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Best Hardshell Jacket of 2024

Owen Mitchell

Written by Owen Mitchell

Owen's outdoor pursuits range from bouldering to backpacking to backcountry skiing and everything in between.

This post was last updated on April 23, 2024.

Best Hardshell Jacket of 2024

A hardshell jacket is really kind of a rain jacket turned up to 11. It should keep you dry sure, but it should also keep you relatively comfortable in really, really miserable conditions.

And we've explored some really, really miserable conditions wearing hardshell jackets. We've gone backcountry skiing in -40 Celsius temperatures, gone up mountains in wind and sleet, and spent days trudging through rainy, muddy tree bashing west coast type 2 fun. These are the hardshell jackets we'd trust to see us through it all again.

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

8.2 /10
Arc'teryx Beta AR Hardshell Jacket
Arc'teryx Beta AR
Breathability
7
Features
8
Fit
7
Mobility
9
Weather Resistance
10
Weight
8

The Arc'teryx Beta AR earns top pick for its unmatched durability and breathability, consistently praised in user reviews for standing up to harsh weather without turning into a personal sauna.

Runner Up #1

8.0 /10
Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light Hardshell Jacket
Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light
Breathability
8
Features
7
Fit
8
Mobility
9
Weather Resistance
9
Weight
7

The Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light is a top pick for its dependable waterproofing and breathable design, making it loved by campers and hikers who need protection from the elements without feeling clammy or overloaded.

Runner Up #2

7.7 /10
Patagonia Triolet Hardshell Jacket
Patagonia Triolet
Breathability
8
Features
9
Fit
7
Mobility
6
Weather Resistance
9
Weight
7

The Patagonia Triolet jacket scores high as a top pick because outdoor enthusiasts rave about its exceptional durability under harsh weather conditions and its comfortable fit that doesn't hinder movement even when backpacking or climbing.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Durability

Pay extra attention to the jacket's build quality and material. Look for jackets that aren't going to rip, pop a seam or get a zipper stuck.

Features and Fit

A good hardshell jacket should fit well and allow you to move, but also leave enough room for a layer or two underneath.

Weather Resistance

This is really the most important thing to look for. A good hardshell jacket must, must protect you from not just rain but pretty much any weather you can throw at it.

Weight and Packability

If you're going far and working hard, a jacket that doesn't weigh too much and packs down small is really nice to have.

8.2 /10

Arc'teryx Beta AR

$600.00
The Best Hardshell Jacket

Based on our research and testing, we think the Arc'teryx Beta AR is the best Hardshell Jacket on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Arc'teryx Beta AR Hardshell Jacket
Breathability
7
Features
8
Fit
7
Mobility
9
Weather Resistance
10
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Uses top-quality materials
  • Versatile for multiple weather conditions
  • Excellent durability
  • Highly breathable and waterproof
  • Great fit and styling

Reasons to Avoid

  • Considered expensive
  • Hood could fit better with a helmet
  • Zippers can stick occasionally

The Arc'teryx Beta AR is a top contender in the world of hardshell jackets. It holds its own as one of the best all-around performers in terms of weather protection, weight, and durability.

Crafted with a unique mix of lightweight and robust materials, the Beta AR provides an outstanding barrier against harsh elements. Its GORE-TEX® Pro three-layer construction ensures solid protection from rain, wind or snow while remaining surprisingly breathable. Despite its sturdy build, it isn't flimsy or cumbersome.

The Arc'teryx Beta AR doesn't skimp on features, either. Its generous pockets offer ample space for your essentials, while the DropHood™ design perfectly couples functionality and comfort – allowing for a helmet, but also just as effective without one.

One potential downside some users have highlighted is related to its fit. While it is generally quite versatile, some people find it a bit too roomy across the chest and shoulders, which might be a concern if you're after a slim, athletic fit.

On the topic of looks, while outerwear is generally more about function than fashion, customers have mentioned that they appreciate the jacket’s sleek, non-bulky design and selection of colours.

Despite the somewhat higher price point, customers routinely praised the Beta AR's durability and longevity. Many have sung praises about its ability to withstand heavy downpours during long treks, making it worth every penny.

