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Marmot Prodigy Light Shell Hoodie
The Claim: A do-it-all soft shell.
The Reality: I hosed down this wind-blocking and water-resistant Gore Wind-stopper shell for five minutes before it soaked through, and the medium-weight fabric survived an army crawl through a briar patch. The flex-friendly panels under the arms wicked moisture and kept the jacket in place on big reaches.
The Verdict: Not exactly packable, but tough enough to fend off the worst squalls. 1.3 lbs.
Outdoor Research Maximus Hoodie
The Claim: The only four-season shell you need.
The Reality: The 70-denier fabric is basically tearproof, and the hem-to-pit side zips and four mesh-backed pockets made shedding body heat a matter of unzipping. When I turned 1,500 psi of water on the Maximus, a small leak appeared on the pocket zips. Forgivable.
The Verdict: It’s ready for any condition. 1.2 lbs.
Black Diamond Coefficient Hoodie
The Claim: The ultimate mountain fleece.
The Reality: The Coefficient withstood heavy winds and hose spray as well as soft shells nearly twice its weight. And the gridded back on its interior Power Dry fleece made it breathe much better. But it’s not perfect: a blackberry bramble frayed the nylon wrist gaskets.
The Verdict: A highly versatile piece for every athlete’s closet. 13 oz.
Westcomb Tango Hoody
The Claim: A soft-shell puffy.
The Reality: The Tango‘s 20-denier exterior brushed past thorns. Heftier shells in the test were more waterproof (the Tango soaked through after ten minutes of steady drenching), but its synthetic Polartec Alpha insulation dried out within a half-hour—refreshingly fast. Pockets would have been nice.
The Verdict: A featherweight puffy that can handle bushwacking, light rains, and chilly nights. 14 oz.