Waterproof Gear Steps It Up a Notch

April Showers or Labor Day deluge—new gear to keep you dry

Berne Broudy

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Each summer at the Outdoor Retailer show, waterproof gear steps up another notch on the functionality scale. Here are the driest new choices to hit market.

Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry Photo: Berne Broudy

Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry: Historically, backpacks come equipped with ornery and awkward rainflys that require you to remove your pack and wrestle into place once you’ve decided the storm is more than a cloud burst and that your gear is in danger of saturation. Enter Mountain Hardwear’s South Col 70 Outdry, which has a full waterproof membrane that will keep your pack dry in any conditions, whither you’re mountaineering or traipsing through the Northwest for a week. The pack’s main compartment has a full Outdry lining,, supported with a removable suspension system, with loads of lash points and long compression webbing that lets you load this pack as heavy or light as you want and still have it work. And, when your load is light, the pack gives you the option of swapping the padded plush hip belt for a minimalist mest one. It’s fully tricked out to carry crampons and an ice axe with high abrasion fabrics. So if you’re seeking a LTR—this pack could be your perfect mate. 3 lbs., 15 oz., available February 2014, $300,

Helly Hansen Loke Jacket Photo: Berit Bergestig

Helly Hansen Loke Jacket

Now your budget rain shell can give you seam-sealed waterproof and breathable protection down to the zippers with features that make it hard to distinguish from protective layers that are twice or even three times the price. Helly’s 2.5 layer Loke has a storm flap to keep out wind and rain, with pit zips to enhance it’s breathability and prevent you from overheating when you’re on the move. Fully adjustable cuffs, hood, and waist let you trim the fit for year-round use. And, when you’re watching pack weight, it’s the lightest in its price category. Available Spring 2014, $100,

Outdoor Research Ghost Rain Hat Photo: Berne Broudy

Outdoor Research Ghost Rain Hat

Take Aussie Outback styling and make it rainforest ready. That’s what Outdoor Research did with it’s Ghost Rain Hat. This Gore-Tex lid has a removable crown that stuffs into a hat pocket and opens up the breathable mesh upper for days when all you need it to keep the sun off and the bugs out. When the clouds gather, it takes mere seconds to tug it back over your dome to keep your head dry. With a moldable rim for giving the hat your own jaunty angle. Available Spring 2014, $78,