Do-it-all jacket

4:34 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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Hi,

Is there a do-it-all jacket or close to it for 4 season use?

I'm debating whether to get Arc'teryx Rush jacket.

Thanks!

4:43 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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If you want it for year long use, I would suggest a soft shell. A thin one with a hood maybe. Light, light, light, on the insulation (no fleece lined) and possibly one with pitzips also.

The only other option I can think of would be a 3 in 1 component jacket.

OR are you just looking for a shell!?!?!?! like the Rush.?!?!

-MG

4:51 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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I'm looking just the shell, since I can layer it with a mid layer if needed. My primary reason is to replace 4 of my cheaper rain jackets for 1 that's durable for all kind of activities and seasons. My activities include hiking, 4 season backpacking, snowboarding...

4:59 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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In my opinion, whenever you look for a piece of "do-it-all" gear, you run into the same problem.  Namely, you wind up with something that is not very good for any specific purpose.  I have tried this do-it-all approach with tents, stoves, jackets, and trekking poles before finally learning a lesson: pick the purpose first and foremost, and then find the piece of gear that will fit the best.  If you are looking into an Arc'teryx-level price point already, then I think spending some time figuring out what exactly you want may be your best bet.  

5:13 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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My wife thinks I have too many jackets! and none of them is really good or decent, so I'm trying to consolidate them all to just one jacket. I was looking at the Arc'teryx Rush jacket the other day and it seems like it fits all my needs (light, durable, excellent quality and it has the powder skirt) I know it a big price to pay, but if it can cover my bases, I think it's worth it (I plan to sell the other jackets to cover some of the cost).

6:11 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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what are the jackets you are dissatisfied with?

7:08 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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As .ghost said, there is no such thing as a do-it-all jacket. Unless your venues of usage fall within a fairly narrow range. A truly waterproof/breathable shell can work for 3 seasons at the warm end (if the cooler seasons are not too cool) or at the cold end (if the warmer seasons are not too hot). And even then, there is no truly wp/b that works for summers in the US Southeast and it's 90/90 weather - it's just way too humid. There are some eVent shells that work in the US Southwest in summer, in that the humidity is low and when it rains, the temperature drops to tolerable temperatures for wearing the jacket. However, except for evenings in the high desert, you will find any of the wp/b jackets in the full daytime summer sun anywhere in the SW US (not much in the way of clothing is comfortable at 120-130F.

At other seasons and most of the US, most wp/b shells of eVent and many of the current generation of Goretex are good as an outer shell, especially if they have pit zips. You can always layer fleece, a Schoeller soft shell, or a filled jacket with Primaloft or top-quality down to add warmth.

You really need to define your usage parameters more clearly. When you mention the powder skirt, this seems to indicate that you intend to use the jacket in full-on, cold, winter storm conditions. Unless you can remove the skirt, such jackets tend to be too warm even in middle to late spring or early to middle fall conditions

7:22 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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The new Westcomb Neoshell jacket I couldnt be happier with.  I own so many Gortex jackets and in the summer months when it rains I cook like a lobster.  I dont care how many pit zips are on a gortex jacket, they dont breathe well at all.  All I can say is simply try a Neoshell jacket.  Marmot makes a nice one but its a little warm/heavy.  My Westcomb is perfect.  eVent as well is an excellent choice.  If your really looking for a 4 season waterproof jacket the Neoshell fabric is really the best.

8:18 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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I would cut down to 2 or 3.  I have an old Gerry Component jacket that I love.  It's fairly versatile if the weather is cooler.  Not great for warmer weather though.

11:44 p.m. on February 13, 2012 (EST)
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First Ascent Sirocco Wind Shell Jacket, its super light!!! wind proof, and it says light rain proof... but i haven't had any seeping in it yet!

also, i know colombia's omni-heat series have a 3-piece jacket! basically three jackets to layer.. felt kinda heavy but i didn't have a scale so if you're going light that is not it!

12:10 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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Late last year I purchased an Arcteryx Beta AR jacket for a AT thru hike in 2013.  It is a waterproof shell with a 3 layer Pro-shell Goretex at 15 oz.  The jacket has long pit zips as well as ventilation with the two side pockets when open.  All zips are waterproof.  The hood is not detachable but is very configurable.  It is a pretty true fit but I purchased a size larger to be able to layer.

