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 2020

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...

Arc'teryx Beta AR 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 remains a favorite thanks to a premium...

Patagonia Galvanized Hardshell 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...

REI Co-op Drypoint GTX 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 Alpha SV Review

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

Arc’teryx Zeta AR 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 Review

Sliding in just below Arc’teryx’s popular Beta AR in their hardshell lineup is the light but tough Beta LT. Featuring a compelling mix of 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro waterproofing and 12.2-ounce weight, we tested the jacket on everything...

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...

Review: Montane Alpine Pro

UK-based gear companies like Montane and Rab are relative newcomers to the North American market, but arrive with decades of research, development, and field testing in Europe’s rugged mountains. Montane recently took a big leap forward...