| Hardware and Software, February 1997|
Working out in foul weather, swaddled head to toe in crinkly, three-layer Gore-Tex, feels like doing yoga in a business suit. Sure, any waterproof-breathable fabric will keep you dry, but most simply won't move with you. Enter Patagonia's Storm Cycle jacket ($265; 800-638-6464) and pants ($199): truly waterproof-breathable outerwear that stretches. Finally. The lightweight 5.4-ounce nylon twill fabric is laminated with Patagonia's own element-proof H2No Stretch membrane--a springy new incarnation of its H2No Storm barrier--and seam-sealed. The result? Three-layer togs that seal out the worst of weather without cramping your style.
Tailored loose enough for layering but snug enough so they won't flap in the breeze, the unisex jacket and pants aren't quite spandex-stretchy, but they can accommodate full-range-of-motion sports, everything from climbing to nordic skiing to pond hockey. The full-zip jacket has a drawstring hood and a side-opening rear pocket, while the pants feature ankle zippers, scuff patches, and an elasticized waist with an adjustable webbing belt. My only complaints: The gusseted crotch tends to bunch up when biking, and the top could use underarm vents for activities like trail running. Still, given the choice between my obdurate Gore-Tex parka and the forgiving Storm Cycle, I'd opt for flexibility on even the soggiest of days.