La Sportiva Storm Fighter GTX Jacket

   Photo: La Sportiva

GEAR OF THE YEAR: Who knew that an Italian bootmaker would be so proficient in the jacket game right out of the gate? The Storm Fighter’s Active Shell fabric—a new, lighter-weight version of Gore-Tex’s most breathable stuff—kept us bone-dry during three days of nonstop rain along Northern California’s Lost Coast Trail, and it breathed impressively well as we huffed along Lake Superior’s North Shore through sideways snow. Smart details like Velcro-less cuffs that slide into (not over) gloves and a tiny magnet at the hem that holds the zipper cover in place made us smile. All that, plus it’s better looking (love the asymmetrical detail on the shoulder) and just as light as every other hard shell in its class. 11 oz

Breathability: 4.5
Weatherproofness: 5

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