We reviewed over 8 hardshell jackets for more than 12 hours in a detailed manner. Finally, we can confidently say that the North Face Summit L5 Gore-Tex Shell Jacket TNF Black/Vista Green is the best hardshell jacket in the market at present.
The Outdoor Research Foray Jacket has the starting price of just under $40. Thus, you will be able to get a hardshell jacket within your budget without compromising on the quality front in any manner.
As of now, we don’t have a thermostat to change the outside weather conditions as per our will like we usually do in our living room. That is why we have hardshell jackets. They protect us from the extremities of the weather including rain, wind and snow while keeping us fresh and dry at all times.
Read on to know how you can buy the perfect one for your purpose.
Factors To Consider Before Buying
A few key factors are all you need to take care of while buying your next or very first hardshell jacket. These factors are as follows :
A hardshell jacket is designed more like an armor to offer you best defense against the unpredictable weather conditions. Hence, you will find that every jacket has its own extra features in terms of design that give them that extra edge over other options.
The zippers have been employed in a number of ways till now in the hardshell jackets. You have the watertight zippers, pocket zippers, ventilation zippers among other. The powder skirt is there to prevent the snow from entering in. Interior storm flap gives you better protection against the wind. Just keep an eye out to catch that special feature during your next purchase that will instantly make the choice for you.
A hardshell jacket is the best of design and technology in apparel form. You have the articulated elbow patches, seam tapes, gusseted underarms and many more striking features that transform your entire outdoor experience. With the right kind of hardshell jacket, a cloudy sky will never be able to ruin your expedition plans like it currently does.
Practicality of Available Pockets
The correct placement of the pockets in a hardshell jacket will add a whole new layer of comfort to your camping experience. The three pocket locations are – inside, chest and in the side region. The inside and chest pockets are best to keep your items within reach and also completely safe. Side pockets are mainly to keep your hands warm and toasty while also giving them a place to rest in.
A water-resistant adjustable and helmet compatible hood is what you must look for in your hardshell jacket. The wire-brimming will bring definition to it so that you can easily enjoy the full benefit of this weather-resistant and easily removable hood. Adventure sports enthusiasts need to look for the hood that fits easily within their helmet without any kind of discomfort.
You will find all these features well taken care of in our top 8 selections below.
Best Hardshell Jacket Reviews
The current best in the world of hardshell jackets are as follows:
1. Mountain Hardwear Cloudseeker Jacket
This hardshell jacket is made especially for the tough weather that one might have to brave in the mountains. You can ski or run as many laps as your heart desires without having to worry about that gnawing fear of the frostbite. The fully adjustable and helmet compatible hood will further add comfort to your journey.
- The AirPerm ripstop air-permeable fabric used in the jacket will let your skin breath easily from the moment you put it on.
- It maintains a waterproof protection at all times which means you can focus on having fun without worrying about anything else.
- Comes with two large harness and pack-compatible pockets to offer you enough space for keeping all your essentials with you all the time.
- Can be used for optimum weather protection in case of glacial crossing and other similar challenging adventures.
- Use it to protect yourself from strong winds, snow, rain and all other kinds of undesirable weather conditions.
- Fitted with the only one-way zipper on the side pockets instead of the more suitable two-way zippers.
- At around $225, this jacket does not seem worth its steep price.
2. The North Face Summit L5 Gore-Tex Shell Jacket TNF Black/Vista Green
You might not come across a more durable jacket than this one. This warm and heavy jacket tops our list because it outshines every other option on the list with quite a margin. Even with the price of around $600, you will hardly come across a better selection that can compete with it in terms of features, quality and especially the durability.
- The fully adjustable and helmet-compatible hood with hidden cord locks as well as Pit-zip venting keeps you fully protected at all times.
- You get utmost breathability and at the same time protection with the DryVent 3L Nylon fabric that comes with localized FuseForm construction.
- Designed in a way to offer you maximum mobility and comfort during each trip.
- Its fully-featured shell is waterproof and seam-sealed to lock in all the warmth for you.
- Unibody construction with localized durability reduces the weight and seams required to keep it perfectly functional.
- You might find it a bit heavy at first if you have never used a jacket of similar nature.
- It is not affordable for everyone though worth every cent.
3. Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket
It is not easy to find a lightweight jacket that offers the required level of mobility and protection in tough weather conditions. That is why you will appreciate the innovative technology used in Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket that keeps it light yet highly effective. It gives you enough room to stretch and move around freely without making you sacrifice in any other sphere.
- The 20D mechanical stretch ripstop face fitted with 100% polyester 12D backer gives you a jacket to count upon.
- The jacket fabric is Waterproof, Windproof, Breathable and Lightweight for maximum comfort.
- Other fabric features include Air Permeability, Full Seam-Taping, Laminated Construction, ad Movement-Mirroring Stretch.
- The YKK AquaGuard Vislon Center Front Zipper lets you take it off and put it on with the same ease.
- Various functionalities of this jacket are made possible with the help of Dynamic Reach Underarm Panels, Single-Separating Front Zipper, Hook/Loop Cuff Closures, Elastic Drawcord Hem and Elastic Cuffs.
- The presence of a thin mesh lining could have made it better against rains.
