1. No matter what the weather, the Icefield was ready. The shella slightly stretchy, very sturdy ripstop polyester with a waterproof-breathable membraneshucked off epic dumps at Jackson Hole and wet slop on Washington's Mount Baker. But inside was the perfect amount of Climashield Green insulation to keep us warm when the winds blasted us on the lifts at Loveland, Colorado. Yet on full-speed boot-packs up Aspen's Highland Bowl in midwinter, the Icefield felt light, breathable, and comfortable.
2. What makes a good jacket great? The details. Here, it's buttery- smooth zippers, hood drawstrings that vanish into a fleece-lined collar, and reinforced shoulders and hips for carrying skis or a pack. Spacious front pockets held climbing skins or goggles, and generous pit vents helped unload steam.
3. A minimalist design means no extras like a pass holder or powder skirt but a style that feels as comfortable at the bagel shop as at the lift line. It's also hard to believe how truly sustainable this jacket is, given how well it performs. Most materials are recycledall of the shell and 40 percent of the insulationand the jacket is fully recyclable.
2.1 lbs, $400 patagonia.com