Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Waterproof Jackets (Storm Shell)

Sherpa Asaar Jacket Review

86

2017

Sherpa Asaar Jacket Review

The Sherpa Asaar is a great lightweight shell for fast and light backpackers on a budget.

Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Flex Rain Jacket Review

85

2017

Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Flex Rain Jacket Review

A lightweight and handsome jacket, the Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Flex Rain Jacket is a versatile piece suited to long walks in the rain, wherever they take place.

First Lite Vapor Stormlight Ultralight Rain Jacket Review

84

2017

First Lite Vapor Stormlight Ultralight Rain Jacket Review

A versatile, lightweight shell, the First Light Vapor Stormlight Ultralight comes from a brand better known in hunting circles but with equal value for backpackers and hikers.

Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Jacket Review

83

2017

Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Jacket Review

Not meant for really rainy outings, the Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid is all about the best breathability in the class.

LL Bean Tek O2 2.5L Element Jacket Review

79

2017

LL Bean Tek O2 2.5L Element Jacket Review

The LL Bean TekO2 2.5L Element Jacket is a retro looking rain shell with modern features.

Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket Review

88

2017

Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket Review

A minimalist shell with maximum protection, the Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket matches Gore’s newest membrane with a lightweight build for excellent protection when weight is key.

Columbia OutDry EX Gold Reversible Jacket Review

86

2017

Columbia OutDry EX Gold Reversible Jacket Review

Soft and stretchy, the Columbia OutDry EX Gold Reversible Jacket is comfortable and casual looking. 

Black Diamond Liquid Point Review

83

2017

Black Diamond Liquid Point Review

An update to Black Diamond’s best selling waterproof-breathable summer weight jacket, the 2017 Liquid Point fits better, but retains the same clean, simple, and functional attributes of its previous iteration.

FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket Review

83

2017

FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket Review

The FA designs 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket is burly enough for winter use, but light and agile enough to use in any season.

Mishmi Takin Virunga Review

85

2017

Mishmi Takin Virunga Review

A shell designed for the tropics, the Mishmi Takin Virunga is loaded with venting and breathability without giving up its ability to block the rain.

The North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix

88

2016

The North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix

Using high tech fabrication to full advantage the North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix is the most versatile jacket we tested in this category, ideal for everything from backcountry trips to walking the dog.

Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell

86

2016

Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell

Designed for alpine climbing and mountaineering adventures the Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell is a trim fitting, lightweight 2.5-layer shell that compresses small and has a minimalist feel.

TNF FuseForm Dot Matrix

76

2015

TNF FuseForm Dot Matrix

The TNF FuseForm Dot Matrix Jacket offers decent performance in wet weather, with good breathability, but it comes up short on other details.

Rab Muztag Jacket

84

2015

Rab Muztag Jacket

The Rab Muztag is a simple mountain inspired shell with breathability worthy of aerobic pursuits.

Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket

77

2015

Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket

The Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket is a trail running jacket built to comply with ultra race gear requirements, but versatile enough for other activities.

Outdoor Research Axiom

81

2015

Outdoor Research Axiom

The Outdoor Research Axiom is suitable for a range of activities—from ski touring to backpacking.

Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite

82

2015

Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite

The Mountain Hardware Quasar Lite provides excellent value for a shell that can hack everything from backpacking to alpine pursuits in all four seasons.

Millet Grepon GTX

79

2015

Millet Grepon GTX

The Millet Grepon is a four season worthy shell optimized for mountaineering and backcountry skiing.

Stio Vescent Jacket

88

2014

Stio Vescent Jacket

The Stio Vescent gets our Best in Class award this season for its versatile and uncomplicated performance. We felt that it was nearly everything an all-mountain softshell should be.

Marmot Essence Jacket

83

2014

Marmot Essence Jacket

This may be the most breathable hard shell we’ve tested.

Rab Atmos Jacket

81

2014

Rab Atmos Jacket

The Rab Atmos is an excellent three-season jacket for running and mountain biking.

Mountain Hardwear Super Light Plasmic Jacket

81

2014

Mountain Hardwear Super Light Plasmic Jacket

A great jacket for variable hiking and climbing conditions.

LL Bean NeoShell Bounder Jacket

78

2014

LL Bean NeoShell Bounder Jacket

A heck of a good price for a great jacket.

Patagonia Leashless Jacket

88

2014

Patagonia Leashless Jacket

With everything we want in a hard shell, this could be your everyday, year round jacket.

Mammut Segnas

82

2013

Mammut Segnas

In short: the best of the test.

Mountain Hardwear Blazar Pullover

80

2013

Mountain Hardwear Blazar Pullover

By combining their highly breathable and waterproof DryQ membrane with their ultra-light Ghost Whisperer fabric, Mountain Hardwear created one of the lightest hard shells available.

Marmot Speedri Jacket

78

2013

Marmot Speedri Jacket

Testers heaped high praise on this versatile shell for its overall light weight without sacrificing key features and performance.

Millet Alpine X Celerator

78

2013

Millet Alpine X Celerator

A good choice for fast and light alpine ascents, the X Celerator will also keep you covered if the weather turns nasty.

LL Bean Pathfinder Waterproof Shell

77

2013

LL Bean Pathfinder Waterproof Shell

All the features we expect to see on top of the line jackets at the price of a base model.

The North Face Alpine Project

89

2012

The North Face Alpine Project

Designed for fast, technical alpine climbing missions, the Alpine Project Hard Shell is made with Gore Tex's new Active Shell, a lighter, thinner and more breathable membrane that's still guaranteed waterproof.

Arc’teryx Men's Alpha SL Hybrid

91

2012

Arc’teryx Men's Alpha SL Hybrid

By combining Gore Tex’s Paclite and Pro Shell fabrics in the Alpha jacket, Arc'Teryx achieves both lightweight, high packability in low wear areas, and durability and high breathability where it's needed. The design is intended for hiking and climbing.

Westcomb Switch LT

87

2012

Westcomb Switch LT

The lightest Polartec Neoshell jacket on the market. Designed for ski touring, climbing and cycling, the two pockets sit high on the chest out of the way of harnesses and hip belts.

Adidas Outdoor Terrex Feather Jacket

92

2012

Adidas Outdoor Terrex Feather Jacket

A top of the line, fully featured outdoor shell, introduced as part of adidas's new outdoor line. It complements the user’s movements, never restricts, and is burly, totally waterproof and highly breathable.

Helly Hansen Odin Guiding Light Jacket

83

2012

Helly Hansen Odin Guiding Light Jacket

A simple, light, highly breathable and waterproof mountaineering shell made from Helly Hansen's top of the line Helly Tech Professional membrane.