Mountain Hardwear Descent DT Trifecta
Descent DT Trifecta

Which versatile shell works on the slopes and around town?

I need a women’s shell that’s versatile enough for both ski and around-the-town use. I considering Mountain Hardwear’s Descent DT Trifecta. What would you recommend? Kelly Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Mountain Hardwear Descent DT Trifecta

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Mountain Hardwear’s Descent DT Trifecta ($325; is really quite a nice piece. As you know, it’s a three-in-one jacket, meaning it consists of a waterproof-breathable shell (using Mountain Hardware’s proprietary Conduit material) and an insulated nylon-shelled lining that can be zipped out. You can wear both jacket and lining on cold days, or the jacket alone on warmer, wet days, or the lining alone. You also can zip several other Mountain Hardwear insulating pieces into the outer jacket.

Mountain Hardwear Descent DT Trifecta

Mountain Hardwear Descent DT Trifecta Descent DT Trifecta

So it would work just fine. But there’s no evidence that buying a “mated” outfit like the Descent offers any more warmth and performance than anything else. Myself, I prefer a stand-alone shell over a ski-bag full of clothing options, so I can really tailor what I’m wearing to conditions. You could, for instance, purchase a Patagonia Jetstream Jacket ($199;, a waterproof-breathable piece that’s designed for all sorts of uses, from skiing to hiking to around town. Then, wear whatever you want under it, such as a Mountain Hardwear Monkey Pro Pullover ($135), or a Marmot Women’s Cima Sweater ($60;, or a The North Face Redpoint Jacket ($149;, which uses PrimaLoft insulation and is an extremely good layering piece for skiing.

But as I said, you won’t go wrong with the Descent.

Get more advice from the Gear Guy as he picks this season’s top gifts in’s Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll probably find a few things to put on your own wish list, too.

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