If Toyota made a jacket, it would be a lot like the Escape: solid performance, great value. Made of Gore-Tex Performance Shell (the new name for the classic two-layer waterproof-breathable fabric), the Escape shucked off the elements in the nastiest Northwest storms. It's not as light as comparably tricked-out shells built with more expensive materials, but it costs almost half as much. Smart detail: Instead of packing into the collar, the hood becomes the collar when you fold it down. 1.9 lbs (L); mountainhardwear.com
Bonus: Keep beverages from freezing in the inner water-bottle pocket.
Bummer: No powder skirt.