I have tried the jacket in heavy and light rain and strong cool winds with and without a pack.  The jacket is waterproof/windproof and with the pit zips/vent pockets, and a reasonable pace, I stayed very comfortable and dry on the inside.  The temps ran in the low to mid 50's during these hikes and all I wore under the jacket was a merino micro weight T.

With the pack, hiking steep uphill in the rain, there is nothing that will prevent sweat inside a jacket.  However, the thin merino wool T and the windproof/waterproof shell kept me comfortable.  I am sure that should the weather ever turn very bad this jacket will work very well as an all around shell allowing me to layer underneath as needed.

The bad is the price.  It is expensive.  But, long lasting quality generally is.

4:04 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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If durability is what your looking for I would highly recommend the military ECWCS goretex parka. I don't use it all the time, but do often enough. They are an awesome budget piece of gear that is tough as freakin nails. Perfect for bushwhacking or other tough abusive situations

My other shell is the Stoic vaporshell which i am extremely happy with.

4:46 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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Backpacker said:

My wife thinks I have too many jackets!

 I bet she does!  Sounds like you need to build some more shelves, get some closet organizers and, without threatening her shoes, kindly ask how long its been since she wore a certain pair as you stand there with a rubbermaid storage tub.  Good luck with that last part by the way, I would make sure shes not between you and the door.

Man cannot live on one jacket alone, unless he is in the tropics.  We need beaters for cutting brush and splitting wood.  A nice one to wear when taking her out to dinner.  One for REALLY cold.  One for rain.  One for riding the motorcycle.  One for hunting.  One for hiding.  One for sitting round the fire.  One for nice days that breaths well.

You do need a new jacket.  But I would keep the rest too. 

Re-evaluate your strategy and make concessions for closet space.  Maybe theres a sale coming up and she's running out of places to hide things after she's bought them.  

Good luck,   hahahahahahahaaaaa

ps  dont try any of this today, Valentines day and all.

5:18 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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MoZee- Those are some words to live by! I too have a jacket "issue", the issue being that I have tons. My girlfriend will pull one out and the conversation goes a little somthing like this.... 

"well, whats this one for" 

 "well thats for 0 to 32 degrees and wet weather"

".....and this...."

"ah yes, 0 to -10 with wet snow"

....and so on with 10+ jackets I own.

6:18 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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i would choose an eVent shell jacket, with the caveat that i haven't tried anything that uses polartec's new neoshell membrane.  the brands i like best are Wild Things and RAB, but there are plenty of very good options around.  with thoughtful layering, a shell like this can deal with all but the very worst winter weather you will find in the US (lower 48) if you're moving (if you're sitting still in the coldest weather, you don't need a shell, you need a well-insulated parka).  if you like gore tex, the pro shell jackets from marmot and arcteryx are great.

think about how you will use the jacket, because there are a lot of options out there.  do you want/need pockets on the front? are you a minimalist who craves the lightest-weight jacket out there? do you anticipate a fair bit of abuse, so a somewhat burlier nylon fabric might be a better choice? does the hood suit your needs (eg wearing a helmet) and adjust well? does it have good, useful armpit zip openings (an essential feature in my opinion). 

wild things just updated their eVent shell.  i'm guessing it is fairly lightweight.  if i were in the market for a new shell today, i would give this one a serious look.  small company, reasonably priced compared to some of the top-end shells, and their gear is generally very well-made and well-designed.       http://www.wildthingsgear.com/catalog/product/view/id/7131/s/m-alpinist-jacket/category/5/?color=delft 

11:24 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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I don't think you need to spend that much to get some great rain jackets, I will show you a few that I've come across that would fit your needs and would be half the price and almost half the weight of the Arc'teryx jacket you first picked.


http://www.columbia.com/Men%27s-Raintech%E2%84%A2-Jacket/RM3035_S,default,pd.html
This one is the heaviest, they don't display the weight but when I checked it at the store the large one could be estimated to weight about 14-16oz? maybe something around that, very durable and breathes well too.

