Women's gear, up first
What is the best waterproof rain jacket for Machu Picchu? Sara San Jose, California
I just spent a day in freezing drizzle (Minnesota seems to be ushering in a new ice age), and REIs Kulshan Jacket ($299; rei.com) kept me warm and dry. The 16.1-ounce Kulshan is made of Event, a membrane similar to Gore-Tex that allows sweat to escape easily to the outside of the fabric. Its waterproof and windproof up to 60 mph, but what I really like about the Kulshan is its oversized hood. Designed to fit over a helmet (for backcountry skiers or mountain bikers), the roomy hood gives your head full range of motion without giving you that cloying, claustrophobic feeling that you might accidentally trip and fall down the side of the mountain. The other excellent feature on this jacket is the 27-inch length-the long and roomy Kulshan stays in place and practically covers your bum without making you feel too hemmed in.
Or, go super light with Mountain Hardwears Quark Jacket ($200; mountainhardwear.com). The fully waterproof, highly breathable jacket weighs less than ten ounces, but still has the most important bells and whistles like an attached roll-away hood with a laminated brim, an interior zip pocket for keys, four-way stretch fabric, and even superlight pit zips.