Backpacker - - Shells -

OUR TAKE Start with what we love about soft­shells—en­hanced breatha­bil­ity, lots of stretch—then toughen it up to han­dle sharp win­ter gear, and you get this jacket. The burly, 75-de­nier polyester fab­ric kept the San Juan look­ing new af­ter abra­sive scram­bles up Wash­ing­ton’s McClel­land Butte and Mt. Tener­iffe. And it stood up—way up—to in­clement weather for a non-wa­ter­proof jacket, thanks to the polyester’s tight weave and a DWR coat­ing. One tester wore the San Juan for sev­eral hours of rain with only min­i­mal leak­ing. Trade­off: It’s heav­ier and less flex­i­ble than most soft­ies.

THE DE­TAILS Breatha­bil­ity earned top marks: “Dur­ing an in­tense work­out hik­ing Mail­box Peak on a wet, windy, 40°F day, I hap­pily kept it fully zipped and didn’t get clammy,” says a tester. Four mesh-backed pock­ets add ad­di­tional vent­ing. More fea­tures: a roomy, hel­met-com­pat­i­ble hood, and two in­te­rior pock­ets that fit snacks and a GPS.

TRAIL CRED “The trim cut boosted breatha­bil­ity on cross-coun­try ski ses­sions, but the stretchy fab­ric let me add a puffy when tem­per­a­tures dipped to 20°F on a hike through a foot of fresh snow,” one tester says. $169; 1 lb. 3 oz. (m’s L); m’s S-XL, w’s XS-XL; out­door­re­search.com

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