Designed for sustained exposure in harsh conditions, hardshell jackets offer the ultimate in weather protection for activities like downhill and backcountry skiing, 4-season hiking, mountaineering, and ice climbing. Below we’ve complied all of our detailed hardshell jacket reviews, from robust alpine-ready shells to streamlined, minimalist designs for traveling fast and light. We've put the jackets through the wringer in locations ranging from the mountains of British Columbia to Patagonia to provide our readers with the best possible information on their weather protection, durability, fit, and more.

Best Hardshell Jackets of 2021

Hardshell jackets are designed for the alpine: they’re highly windproof, waterproof, breathable, and durable. This is the outer layer you turn to for ultimate protection while backcountry and resort...

Patagonia Triolet Jacket Review

Patagonia is a consistent leader in the alpine apparel market, and their Triolet shell slots in as a burly and highly protective option at a very reasonable price. The thick, 75-denier face fabric is excellent for use around sharp equipment...

Norrøna Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Jacket Review

Norway-based Norrøna isn’t a household name in the U.S. like Arc’teryx or Patagonia, but they offer a quality lineup of serious hardshells built for demanding backcountry pursuits. We brought the...

Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket Review

From Arc’teryx’s formidable hardshell lineup, the Beta AR slots in as the all-around workhorse. The jacket has been a flagship piece since its release back in 2000, and it’s a favorite for everything...

Patagonia Galvanized Jacket Review

Alpine pursuits demand a balance of weather protection, breathability, and mobility that few jackets are able to achieve. Enter the Patagonia Galvanized. Combining the waterproofing of a hardshell with...

Outdoor Research Microgravity Jacket Review

Built for working hard in the mountains, Outdoor Research’s new-for-2020 Microgravity joins the company’s impressive lineup of hardshells. We took the jacket hiking in Patagonia, where it faced...

Arc’teryx Beta FL Jacket Review

We consistently turn to Arc’teryx for premium and protective hardshell jackets, and their new-for-2020 Beta FL is yet another stellar entry. Built with bombproof Gore-Tex Pro 2.0, it slides into the Beta collection—Arc’teryx’s designation...

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket Review

Arc’teryx is no stranger to hardshell jackets and long has been a go-to option for protection in harsh mountain environments. At the very top of their lineup is the Alpha SV ("severe weather"), which is designed for use in the most serious of...

Arc’teryx Alpha SL Anorak Review

Arc’teryx’s Alpha series is designed for demanding climbing and alpine use, and their latest Alpha SL Anorak is yet another well-made technical piece. Short for “superlight,” the Alpha SL slots in as the brand’s lightest climbing hardshell, combining a...

REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Jacket Review

Backed by a Gore license, REI Co-op now has top-of-the-line waterproofing technology to replace their old eVent line. Combine this with REI’s increased focus on design and performance of their in-house products, and you have some very competitive...

Arc’teryx Zeta AR Jacket Review

Sitting atop Arc’teryx’s Zeta lineup is the Zeta AR (“all round”). Designed as a versatile and fully featured shell for trekking, the jacket performed extremely well throughout a thorough round of testing in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains...

Patagonia Pluma Hardshell Jacket Review

For a company with a rich history in alpine exploring, Patagonia has a surprisingly modest hardshell collection. That said, their top-end Pluma is a formidable, lightweight offering. Updated about a...

Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid Review

Arc’teryx’s Beta SL Hybrid isn’t your typical rain shell. As its name suggests, the hybrid construction blends two Gore-Tex fabrics of different thicknesses to maximize weatherproofing, minimize weight, and...

Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket (2021) Review

After a short hiatus, Arc’teryx has released an updated version of their Beta LT hardshell for spring 2021. The new jacket represents a fairly substantial shift from the outgoing LT, featuring standard 3-layer...

Arc'teryx Alpha FL Jacket Review

Arc’teryx's Alpha series is designed for top-notch climbing and alpine performance, and their “FL” represents fast and light. True to its name, the Alpha FL jacket is minimalist and lightweight, yet meticulously designed and highly protective. We took...

Arc'teryx Zeta LT Review

The Arc’teryx Zeta LT manages an impressive balance that few rain jackets are able to achieve: design and performance that nearly match an alpine hardshell with the comfort and weight of a packable rain jacket. Retailing for over $400, the Zeta LT...