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The 9 Best Hardshell Jackets of 2022-2023

By: Kevin Katsafanas: Men's Techwear Buyer | November 14, 2022

 

Shell jackets are a revelation to many skiers and riders. So many folks just equate jacket with “warm” when instead, it’s more useful to think of your jacket as the first layer of defense in a cohesive system. When you buy a “warm” insulated jacket, you’re actually paying more for a less versatile coat. Why? Well, if you have a waterproof and breathable hardshell jacket, you can wear it over a puffy on those really cold days, over a light sweater on more mild days, and over your base layer in the spring. That makes it much more versatile and guarantees that you won’t overheat. Because, while it’s easy to worry about the moisture that comes from the outside in the form of precipitation, it’s easy to forget about the moisture that comes off of your body in the form of sweat.

New This Year:

That's where the best men’s hardshell jackets come in. These jackets are all designed to be used as part of a layering system. So they’re not insulated, but they are waterproof and breathable. So if you’re looking for one jacket that will work for every day of your ski or snowboard season, this list is the best place to start.

Patagonia PowSlayer

Patagonia PowSlayer

If you're feeling bogged down by your bulky insulated jacket, there is an easy way out; the Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket. With its incredibly lightweight design and supreme waterproof/breathable protection, the PowSlayer jacket pulls double duty as a backcountry and inbounds shell with ease and is also Patagonia's first-ever Gore Pro option built with recycled fabric. The GORE-TEX Pro membrane truly shines when the weather takes a turn for the worse, while the balanced fit and dialed pocket placement make the Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket one heck of a winter shell for the demanding winter athlete.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
25K28K$749

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Haglöfs Vassi Touring GORE-TEX

Haglöfs Vassi Touring GORE-TEX

On the prowl for an extremely lightweight and breathable touring jacket? Look no further than the Haglöfs Vassi Touring GORE-TEX Jacket. Made from a super breathable GORE-TEX® Active fabric that's backed by industry-leading 28K/25K waterproof breathability, the Vassi Touring Jacket effectively wards off sleet and snow, while also wicking away sweat-related vapors as you slog up the skin track. Rounded out with smartly engineered features like backpack-friendly chest pockets that can double as vents, a helmet-compatible hood, and an athletic fit that won't inhibit movement, the Haglöfs Vassi Touring GORE-TEX Jacket offers elite performance for die-hard backcountry enthusiasts. This is a high-end jacket with all the performance and features you’d expect.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
25K28K$659.95

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Oyuki Goshiki YamaPro 3L

Oyuki Goshiki YamaPro 3L

When you find yourself in a place defined by snow, where the environment is so harsh and intense that it leaves you speechless, the only way to appreciate it is to suit up and immerse yourself. The Oyuki Goshiki YamaPro 3L Jacket is made to let you live in the moment of snow bliss whether you identify as a backcountry adventurer, sidecountry explorer, or resort rider. The YAMAPRO™ Always Dry Technology ensures the overall mission of keeping you in the snowy dreamland for as long as possible is achieved. With backpack-compatible pit zips and a plethora of smartly placed pockets, the high-performance Oyuki Goshiki 3L Jacket is poised to elevate your experience through storm after storm.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
20K20K$499.95

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Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

When your parade is getting rained on, keep your spirits up by throwing on your Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket. It's a simple, no-frills jacket that has one job and does it well. It's lightweight, breathable, good-looking, and above all, waterproof. While it might be marketed as a rain jacket, the Torrentshell does great double duty as a ski or snowboard coat.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
Not listed3L H₂No$149

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Patagonia Granite Crest

Patagonia Granite Crest

When you're backpacking or climbing in alpine terrain, you're bound to hit some unpleasant weather. The Patagonia Granite Crest Jacket has you covered with an H2No™ Performance shell made from recycled fish nets, proving that responsible manufacturing and high performance can go hand in hand. This is a versatile alpine shell that’s at home on any trip.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
Pit zipsL H₂No$279

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Rab Downpour Eco

Rab Downpour Eco

The Rab® Downpour Eco Jacket is a lightweight stowable with excellent waterproofing and breathability. When that surprise thunderstorm shows up out of nowhere, this jacket is waiting inside its own pocket at the bottom of your pack, ready to be unfurled. An adjustable hood and ample underarm venting work with the fabric's water and heat-management properties to make this an iffy-weather essential. The Downpour is a great “just-in-case” jacket that has your back when the weather gets terrible.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
20K20K$119.95

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The North Face Alta Vista

The North Face Alta Vista

For hikers and runners looking to avoid the chills of wind and intermittent drizzles, The North Face Alta Vista Jacket provides safe haven. Made from 100% recycled fabrics with a water-repellent finish, plus technical features like an adjustable hood, pit vents, and a super packable design that fits within its own hand pocket. This is a versatile, durable rain jacket.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
Pit zipsNon-PFC DWR Finish$129

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Outdoor Research Helium

Outdoor Research Helium

Packable, breathable, and ultra-lightweight, the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket is a 2.5-layer waterproof shell that almost floats away. Constructed with durable Pertex® Shield Diamond Fuse fabric, it'll keep even the heaviest drops away, and packs easily into the front chest pocket when the sun comes out. Zip up, float away, and see the rain from a new perspective. This is one of the easiest rain jackets to recommend because it’s so competent and versatile.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
Not listed2.5 L$158.95

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Helly Hansen Loke

Helly Hansen Loke

When you hit the ridge at the same time as the weather and those dark clouds open up, you need protection. To be able to quickly don the Helly Hansen Loke Jacket makes all the difference. It packs small and makes an indispensable companion on excursions of any length, with fully sealed seams for effective shelter on demand. Waterproof and breathable, this lightweight shell will keep you dry until the sun comes out again. Don’t worry about forgetting your raincoat again, the Loke is so packable that you’ll always have it with you.

BreathabilityWaterproofingOriginal Price
10K10K$100

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The Selection Process:

Our techwear buyers have an endless amount of knowledge on all things outerwear stemming from years of experience in the outdoor industry in tandem with their countless hours spent outside in all conditions around the world. From hot to cold, snow, rain, wind, and even sunshine, they know what clothing will keep you comfortable. evo's buyers assess all products coming to market, lean into this knowledge, and put together this selection of the best products. They have a unique perspective as they truly see everything offered across the category.

Kevin Katsafanas

Growing up in the northwest I took to snowboarding when I was 13 and spent most weekends up at Snoqualmie riding the park. As I grew as a rider I traded out rails and jumps for more freeride terrain found on the other side of I-90 over at Alpental. With evo in my backyard, I spent countless weekends hounding the shop staff about gear. Finally, when I was 19 years old I found my way into a full-time position selling snowboards at the Seattle store. In the decade since I've worn a number of hats in the outdoor industry in addition to talking gear, including spending time as the Seattle store's marketing and events coordinator. 9 years later and I am still here at evo in my role as the Buyer for men's techwear, and ski/snowboard bags.