You can layer up as much as you want this winter, but if that first line of defense is weak, Old Man Winter will beat you every time. That's where the hardshell jacket comes in. Combining waterproofing, breathability, and lightweight materials into a neat little package, hardshells are the ultimate outer layer. So who's making the best hardshell? With so many products on the market, we decided to pick a couple favorites that might be worth that second, or even third, look. Check out who made the cut, and make your wish list a little longer this season.
Westcomb Shift LT hoodie
Move over Gore-Tex, there's a new kid in town. Westcomb's PolarTec NeoShell fabric has the same crazy waterproof technology as Gore-Tex but breathes unlike anything else out there. The Shift LT Hoodie is Westcomb's hardshell offering, and in addition to the new PolarTec, it weighs just 12 ounces—perfect for mountain wanderers who want to stay high and dry this season. MSRP: $400
Helly Hansen Odin jacket
When it comes to winter jackets, Helly Hansen's formula is tried and true. The Odin is no exception, featuring a three-ply waterproof material, detachable snow skirt, and waterproof pockets designed to battle Mother Nature's toughest. If things get really nasty, lock it down with the Odin’s detachable hood.
Patagonia M10 jacket
Patagonia takes light to a whole new level this season with its M10 hardshell. At 8.1 ounces, the M10 piece is impossibly light (like wallet light), but stays strong with three layers of Patagonia's H2No fabric. It is fully compatible with multiple layering systems as well, and if you're just not feeling it, the M10 stuffs down into its own chest pocket for easy portability. The M10 is available in men’s and women’s offerings. MSRP: $449
Eddie Bauer Neoteric jacket
For those who want a little more than just an outer layer, the Eddie Bauer Neoteric has enough gadgetry to keep you satisfied day in and day out. Check out the bicep ski pass pocket, mesh goggle pocket with sewn in goggle wipe, and internal media pocket, while taking comfort in Eddie Bauer's First Ascent quality. MSRP: $399
La Sportiva Storm Fighter GTX jacket
Just need a durable layer? Maybe it's time to keep things simple with the La Sportiva Storm Fighter GTX—a streamlined hardshell built to keep you warm and dry above all else. There's not much room for storage (read: one chest pocket), but layering under this bad boy shouldn't be an issue. For those who are looking to make some serious lift laps this winter, the Storm Fighter GTX might be an option worth looking into. MSRP: $267
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