Why you always should have a Rain Jacket alongWe have found 5.960 offers for you.
There is one sentence you hear from every outdoor guide: Never go outdoors without a rain jacket, aka a Hardshell. Especially in the mountains the weather can change in a matter of minutes and go from warm and sunny to freezing cold rain. In those instances you want to be able to hunker down in a water- and windproof jacket and stay dry and warm. Similarly, when you’re hiking in the forests of e.g. the Appalachian Trail and in the green tunnel the rain is dripping down on you from morning till evening, you will be very happy to have a hardshell and rain pants along, so that you do not arrive soaking wet at camp in the evening, but actually are dry and can slip into your cozy tent. Besides being water- and windproof hardshells are also breathable (some more, some less) and pretty durable – if you buy a high-quality hardshell you will have it for many years, and as it is easy to re-impregnate they will also not lose anything of their functionality.
What Is a Hardshell Jacket?
You probably can answer this question by now already, but let us re-cap: A hardshell is a waterproof, windproof, breathable, durable and non-insulated jacket which protects you in the harshest environments and weather. Usually the term ”hardshell” is reserved for garments which have a 3-layer construction where an interior liner and exterior face fabric are bonded to a waterproof and breathable membrane. These jackets usually have a more stiff and hard feel to them, hence that they also often are referred to as a hardshell. However, modern fabrics and technologies have come a long way since the first hardshell jackets in the 1980s, hence modern rain jackets from e.g. Arc’teryx, Houdini Sportswear, Patagonia and Rab can feel like a softshell – because the jacket is supple and soft – but still have the features and construction of a hardshell.
There are also different fabrics available for hardshells: GORE-TEX is by far the most prominent and well-known of these, but also Sympatex, Polartec NeoShell, eVent, Texapore, OutDry and Pertex Shield are high-quality waterproof-breathable fabrics which are used in a wide range of rain jackets. There’s also an increasing number of outdoor brands who develop their own 3-layer fabrics and which often are just as good as the fabrics from the aforementioned ones. An advantage of In-house developed fabrics is that the resulting garments are cheaper, and also that they often are having a better environmental footprint (as many companies, who develop fabrics themselves, want to get the most sustainable fabric possible).
Features which you want in a waterproof jacket are a good hood, underarm zippers for venting (also called Pit zips), the most suitable pocket arrangement for your chosen activity and also little things like adjustable cuffs and a hem and a comfortable collar lining. The seams of a rain jacket should be taped so that water can not seep through, and also the zipper needs to be of the waterproof kind. Ideally you’d be carrying your rain jacket 90% of the time in your backpack and only take it out when it rains and snows, so the lighter it is the better. However, sometimes you will be wearing the hardshell all the time – for example when you go skitouring, ice climbing or mountaineering – so for those use cases weight is a less important factor.
Higher priced jackets are usually using the best materials possible and have the most durable construction – something mountaineers and people who are out backpacking for months at a time will appreciate. But also cheaper rain jackets usually come with a waterproof zipper and taped seams so that they can keep you dry in inclement weather. Hardshell jackets always offer a minimum of protection, no matter if it is a jacket from Marmot, The North Face or Haglöfs.
There’s a hardshell for any use case available, from trekking and mountaineering rain jackets over ice climbing hardshells and trailrunning jackets to urban every-day rain jackets, there’s a jacket available for any outdoor activity, designed and made with the most useful features and cuts. Most jackets come in many colour choices and in a Women’s and a Men’s version, so that anyone can find the most suitable jacket for his style and outdoor activity!