BEST FOR: Skiing in all conditions.
THE TEST: The Ultrachange is the lightest incarnation of Columbia's popular three-in-one parka system, pairing a whispery (12 ounce) waterproof shell with a synthetic puffy. Alone, the shell makes a great backcountry touring piece, with a broad-brimmed, helmet-compatible hood and large chest pockets, which are smartly situated above a pack's waist belt (so you can quickly stash climbing skins). Testers snapped in the insulation and stayed toasty in sideways snow during a wicked Whistler storm cycle, thanks in part to the reflective metallic lining, which modestly boosts warmth without adding bulk.
THE VERDICT: The most versatile jacket here.
Also in the market for a waterproof-breathable all-season shell? At just 12 ounces, the outer jacket of Columbia's three-in-one Ultrachange fits that bill, too.