Best Storm Shells of 2013

Best Storm Shells of 2013

Gear Institute’s Ryan Stuart field tested five of the best storm shells for 2013. Here’s a summary of what he found.

Mammut Segnas


Alone among all the shells we looked at this year, we couldn’t come up with any performance issues with the Mammut Segnas. Breathablility and waterproofness are at the high end in this simple design. And function is top notch. And it’s backed by Gore Tex’s guaranteed durability. In short: the best of the test. A lightweight, highly breathable alpine-inspired shell. Retail Price: $450. Gear Institute Rating: 82

Find the full report here.

Mountain Hardwear Blazar Pullover


The MH Blazar Pullover is all about ditching weight. By combining their highly breathable and waterproof DryQ membrane with their ultra-light Ghost Whisperer fabric, Mountain Hardwear created one of the lightest hard shells available. But the cost is steep in price and in loss of conveniences like pockets, adjustable wrists and full-length zips. It’s ideal for wet weather running and climbing. A minimalist in every way, it’s a waterproof, breathable, anorak style mountain shell. Retail Price: $450. Gear Institute Rating: 80

Find the full report here.

Marmot Speedri Jacket


Testers heaped high praise on this versatile shell for its overall light weight without sacrificing key features (pockets, big hood) and performance. With great breathability and all-day-long watershedding protection we think the Marmot Speed Dri would make an excellent shell for backpacking and day hiking. It’s a highly breathable, 14-ounce storm shell made from Marmot’s new Membrain FusionDri waterproof-breathable fabric. Retail Price: $360. Gear Institute Rating: 78

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Millet Alpine X Celerator


A good choice for fast and light alpine ascents, the X Celerator will also keep you covered if the weather turns nasty. One tester summed it up best: “This is exactly what a shell should be, light (so you bring it), simple (so its easy to use), no frills (less things to break), and ready to keep the shit out when a storm hits.” It’s a simple hard-shell jacket made with Cocona waterproof breathable membrane. No pit zips; narrow fit. Retail Price: $200. Gear Institute Rating: 78

Find the full report here.

LL Bean Pathfinder Waterproof Shell


The LL Bean Pathfinder has all the features we expect to see on top-of-the-line jackets—waterproof zips, generous hood, durable three-layer construction, etc.—at the price of a base model. Breathability is a bit weak, it’s a little heavy, and there are a couple other small issues, but otherwise it’s a good all-purpose value shell. Retail Price: $150. Gear Institute Rating: 77

Find the full report here.