http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/sc-gear/mens-stretch-diad-jacket.html
Tried and true jacket, can find tons of reviews about it online. Btw, 10.7oz

http://marmot.com/products/minimalist_jacket
Never tried this jacket myself, but I fancied buying it, when I spoke to a Marmot rep he told me this jacket was bombproof and breathes very well, allows for great movement and while doing your snowboarding if you fear overheating you can open the underarm zipper. Online reviews do point to that direction as well. 15oz

http://www.golite.com/Ms-Kenai-Pertex-25-Layer-Hardshell-P722.aspx
Another lightweight option to throw in the mix, never used it but I called them about their rain jackets for backpacking purposes and they recommended me that one, they claim its durable and breathes very well. 10oz


Like many people said, you need to get a jacket specific for your activities, I never done snowboarding, but I do backpacking, and when I look for backpacking jacket I try to select something lightweight since I would not be using it all the time, something that will not rip and that will not let any water in no matter how heavy the rain, that erases all those other "water repellent" 4-7oz jackets and all those super thick 1lb+ jackets, I try to stay between the 10-16oz range depending on the fabric etc... Also make sure it has big enough waterproof pockets to keep your gear in if you are caught in a downpour! Since you stated you are just looking for a shell with not much insulation, hopefully these jackets I mentioned would help you out!
 

2:46 p.m. on February 15, 2012 (EST)
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3:02 p.m. on February 15, 2012 (EST)
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There are alot of great jackets out there but in my own personal experience I have to agree with what is stated above. 

A "do-it-all" jacket is non-existant.

Its kinda like a do it all tent. I have multiple solo shelters for multiple season/conditions. One tent that performs exceptionally well in all conditions doesn't exist. Same goes with alot of other gear out there(stoves, footwear, etc.) 

Before making any suggestions I would like to know a bit more of where Backpacker is considering using this jacket.

I get the whole 4 season thing but this can vary dramatically depending on where one is going(for instance NE winter as opposed to SW winter.)

While there are a few solid suggestions above these are suggestions that work for the individual posting said suggestion and may not necessarily be a prime choice for Backpacker. 

Another question I have is when the reference is made to "do-it-all" what does Backpacker mean specifically?

Do what all? Keep ya dry? Breathes well? Great in warmer weather? Keeps ya toasty? Blah blah blah. 

Once again this goes with the whole where are you utilizing this jacket question...

I personally have had my eye on Mountain Hardwear's Drystein Jacket and am about to pull the trigger on the purchase. 

But like I said this is what will work for me in the conditions that I am exposed too. 

12:14 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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I like the Westcomb Specter LT Hoody and the Cruiser.

6:53 p.m. on April 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Marmot driclimb windshirt

8:02 p.m. on April 16, 2012 (EDT)
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I don't know guys, It seems to me one light water proof jacket could do it all if you layered right. Of course you would have many layering layers. You might be better off with 10 jackets. :P

1:11 a.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Backpacker:

Not unexpectedly, most of the forum-members here are hikers, backpackers, campers.

Very few (I'm guessing ?) snowboard.

Hence; most of the above recommendations do not address a jacket that will also work well for snowboarding.

I snowboard.   At least, I DID, until a recent M.R.I. revealed a torn meniscus in my left knee.  Result of a pretty gnarly wipe-out in the Poconos.

ANYHOW !!

I prefer my BlackBear and Burton snowboard-specific anoraks.   The generous, longer-length, and fuller-cut probably would NOT appeal to hikers and backpackers.   I HAVE used them for hiking in really cold climes and wet (snow, mostly) conditions.  I actually enjoyed the extra protection and comfort.

I have a couple Arc'teryx jackets; but, they are NOT suited for snowboarding.   Too 'trim' of a cut.

I can relate to your dilemma.   I honestly DO NOT know what to recommend for a "do-it-all / Swiss Army Knife" kinda jacket, in your quest.

Wish I could help.

                           ~ r2 ~

1:44 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Honestly, other than a wool base layer, there is no one piece of any clothing that does everything well. Where I hang out, a base, mid, windshirt, hardshell (a requirement here in the Cascades), and puffy still work the best.

