temperatures in the 20s Fahrenheit, I needed a shell jacket that could keep me comfortable and dry as my body cycled frequently between overheating and feeling chilled. The Zion Jacket did just that. Waterproof-breathable like a hard shell, it looks, feels, and behaves in some ways more like a soft shell—and offers more seasonal range and weather versatility. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Patagonia Knifeblade Jacket and Pants

December 6, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Patagonia Knifeblade Jacket

Patagonia Knifeblade Jacket

Winter Jacket and Pants
Patagonia Knifeblade Jacket
$379, 1 lb. 2 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XL, women’s XS-L

Patagonia Knifeblade Pants
$299, 1 lb. 1 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s XS-XL, women’s XS-L
patagonia.com

Skiing up Pilot Peak in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, on a day of clouds, light snow and wind, and temperatures just below freezing, I kept my jacket on—something I almost never do when skiing uphill (unless it’s much colder), because I invariably work up a good sweat. And I did it repeatedly, because of the breathability of my Knifeblade Jacket, which moves moisture so efficiently that it never got more than slightly damp inside. I’m updating this review because the Knifeblade once again impressed me so much on that recent day of backcountry skiing. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell

January 21, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell

Winter Shell
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell
$349, 1 lb. 2 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
blackdiamondequipment.com

We expect more of jackets made for our winter outdoor pursuits because we spend more time in them than in a rain shell in summer (which may not even come out of your pack). Most of all, it has to fend off a wide range of nasty weather while breathing well enough that you don’t wind up creating a nasty storm of sweat on the inside. Black Diamond’s new Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell did just that for me over numerous days of skiing the backcountry of Idaho’s Boise Mountains, in temperatures ranging from single digits with a below-zero wind chill through the high 30s, in falling snow, light rain mixed with wet snow, wind, and just plain calm, sub-freezing air. Continue reading →


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