- The movement seems a bit constricted while wearing it, especially in the shoulder region.
4. Arc’Teryx Alpha FL Jacket
This hardshell jacket is simple yet resourceful. You will enjoy a number of innovative features present in it that put your needs first. And you will enjoy all this without having to worry about dealing with any kind of complicated structure. Its lightweight, breathable and waterproof fabric will help you make your weekend plans without worrying about the weather anymore.
- The N40p-X GORE-TEX Pro 3L fabric is the key behind the breathability and lightweight features of this jacket.
- Comes with one internal laminated security pocket and 1 outer chest pocket with RS zipper slider.
- StormHood is helmet compatible so that you can use the hood of the jacket without worrying about the fitting issues.
- The Gore micro-grid woven backer origins make it one of the most compact and lightest jackets in the industry.
- Custom Cohesive hem adjustments act as HemLocks to prevent slippage under harness.
- Lack of hand pockets makes it a less likely option for a few people.
- Should order a size bigger than your actual fit to get the desired fit.
5. Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket
This award-winning hardshell jacket has been at the top spot since 2012. Its shell is made out of the Gore-Tex Active 3L material that is lightweight and suitable for all four seasons. A favorite of the athletes, this very jacket has been upgraded a bit to bring the best of the latest trends in its radar without losing out on its glorious past performance.
- The additional interior storm flap makes it a safe choice even in the extreme weather conditions.
- A well thought out design meets the practicality of everyday use in the form of this jacket.
- Everyone gets the perfect fit thanks to the articulated elbow panels.
- Has a helmet compatible wire-brimmed halo-hood with full adjustment option.
- Available in three amazing shades – Hot Sauce, Baltic and Black/Tahoe.
- Currently, the shipping option is available within the US only for this product.
- You do not get a good range of color options to choose from.
6. Arc’teryx Beta Ar Jacket
GORE-TEX® ripstop is used as the fabric in this jacket to make it all that tougher. Easily manage the length of the hem at the hip with the internal drawstring attached to it. Cover your full helmet within its billed hood to protect yourself from all kinds of danger related to the wind and the terrains. The $575 price range justifies itself with a range of useful features available in this.
- You get a total of 11 shades to choose from on this jacket.
- These are – Rigel, Rooibos, Black, Nautic Grey, Dark Moss, Midnight Hawk, Admiral, Cardinal, Midnight Hawk, Hylidae.
- Currently, it is the most versatile and waterproof mountaineering jacket out there.
- Skiing, climbing, storms and the great outdoors are where you can enjoy its comfort and warmth with no trouble.
- The protection against the harsh weather conditions gets doubled with its reinforced shoulder and elbows patches.
- You will notice a certain bagginess around the arms region that makes excessive noise with friction while you are on the move.
- Face fabric gets stained pretty easily.
7. Outdoor Research Foray Jacket
It is an all season hardshell jacket. You can rely on it completely when the skies are open and you are out for yet another excursion. The GORE-TEX fabric makes it waterproof, breathable and highly resistant to wear and tear that you might experience against it fabric on the way. TorsoFlo side zippers make way for the excessive heat to escape just like in ponchos.
- It is a lightweight, windproof, breathable and laminated with the fully taped seam to keep you at ease for as long as you have it on.
- The YKK AquaGuard Zippers and Internal Front Stormflap keep you feeling great even when it is continuously pouring outside.
- Enjoy even better ventilation while wearing it with the TorsoFlo Venting that goes from Hem-To-Bicep.
- Zip Chest and Hand Pockets will keep all your items safe and secure within them.
- Left-Hand Pocket can also be used as the Stuff Sack thus making it all the more useful.
- Is available in only one shade as of now.
- The size runs a bit short when compared with the standard measurements.
8. MONTANE Minimus Jacket
The total weight of the jacket is just 230 gm thus making it an instant hit among those who are tired of lugging around heavy jackets. It has been proven to be especially useful during the heavy downpour, tricky hiking conditions and other kinds of challenging outdoor situations. Can be packed into the size of an apple when no longer in use for the day.
- At the moment, it is available in black, red, shadow and green shades.
- The YKK aquaguard front zip is fully waterproof and windproof with the help of rain drain and storm flap present within.
- Pertex shield + high-quality fabric has been used in its creation.
- The hood is fully helmet compatible with a wired peak and a three point adjustment.
- Various micro seams are taped throughout its surface to improve the breathability.
- Does not offer the same benefits of a standard hardshell jacket in the cold regions.
- The slim fit of the jacket might restrict the movement if you do not pick the right size for yourself.
The above mentioned 8 hardshell jackets are our top picks from the current market collection. You need to go through the basic details of the ones that have been eyeing for a while and then only pull the trigger on the purchase.
A hardshell jacket is a must for anyone who aspires to wander far and wide in the wilderness. If you are one of those lively souls too then you surely need to invest in a jacket perfectly suited to your requirements and preferences. Our pick is the North Face Summit L5 Gore-Tex Shell Jacket TNF Black/Vista Green as the best hardshell jacket in the marketplace as of now.
What do you think about our collection and top picks? Share your opinion with us in the comment section below. Also, forward it to your friends and family to keep them in the ongoing information loop without a miss.