Good for Resort
Resort jackets used to come in two varieties: There were the big, bulky numbers designed to keep you warm on the chairlift, and there were the lightweight shells you could take into the backcountry. But innovations in insulation, ventilation, and waterproof-breathable fabrics have ushered in a whole new breed of jackets that, like the Gear of the Yearwinning Patagonia Reconnaissance, can go anywhere and do anything.
1. The Reconnaissance uses a DWR coating and a generous amount of synthetic insulation (PrimaLoft Eco) to keep you toasty on long, windy lift rides. On the way down, pit zips and highly permeable soft-shell fabric quickly vent the heat from exertion. "Sunny and dry, dumping wet snow, high winds and frigid temps whatever the weather was doing, I always reached for this jacket," said one tester.
2. For a relatively light jacket, the Recon has a surprising array of creature comforts: Generous amounts of brushed polyester soften the chin and back of the neck, and there's a season-pass holder and pockets galore, including an iPod-compatible chest pouch. And while the tough fabric isn't stretchy, a small elastic panel in the middle of the back allows the jacket to flex with you.
3. For spring skiing or sidecountry tours, you can remove the powder skirt and insulated hood. Some testers wished the pit zips were bigger, but everyone liked their placement below the armpits, which allows access around backpack straps.
(2.4 lbs) patagonia.com