My windshirt gets the most use.

3:00 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

Backpacker:

Not unexpectedly, most of the forum-members here are hikers, backpackers, campers.

Very few (I'm guessing ?) snowboard.

Hence; most of the above recommendations do not address a jacket that will also work well for snowboarding.

I snowboard.   At least, I DID, until a recent M.R.I. revealed a torn meniscus in my left knee.  Result of a pretty gnarly wipe-out in the Poconos.

ANYHOW !!

I prefer my BlackBear and Burton snowboard-specific anoraks.   The generous, longer-length, and fuller-cut probably would NOT appeal to hikers and backpackers.   I HAVE used them for hiking in really cold climes and wet (snow, mostly) conditions.  I actually enjoyed the extra protection and comfort.

I have a couple Arc'teryx jackets; but, they are NOT suited for snowboarding.   Too 'trim' of a cut.

I can relate to your dilemma.   I honestly DO NOT know what to recommend for a "do-it-all / Swiss Army Knife" kinda jacket, in your quest.

Wish I could help.

                           ~ r2 ~

I've actually been an avid boarder for many years(since the sport originated.) Halfpipe, park, free-ride... I was into everything up until like you I developed knee trouble so my boarding days are probably on the shelf. 

The snowboarding hobby was a spin off from when I decided to hang up skate boarding(snow was a bit more forgiving than asphalt, plywood, concrete, metal hand rails, etc.)

Although I have had alot of snow boarding gear over the years my current 2 parkas that I have are both Burton's and they are the same model 3/2s.

The first pics is from the late 90s maybe early 2000s if I can remember although I may be off a bit.

Its been a long time.

This one needs a new zipper and a bath to get the stains out but it has help up to alot of abuse. No tears or shredded stitching and once the zipper is fixed will be fully functional:

Burton-32s-001.jpg

The newer version of the Burton 3/2 that I own:

Burton-32s-003.jpg

They are great jackets/parkas for what they are designed for but they are heavy/bulky for one, and the layout of the pockets is not pack friendly.

I am on the fence on this one as well. I just can't come to a conclusion of one jacket that will handle both activities well.


5:39 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Nm

5:43 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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vigilguy said:

Nm

 ??????

7:11 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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IMG_1430.jpg

Since getting the Apoc Neoshell from Westcomb, I have sold my eVent jacket.  A lot softer and more comfortable, and more breathable than any shell used to date, for me.  They are certainly not cheap, but it has been my "go-to" shell since I got it.  I use eiher the ID PLQ jacket underneath, or a minus 33 base layer.  Ample room for layering.  The most noticeable difference is that eVent feels "crinkly" compared to this. 

That's me on the left, by the way!   :-)

8:40 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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"That's me on the left, by the way!"  

... that's not what I heard

11:06 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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jad said:

..there is no one piece of any clothing that does everything well...

Agreed. 

I have dedicated outer wear for the slopes; but use lighter shell garments in the back country.  I will use a hard shell or go with a soft shell depending on anticipated weather.  Additionally I usually go with trad full zip parkas most of the time, but prefer anorak design for the super cold, where a full zip ventilation is unnecessary.  But if I was dirt bagger poor, I would select a rain parka as my sole outter layer garment.

Ed

11:07 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

But if I was dirt bagger poor, I would select a rain parka as my sole outter layer garment.

Ed

 +1

11:15 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Probably the best choice overall, but yer gonna smell like a donkey from sweat after a few days. Stinkin for awhile in the mountains is fine by me.

8:26 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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I played probably my best round of golf in the new Apoc neoshell jacket from westcomb.  Shot an 82 in drizzling rain and then blustering winds.  I cannot say enough good things about this jacket.  Normally I'd go for a softshell but this jacket is tops all around. Cheers.

2:28 p.m. on May 7, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm not real fond of Pertex - it doesn't breathe very well at all. Manufacturers often offer full length pit zips to compensate, but your arms and back are still soaked if you're doing more than just going for a walk around town. The same goes for Goretex or eVent, though.

