This is the second hard-shell jacket I have owned…
Fabric: Patagonia's proprietary H2No waterproof/breathable and similar stretch fabric.
Fill: None. A human body, perhaps.
Price Paid: $225
This is the second hard-shell jacket I have owned and will likely be the last one I'll ever need. I have had mine for about two years and it looks just the same as it did when it came out of the box (except for a bit of ripstop tape near the neck because I lent it out to a smoker one windy night).
It weighs 13 ounces dry and is worth every gram for the protection it provides. Yes, I'm a gram-counting ultralighter when it comes to gear, but I chose this shell over the slightly lighter competition for a variety of reasons:
1. Patagonia's reputation for durability and quality and their pioneership in corporate environmental responsibility and stewardry.
2. The abundant waterproof zippers that provide ample ventilation options which greatly enhance comfort.
3. It looks really awesome, like a space suit or some kind of secret extraterrestrial technology.
Overall, my experience with this particular jacket has been phenomenal. I use it mainly for backpacking but occasionally wear it when I venture into the concrete jungles of society.
It is waterproof and windproof and breathable enough to dissipate perspiration even when hiking in the spring rain of the Smoky Mountains. Appropriately layered, one can stay relatively dry inside and out in any earthly environment when wearing this other-worldly beauty of a shell.
A solid all-around shell. I use it for backcountry…
Fabric: Patagonia's proprietary version of Gore-tex Paclite
Price Paid: $140 @ outlet
A solid all-around shell. I use it for backcountry skiing, summer hiking, ice-climbing, mountaineering and grocery shopping. Works well as a do-everything shell. The light-weight 2-layer Gore-tex-equivalent fabric is very nice so far (6 months in).
Sometimes it feels mildly clammy inside (I'm a heavy sweater), but it dries remarkably fast when you unzip it, take it off, or open up the pit-zips. The hood is okay, but takes some fiddling with to get it adjusted. I got mine cheap at the outlet store (still can't figure out why it was a factory second), but I would have paid full price for this jacket.