Hardshell jacket is a must-have for anyone who loves spending time outdoors, whether hiking, camping, skiing, or simply enjoying a walk in the rain. They are designed to protect you from the elements, keeping you dry and warm in even the harshest weather conditions.
In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of hardshell jackets, features to consider when buying one, and how to properly care for them. We will also recommend some of the best hardshell jackets for outdoor activities.
Benefits of a Hardshell Jacket
- Waterproof The primary benefit of a hardshell jacket is its waterproofness. A good hardshell coat will keep you dry even in the heaviest rain or snowfall. The waterproofing is achieved through the use of materials like Gore-Tex, which are both waterproof and breathable.
- Breathable Breathability is another essential feature of a hardshell jacket. A breathable jacket allows sweat to escape, preventing you from becoming clammy and uncomfortable. This is achieved using materials that allow moisture to pass through while keeping water out.
- Durable Hardshell jackets are designed to be worn for extended periods in harsh conditions. The materials used in their construction are tough and abrasion-resistant, ensuring that the jacket can withstand wear and tear.
Features to Consider When Buying a Hardshell Jacket
- Material When choosing a hardshell jacket, the material is an important consideration. Gore-Tex and other similar materials are famous as they offer waterproofing and breathability. Different materials like eVent and Dry. Q Elite also provides excellent waterproofing and breathability.
- Seams The seams of a hardshell jacket should also be considered. Taped seams provide extra protection from water and prevent leaks from forming at the seams. Welded seams are also an option, providing a more streamlined look.
- Hood Many hardshell jackets come with a hood, which helps protect your head and neck from the elements. Look for a jacket with an adjustable hood for a comfortable fit. Some jackets also feature helmet-compatible hoods for use in activities like skiing and climbing.
- Pockets are a helpful feature in a hardshell jacket, allowing you to store small items like a phone, wallet, or keys. Look for jackets with secure zippered pockets to prevent your belongings from falling out. Some jackets also feature chest pockets or internal pockets for added storage.
- Fit The fit of a hardshell jacket is essential for both comfort and functionality. Look for a jacket that fits well and allows easy movement without being too bulky or restrictive. Some jackets offer a more relaxed fit, while others are designed to be more fitted.
How to Properly Care for Your Hardshell Jacket
- Following the manufacturer's instructions when washing your hardshell jacket is essential. Use a mild detergent and avoid fabric softeners, which can damage the waterproofing. Wash the coat gently and avoid using hot water, which can also damage the waterproofing.
- Drying To avoid damaging the waterproofing, it is best to air dry your hardshell jacket. Hang it up in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Avoid using a dryer or iron on the jacket, which can damage the materials.
- Storing When not in use, store your hardshell jacket in a cool, dry place.
Recommended Hardshell Jackets for Different Activities
- Hiking: The Arc'teryx Zeta SL Jacket is a lightweight and breathable option that is perfect for hiking. It features Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof technology and an adjustable hood for added protection.
- Camping: The Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket is a durable and versatile option for camping. It features AscentShell technology for waterproofing and breathability and has an adjustable hood and cuffs for a comfortable fit.
- Skiing/Snowboarding: The Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket is a top-of-the-line option for skiing and snowboarding. It features Gore-Tex Pro technology for ultimate waterproofing and breathability. It has a helmet-compatible hood and multiple pockets for storage.
Hardshell Jackets vs. Softshell Jackets
When it comes to outdoor gear, jackets are an essential piece for staying warm and protected from the elements. Two popular types of jackets are hardshell jackets and softshell jackets. While both offer protection from the weather, there are some critical differences between the two.
Hardshell jackets are designed to be completely waterproof, windproof, and breathable. They are made from a waterproof and breathable membrane, such as Gore-Tex. They typically have sealed seams to prevent water from seeping in. They are ideal for wet and windy conditions and often used for hiking, mountaineering, and skiing.
Softshell jackets, conversely, are made from stretchy and breathable fabrics that offer some water resistance but are not entirely waterproof. They are ideal for activities that require more mobility, such as rock climbing, as they are more flexible and allow for a broader range of movement. They are also often more breathable than hardshell jackets, making them a better choice for activities requiring much physical exertion.
When deciding between a hardshell jacket and a softshell jacket, it is crucial to consider the conditions in which you will be using it and the type of activity you will be doing. If you will be in wet and windy conditions, a hardshell jacket is a way to go. Suppose you will be doing a more physically demanding activity like rock climbing or trail running. In that case, a softshell jacket may be a better choice.
Ultimately, both hardshell and softshell jackets have their place in outdoor gear, and it's up to you to determine which is best for your needs.
A hardshell jacket is essential outdoor gear for anyone who loves spending time outside. When choosing a hardshell jacket, consider the material, seams, hood, pockets, and fit. Proper care and maintenance will ensure your jacket lasts for many outdoor adventures. We hope this guide has helped you choose the perfect hardshell jacket for your needs.