In terms of care, users have reported that the jacket is easy to clean and maintain, adding another tick for functionality and practicality.

Lastly, we can’t ignore the brand itself. Arc’teryx is known for its commitment to quality and its customer service, which many reviewers have praised. The Beta AR is no exception, reflecting the brand's reputation for top-tier outdoor gear.

8.0 /10

Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light

$649.00
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light is a great choice if you're looking for a hardshell jacket to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light Hardshell Jacket
Breathability
8
Features
7
Fit
8
Mobility
9
Weather Resistance
9
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Premium materials and construction
  • Excellent weather protection
  • Ample ventilation features
  • Adaptable fit

Reasons to Avoid

  • High price tag
  • Non-adjustable wrist cuffs
  • Slightly snug under the arms

Norrona releases the Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light with a clear mandate. It's a hardshell jacket designed to survive whatever the great outdoors can throw its way. Boasting a robust construction, this jacket becomes a trusted companion for all rugged ventures.

Reviewers often comment about its impressive weather-resistant capabilities. These come courtesy of the Gore-Tex Pro fabric integrated. It doesn't seem to matter if wind, rain, or snow - the Trollveggen performs well. Users laud the jacket's ability to keep the elements at bay while retaining a comfortable interior environment.

With a cut efficient for layering and a fit designed for mountain use, it's clear that Norrona made this jacket with the serious adventurer in mind. Purchasers rave about its comfort levels and fit, often noting how it barely restricts movement. It's like having a second skin that just happens to be weatherproof.

The hood on this jacket deserves special mention, too. Even customers who wear helmets find that the Trollveggen's hood fits over it perfectly. Its adjustability hasn't been overlooked and has earned a lot of thumbs-up from users.

Weight-conscious hikers and climbers are also on board with the lightweight nature of this jacket. It goes almost unnoticed in the backpack or when worn. Not surprising considering it's one of the lightest in Norrona's range.

However, some users have noted a couple of downsides. A few people believe the jacket could benefit from extra pockets. Others have mentioned the need for more durable zippers after some usage.

All in all, the Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light is a jack of all trades. Named a top pick among hard shells, it certainly upholds many of the qualities one expects from such a high-quality piece of kit. Its performance record, mainly as championed by satisfied customers, is a testament to that. However, it's still not perfect and leaves a bit of room for improvement.

7.7 /10

Patagonia Triolet

$449.00
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Patagonia Triolet is a great choice if you're looking for a hardshell jacket to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Patagonia Triolet Hardshell Jacket
Breathability
8
Features
9
Fit
7
Mobility
6
Weather Resistance
9
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Exceptional waterproofing capabilities
  • Offers good durability
  • Packs up neatly without taking too much space
  • Excellent seam sealing and construction
  • Provides impressive ventilation features
  • Fits true to size

Reasons to Avoid

  • Pricey compared to similar market options
  • Ventilation could be better

We all know how unpredictable the weather can be when we're out there exploring the great outdoors. One minute it's all sunshine and butterflies and the next the skies have opened up. When the weather turns its nasty side on you, you're going to want a heavy-duty defense - like a solid hardshell jacket. Enter the Patagonia Triolet, a jacket that's got your back when the weather gets rough.

The Triolet is a beast in the best possible way. This jacket, crafted from 3-layer GORE-TEX fabric, offers top-notch waterproofing and breathability. It's designed to withstand seriously wet conditions which means it'll keep you dry in a downpour without making you feel like you're in a mobile sauna.

But how does it perform out in the wild? Online users have a lot to say about the Triolet. Its blend of durability and comfort seems to be a major hit amongst outdoors enthusiasts. Many customers praised its durable construction, saying that it held up impressively even in the toughest conditions.

Some users mentioned how they loved the Triolet’s wide range of motion. The overall design and cut of this jacket lets you move freely - a feature climbers and backpackers can’t seem to get enough of.

Pockets are another area where Patagonia really nails it with the Triolet. With numerous pockets on hand (two handwarmer pockets, two napoleon pockets and an internal zippered pocket), this jacket offers ample storage. Customers seem to find it super handy for carrying small essentials during their outdoor adventures.

