The Winter Coat

Techno-marvels from the next wave of outerwear

Dec 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

   Photo: Chris Buck

FROM LEFT: Although the polyurethane-coated HELLY HANSON STORM JACKET ($120; 800-435-5901, can shut out a nor'easter, don't mistake it for the stifling rain slicker of yore. The Storm's coating feels like silk, not plastic, and the fuzzy feel inside says "soft shell"—not "crackly nylon windbreaker."

The LIBERTY RIDGE ($240; 800-426-4840,, REI's latest breathable-waterproof gambit, uses a proprietary fabric, Diaplex, to turn up the ventilation when alpine pursuits get sweaty. As you grunt through the backcountry with the temperature above freezing, pores in the so-called phase-change fabric dilate to vent steam. Stop moving, or simply amble about outside on a zero-degree day, and the threads seal up to keep body warmth contained.

For those who worship at the altar of minimalist simplicity, consider that just three seams hold together the BURTON AK 3L CONTINUUM FUSE snowboard jacket ($400; 800-881-3138, Graciously, the designers didn't throw function out the window: Two pockets, pit zips, and a generous powder skirt remain.

Thanks to a polyester fabric that looks like a landscape of pea-size egg cartons, the snug-fitting midlayer NIKE SPHERE ACG THERMAL JACKET ($115; 800-344-6453, stays toasty warm. The textured pods are shaped to retain Nike's signature substance, air—more commonly known as your body's heat—making this stylish layer an effective 21st-century replacement for tired, ubiquitous fleece.

Filed To: Multisport, Snow Sports

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