La Sportiva Hail

2015 Gear of the Year Winner

La Sportiva's Hail jacket lets you move while keeping you protected against the elements. (Michael Karsh)

Because they’re portable and waterproof enough to keep you comfortable in a downpour, ultralight hard shells like the six-plus-ounce Hail ($199) are the hot new jacket category.

The reason we liked the Hail best? Versatility. When we hunched over a bike or reached high for a handhold, abundant stretch meant we never felt constricted. Plus, we rarely overheated, even on long uphill slogs. In other words, it served as the ultimate jacket.

You’ll still need a heavier piece for longer backcountry missions or regular use in the wettest climes, but for nearly every other scenario, the Hail has you covered. 

6.3 oz; sportiva.com

Breathability: 3.5 
Weatherproofness: 4

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