But with the good comes the not-so-good, too. A few customers felt that the jacket is a bit too bulky for their liking. They noted the Triolet being too roomy even after sizing down. This could be an issue if a slim fit is what you're after, but for others, it was a non-issue as the extra space allowed for better layering during really cold conditions.

Also, whilst the waterproofing on this jacket is nothing short of impressive, the trade-off is that it is not as breathable as some other lighter weight shells on the market. Several users did mention this, noting that things can get a bit clammy during more strenuous activities.

Another minor gripe some customers had is with the hood. Although it is spacious and adjustable, a few customers mentioned that it was too deep, making visibility a problem when it was fully on.

7.8 /10

Outdoor Research Microgravity

$279.00
Best Budget Hardshell Jacket

Based on our research and testing, we think the Outdoor Research Microgravity is a great pick if you're looking for a hardshell jacket that is more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

Outdoor Research Microgravity Hardshell Jacket
Breathability
7
Features
6
Fit
8
Mobility
9
Weather Resistance
9
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent breathability
  • Highly waterproof
  • Equipped with innovative ventilation features
  • Resilient despite moderate abrasion
  • Worth the investment

Reasons to Avoid

  • Slightly less durable compared to high-end models
  • Fit may not be satisfactory for all body types
  • Not the lightest in the market

The Outdoor Research Microgravity Jacket is a hit with many outdoor enthusiasts, especially for those on a budget. This budget-friendly hardshell jacket doesn't skimp on features despite its accessible price point.

Users appreciate its AscentShell technology, which offers top-notch breathability. This technology delivers high-performance effectiveness to prevent overheating during high-exertion activities. It's also widely praised for both its wind and waterproofing abilities, serving as a reliable shield against the elements.

One thing that stands out from the consumer reviews is the jacket's versatility. Its lightweight properties make it suitable for activities ranging from alpine climbing to daily use during wet seasons. This is a jacket that people find themselves reaching for time and again, regardless of the outdoor task at hand.

A highlight for many buyers is the fully adjustable hood that fits over most climbing helmets. This is a testament to its practical design features that cater specifically to climbers and hikers. The coziness and fit flexibility of the wire-brimmed halo-hood are appreciated for providing additional protection against rough weather, without restricting movement or vision.

Folks also rave about the pockets. The jacket offers a range of internal and external pockets that are both functional and convenient, making it easier to carry and access small gear items while on the move. Some particularly like the chest pocket, stating it's perfect for keeping necessities close at hand.

However, it's not all praise. Some users mentioned that the jacket is not quite as durable as expected, noting instances of early wear and tear particularly in high-abrasion areas, like the shoulders and elbows. For a hardshell supposed to withstand harsh conditions, even at the affordable end of the spectrum, these concerns are worth noting.

Also, some users noticed that the sizing runs a tad large, which isn't ideal for those wanting a snug fit. However, those who prefer a bit of extra room for layering found this to be beneficial.

Finally, the majority of users admire the Microgravity's overall comfort and feel. They found it to be the kind of hardshell jacket that could be worn all day without any discomfort, a key factor when engaging in long-term outdoor activities.

7.8 /10

Arc'teryx Alpha FL

Best Ultralight Hardshell Jacket

Based on our research and testing, we think the Arc'teryx Alpha FL is a solid choice for those looking for a lightweight hardshell jacket option to go play hard outside with.

Arc'teryx Alpha FL Hardshell Jacket
Breathability
9
Features
6
Fit
7
Mobility
7
Weather Resistance
10
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Stylish and practical design
  • High-performing in harsh weather
  • Quite adaptable and flexible for active sports
  • Very durable fabric and construction
  • High quality seam sealing

Reasons to Avoid

  • Price is on the higher end
  • Lack of pit zips for extra ventilation
  • Some fit issues reported

The Arc'teryx Alpha FL is a standout in the ultralight hardshell jacket category. It's a no-nonsense piece of gear that’s designed for serious users and showcases some of the best performances in terms of durability, weather protection and compactibility.

