Helly Hansen Welsey Trench
BEST FOR: Rainy Cities
The waterproof-breathable Welsey is sleek and chic but capable of holding off all-day cold and rain, thanks in part to a high collar and tuck-away hood. Red zipper pulls and a cheerful blue-and-red plaid liner remind you that the sun will (eventually) shine again. 25.5 oz.
Eddie Bauer Frontpoint Soft Shell
BEST FOR: Moving Fast in the Mountains
The Frontpoint’s combination of soft-shell fabric in the body and waterproof-breathable material in the hood, shoulders, and sleeves can hold off light precipitation for hours. It’s a time-tested design, and Eddie Bauer gets it right with smart touches like the wide band of warm fleece around the collar and the cinchable, hinge-style hood. 13 oz.
Marmot Speedri Hard Shell
BEST FOR: Wet Weather
The Speedri’s waterproof-breathable fabric is a bit crinkly, but it works splendidly. Even when really hoofing it, we stayed surprisingly dry, thanks to the wicking liner and three low-key, always-open vents: one under each arm and one at the base of the neck. 12.5 oz.
Showers Pass Portland Jacket
BEST FOR: Fashion-Forward Commuters
For those of you who ride to work regardless of the weather, the fleece-lined, stretchy Portland is your new best friend. Zippered side gussets allow you to fine-tune the fit (body hugging or flared), and the reflective rear panel can be snapped up when not in use. 18.5 oz.
Dakine Breaker Wind Shell
BEST FOR: Ultralight Insurance
Proof that a wind shell can be as stylish as it is high performance, the Breaker has discreet back and shoulder vents, and the whole tamale packs away into the (headphone friendly) chest pocket when it’s sunny and dry out. 4.5 oz.
L.L. Bean Timberledge Wind Shell
BEST FOR: The Budget-Minded
Heavier than your typical windbreaker, the Timberledge has more in common with the Eddie Bauer than the Dakine. Its slightly stretchy fabric is water resistant and up for anything from hiking to spring skiing—but it’s a fraction of the price of most soft shells. 10 oz.