The 6 Best Women's Jackets of Summer 2012

Flyin' Dry shell (Courtesy of Columbia)
Flyin' Dry shell

Columbia Flyin' Dry

Columbia’s waterproof-breathable Omni-Dry membrane and roomy back pocket made this an ideal shell for windy bike rides. All the above plus a drop tail and reflective bits made it our choice for shoulder-season running. And even though it’s not made for snow, we liked spring skiing in it, too. Our only gripe: the zipper pulls are small and the teeth finicky. 9.6 oz

Marmot Tempo Hoody

Tempo Hoody
Tempo Hoody (Courtesy of Marmot)

During a dry, windy spell in New Mexico, this stretchy soft shell kept us toasty on mountain runs and hikes. And we never felt clammy. The oversize hood and two front zip pockets, roomy enough for climbing skins or gloves, also work for spring skiing. Just bring an outer shell along for heavy snows—the Tempo is breathable but not waterproof. 1 lb

First Ascent High Season

High Season jacket
High Season jacket (Courtesy of Eddie Bauer)

This was our go-to jacket when all we needed was a little protection from dew or light precipitation. The super-stretchy High Season is so light, it feels like wearable paper (minus the crinkle factor), yet it’s more element-proof than most wind shells: a DWR coating shed moisture except in squalls, while wind panels on the front rebuffed nasty gusts. 8.8 oz

Sierra Designs Jive

Jive jacket
Jive jacket (Courtesy of Sierra Designs)

Lightweight, waterproof, and made from highly breathable Cocona fabric, the Jive is almost silky to the touch. The fabric is derived from coconut shells, which move moisture better than other, similar materials. It’s perfect for backpacking: roomy enough to throw a puffy underneath, and with pockets and drawstrings positioned out of the way of your pack’s waistbelt. 13.3 oz

Mountain Hardwear Spinoza

Spinoza jacket
Spinoza jacket (Courtesy of Mountain Hardwear)

A smart array of features—extra-long pit zips, a helmet-compatible hood, chest-high pockets that accommodate a pack—make the Spinoza ideal for spring climbing. But Mountain Hardwear’s new Dry.Q Elite fabric seals the deal. It’s designed to start breathing before you get sweaty. The price is steep, yes, but it’s the most breathable and waterproof jacket here. 14.4 oz

Nau Dose

Dose jacket
Dose jacket (Courtesy of Nau)

This sleek plaid waterproof jacket was designed with bike commuting in mind. A back pocket is big enough for keys, a phone, and a slim wallet; stashable reflective highlights improve your visibility; and the über-stretchy material doesn’t feel binding on the bike. We liked it so much it became our everyday shell, from hiking to happy-houring. 12 oz

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