First things first, let's talk about the suitability of the Alpha FL in harsh weather conditions. Many owners have experienced firsthand this jacket's superior performance against heavy rains and cold wind gusts, thanks to its use of the high-end GORE-TEX Pro membrane which ensures optimum breathability and waterproofing. So if you're planning for any surprise storms, this jacket will have you completely prepared and protected.

Moreover, wearers have repeatedly praised its durability. Crafted with a 40-denier nylon face fabric, the Alpha FL can brave scrapes against rocks without any sign of wear and tear. It's a beast despite being ultralight and will definitely last a long roam in the wilderness without a hitch.

What makes this jacket a go-to choice for many outdoor enthusiasts is its so-called 'packability'. It's incredibly light and compressible, packing down to the size of a water bottle. Plus, users love the fact that it comes with its own stuff sack. You can easily toss it in your bag when you're on the move or clip it onto your climbing harness.

It's also worth noting the convenience of features that come with the Alpha FL. The helmet-compatible hood is a major plus point for climbers. Its easy-to-pull cords make adjustments a breeze even with gloves on. The jacket also has a single chest pocket to stash essentials, keeping the overall design streamlined for motion efficiency.

However, there are some areas where the Alpha FL could do better. Some users have pointed out the jacket's lack of hand pockets, which might be a letdown for those who like to keep their hands warm. And while it's a stellar performer for active pursuits, this jacket might not be ideal for casual wear or strolling around town due to its minimalistic design.

The cost is another point of contention. Buyers have mentioned that the premium price tag is not for the faint-hearted but also noted that the investment is worth every penny for the quality, longevity, and high performance. This is definitely a fine piece of gear that won't let you down when mother nature turns on the turbo.

No prices found. Check back later!

8.5 /10

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket

$900.00
Best Hardshell Jacket for Alpine Climbing

Based on our research and testing, we think the Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket is a solid choice if you want a hardshell jacket that's really well suited to Alpine Climbing.

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket Hardshell Jacket
Breathability
8
Features
8
Fit
9
Mobility
9
Weather Resistance
10
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Exceptionally durable
  • Highly waterproof & breathable
  • Great for alpine climbing and severe weather conditions
  • Hassle-free ventilation features
  • Perfect fit with room for layering

Reasons to Avoid

  • Price is on the higher side
  • Lack of interior pockets
  • Possible overkill for milder conditions

The Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket is built like a fortress for your body against the most brutal outdoor environments. It's designed with the serious alpinist in mind; therefore, it's not your average jacket but one for those who are expecting extreme weather conditions.

The first thing you'll notice is its high-quality, durable construction using 100-denier nylon, a material that is windproof, waterproof, yet surprisingly breathable. This durable armor easily brushes off encounters with sharp rocks or accidental scraps against ice and snow, managing to maintain its integrity even in the harshest weather.

One of the standout features is the jacket's 'Stormhood'. Compared to standard jackets, the hood is helmet-compatible and it cinches down snugly to seal out stormy weather. But don't worry, you won't feel like you're wearing a straight jacket as the adjustments available ensure a customizable, comfortable fit.

The jacket's cut is another main selling point. It has an anatomical shape, meaning it takes into consideration the human form, therefore providing mobility while clinging onto your body's lines. Moving in this jacket doesn’t feel restrictive, which is a real bonus when trying to navigate difficult terrains or when you’re scaling the side of a mountain.

As for user feedback, countless customer reviews praise the Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket for its unparalleled weather protection and durability. Users comment on its toughness and how it stands up against harsh climates, while still offering freedom of movement.

However, not all feedback is completely rosy. A few have mentioned the steep price that comes with owning an Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket. As such, we can't deny this is a high-end investment piece. Some users have also pointed to the relative bulk and weight of the jacket as compared to more minimalist alpine jackets in the market which may pose as a disadvantage, especially for those more concerned about weight efficiency.

One other note of contention is the pocket placement. Some users expressed that the jacket's chest pockets are less accessible when wearing a backpack or harness, suggesting that the design isn’t entirely backpacker friendly.

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