The lightest shell in this test, the Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket eliminated waist, hood, and wrist adjustment to cut weight but kept all the protection we’d expect from a three-layer shell. With a soft liner, quiet fabric, and excellent breathability it’s a great choice for high speed, low-weight adventures.
The Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket uses Gore Tex’s newish C-Knit Backer technology. Essentially this is an inner liner improvement. As for weather shedding, the membrane is as waterproof as all Gore products proven by days spent in the rain. The hood is roomy but not very adjustable. It does provide lots of protection though. The front and hand pocket zips are all waterproof.
Gore’s numbers suggest C-Knit is more breathable than Gore Pro and Paclite, but not as breathable as its Active shell. Our testing suggests it’s a little less breathable than eVent, but not far off. But where it outshines the others is in feel. Most other membranes tend to feel damp when overwhelmed by sweating and the C-Knit’s silkier liner feels drier. In addition the Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket’s armpits are full of laser cut holes for ventilation. The vents are covered by an extra flap of fabric to keep water out.
Another C-Knit attribute is how soft it is next to skin and how quiet it is. Most other Gore membranes have a distinct crinkle that can get annoying when running or moving fast. The Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket is quiet and supple. With only one adjustment point, the hood often felt like it was about to fall over our eyes. The two hand pockets are nice and big and perfectly placed to hold our paws without interfering with pack straps or harnesses. There’s a third pocket, hidden inside one of the hand pockets. With a cable routing port designed for headphones from a phone or MP3 player.
As with its breathability, C-Knit promises to land somewhere between Pro and Active in durability. Expect the Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket to be tough enough for multi day trips and not afraid of a little rough play.
At 11 ounces the Dynafit Elevation GTX Jacket is the lightest 3-layer shell in our test this year. With fewer features—hence, less bulk—it also packs small.
Ryan Stuart is freelance writer and jack of all sports—trail running, mountain biking, whitewater paddling, surfing, climbing, skiing and mountaineering—based on Vancouver Island. Follow his testing on Google+.