Hard Shell Reviews

Mountain Hardwear Beryllium Jacket

This Mountain Hardware Beryllium jacket, geared towards alpine climbing and mountaineering, offers bombproof protection where it counts. This Jacket is excellently designed and it packs several nice features that set it apart from other Mountain Hardware shells. The Beryllium is not designed as an ultra light shell, allowing for extremely durable construction through and through. The gang at Mountain Hardware did not take any shortcuts on this shell, and they put out what I consider to be the Cadillac of mountaineering shells. Not only will this jacket protect you from whatever you might encounter on the mountain, it will make you smile.

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Cabela's Gore-Tex PacLite Rainy River Parka

Cabela's Gore-Tex PacLite Rainy River Parka

The Gore-Tex PacLite Rainy River Parka is a fully waterproof jacket that comes at an unbeatable price.  It hits the nail right on the head, with one of its few downfalls being awkward hand warmer pockets.  With its lightweight Gore-Tex PacLite shell and full body adjustment capability, it’s a great choice at a great price for anyone looking for a simple, waterproof jacket.

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Mountain Hardwear Crucial Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Crucial Jacket

With the Mountain Hardwear Crucial jacket, you get what you pay for.  In this case, you’re getting a sturdy, fully waterproof and windproof hard shell jacket with an all around great feel.  This isn’t your average jacket, however; the Crucial jacket is intended for alpine climbing or mountaineering, and this becomes apparent as soon as you pull the hood over your head.

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Mountain Hardwear Aiguille Parka

Mountain Hardwear Aiguille Parka

I think that in the search for the perfect hardshell, there are three characteristics that take top priority (already assuming full waterproofness): durability, breathability, and light weight.  Due to a problem with a previous jacket, I was given the opportunity to own a Gore-Tex jacket of my choosing (thank you, Gore!).  I decided on the Mountain Hardwear Aiguille Parka, which I now consider one of the best jackets I own.  It’s got durability (Gore-Tex XCR on the hood, shoulders, and upper arms).  It’s got breathability in spades (Gore-Tex PacLite for the main body of the shell, and good-sized pit zips).  And it’s definitely lightweight, weighing in at only 16 ounces, very impressive for a fully seam-taped hardshell with a lot of features.  It doesn’t get much better than this, folks.

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Lowe Alpine Flash Jacket

Lowe Alpine Flash Jacket

The Lowe Alpine Flash utilizes Triplepoint Ceramic, Lowe Alpine’s proprietary waterproof/breathable material.  Lowe Alpine no longer uses this fabric, having switched to eVent, and now Gore-Tex, but it is a solid membrane, and the jacket itself is one of the most fully featured, complex jackets out there, even for a mountaineering shell.  It’s not for lightweight jaunts through the park in spring drizzles, but it does what it was made for very well: extreme wet weather and cold protection, even up on the mountain.

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