Backpacker - - NEWS - $350; 1 lb. 3 oz. (m’s L); m’s S-XL; out­doore­search.com

OUR TAKE “This was the one jacket I used ev­ery day, all win­ter,” reports one of our Alaska testers, prais­ing the Alpenice’s abil­ity to fend off snow­storms in the Chugach Range while still breath­ing well dur­ing steep as­cents. OR uses stretchy, waterproof, highly breath­able As­cen­tShell fab­ric in the shoul­ders, up­per body, and hood, while plac­ing thin­ner, weather-re­sis­tant Per­tex Mi­cro­light on the lower body. This mix pro­tects the ar­eas most ex­posed to pre­cip, while ul­tra­breath­able Po­lartec Al­pha Di­rect in­su­la­tion reg­u­lates temps. “I’ll throw on a puffy dur­ing tran­si­tions, but end up over­heat­ing min­utes after restart,” our tester says. “I wore this jacket up ev­ery moun­tain with­out melt­ing down.” THE DE­TAILS Al­pha Di­rect is a ver­sion of Po­lartec’s syn­thetic Al­pha in­su­la­tion with no backer. With­out the ex­tra fab­ric, it traps more warmth with­out adding bulk and breathes bet­ter. Bonus: Testers loved the beefy, durable zip­pers on the Alpenice’s chest pock­ets. TRAIL CRED “Snow and rain slide right off this jacket, and it feels as com­fort­able in­side as a soft cot­ton hoody,” says one tester who used it on Thomp­son Pass, Alaska, in subzero temps.

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