Like the search for the perfect tent for all seasons, or the perfect pair of boots, the search for the perfect waterproof/breathable fabric is the Holy Grail of outdoor clothing manufacturers.

I've given up. I have an old, beat-up W/B shell (that is really only waterproof some of the time) and if I layer it with a fleece or two (or even a down sweater at -20°C) I'll stay warm and reasonably dry.

1:20 p.m. on May 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm a fan of Outdoor Research jackets. I've owned this one for a while: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/outdoor-research/furio-jacket/

1:07 p.m. on May 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Do it all jacket? Pipe dream.

5:39 p.m. on June 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Maybe something like an Arcteryx Theta would work for you.  Typical bombproof construction, and cut a bit longer which is an advantage for boarding (but still a compromise).  Works as a rain jacket and all-around, with a somewhat looser cut.  Kinda heavy tho for summertime use.

I find that I want one jacket for winter and swing seasons and another for summer and swing seasons.  The former would be ProShell, or perhaps these days NeoShell given all the rave reviews it is getting.  I too like the Westcomb Apoc jacket or the Rab Stretch Neo.  It seems to me that the Vaude Alpamayo is also winter-sport oriented, and quite nice!

Summer I'd lean more toward breathability and sacrifice a bit of waterproofness.  But maybe that is not a compromise you'd make.  That would put you into maybe some of the new Gore Active Shell garments.  I've been eyeing those in local stores, but can't yet rationalize the purchase given how many jackets I have already.  I like an Arcteryx Squamish in the summer, but it is absolutely NOT waterproof, nor even very water repellent.  For Active Shell you could look at the Outdoor Research Axiom jacket, or the Mountain Equipment Firefox.  There's also the Arcteryx FL line, but I haven't actually seen any of those yet.  Pretty soon all the mfgrs will have 'em.

An entirely different direction might be something like the Epic Cotton-based jackets, which are a bit high-tech, but still basically like a cotton/nylon 60/40 jacket.  I like the jackets that Orvis had until recently -- the Hurricane Jacket in "waterproof cotton" which is the Epic fibre.  There are a couple of European manufacturers that also offer Epic cotton-based gear.  But be advised it is not very friendly for backpacking since it is definitely heavy.  OK for boarding tho, depending on design.

Hopefully a few ideas here to get you thinking about it?

9:27 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm leery of a cotton-based fabric, just because if it does get wet, you don't have any insulation at all. The water that stays in the fabric can actually make you colder! Less important in summer, but you can still get awfully cold if you're soaked to the skin, even in warm weather.

12:38 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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if you look at polartec's neoshell and want the jacket to have the broadest possible temperature range, look at the hardshell varieties like the rab stretch neo or the westcomb switch or apoc.  (those jackets all have a little bit of 'give' but are hard shells - i tried them on).  i just picked up a neoshell softshell on sale, and it's definitely a cooler-weather option due to the fuzzy interior.  i think it would be too warm to wear for any very active endeavor much above 50 fahrenheit.  i'm very much looking forward to using it in cooler conditions, though.

i ended up putting on a fairly light eVent shell during a fairly strong rain storm a few weeks ago, temperature was hovering around 70.  i got a little warm, but it worked quite well overall. 

6:53 p.m. on June 25, 2012 (EDT)
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We reviewed the Rab Stretch NeoShell Jacket and loved it... here's the review:

http://www.backpackersreview.com/gear-reviews/clothing-footwear/57-gear-review-rab-neo-shell-jacket

Here is another good one from Helly Hansen that uses their own technology:

http://www.backpackersreview.com/gear-reviews/clothing-footwear/84-gear-review-helly-hansen-odin-superstretch-jacket

8:29 p.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Last winter I picked up a Mtn. Hardwear Kepler shell Jacket and I love it! I also picked up a Mtn. Hardwear Drystein jacket which is probably the best shell I've ever owned.

 I was actually was using today to deal with all the rain we've been having in the Chicago area within the last 24 hours. Really light, but the jacket breathes really well so you're not burning up on the inside. Both use that new Dry-Q tech which makes them waterproof but still breathes.

Good stuff!

July 25, 2014
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