For the ultimate protection during your ski & outdoor trips, we break down the best hardshell jackets on the market. Choosing the right jacket is all about managing the conditions you expect to face on the mountains or wherever your adventures take you. This means there are many variables to consider, what kind of skiing do you enjoy most? Are you looking for a versatile jacket that also works for daily use? What kind of features do you need and how do you get the most value for money?
In our comprehensive review, we have not excluded any categories so that you can make the most well-informed decision this winter! Here you will find our cheat sheet – outlining the main aspects of each jacket compared to each other. For a more comprehensive review on each hardhell jacket individually, read on.
1 | Cortazu Mountain Hardshell
The Cortazu Mountain Hard shell jacket is our top all-round pick for the best current outdoor/skiing jacket. To put it simply, it has the best price to the quality ratio we have seen for the high-end of the Hard Shell jacket market. With over 20 features comprising 54 individual components, the price point we would expect is more in the range of the Arc’teryx bracket- when in reality, it is almost half of that.
If the abundance of features isn’t enough to convince you, the jacket’s performance is really when you start to see value for money. With a waterproofness rating of 25,000mm combined with a breathability score of 20,000/m², you are entirely protected from even the most extreme elements. To top it all, this hardshell is made with recycled nylon from post-industrial waste. Each purchase re-greens 62m² of endangered land through their partnership with non-profit organisation Justdiggit. The criticism we had from a skiing perspective is the lack of a snow skirt/catcher, though the jacket is longer in the back.
2 | Arc’teryx RUSH
Our second best overall hard shell is the Arc’teryx RUSH. The Rush scores highly in all the important areas that a hard shell should, as we have all come to expect from Arc’teryx. The fit, breathability, and durability are all of high quality. The build and seems of the jacket make it fully bomb-proof, and an ideal jacket for backcountry skiing.
The cut fits an athletic body very well, even with multiple other layers underneath. The main criticism of this jacket is of course the price, which is significantly higher than all its competitors. We also found the fabric to be quite crinkly and stiff.
3 | Norrøna Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro
Norwegians are certainly used to extreme weather conditions, which you can tell was the focus for this jacket. The Trollveggen Gore-tex Pro is a simplistic jacket that does all the important things well enough. The fabric is a 40D GORE-TEX Pro which will protect you from anything the harsh winters have to throw at you. This is a jacket you can count on whilst mountaineering and in snow storms.
Whilst the jacket is fairly rugged, it is also surprisingly mobile as we found from testing it on a climbing wall. One criticism of this jacket compared to others in this range is the lack of features, especially pockets.
4 | Mammut Stoney Hardshell
The final jacket we tested was the Stoney Hard Shell from Mammut. Mammut have bravely opted to use their own in-house membrane technology dubbed DRYtechnology™, rather than use the recognised market leaders. Their membrane has a waterproof column of up to 20,000mm which is fairly competitive in this price range. Combined with fully taped seams and a DWR coating, the jacket has enough to keep you protected whilst skiing. In our testing the jacket itself did wet out quite a lot on the outer layer, though no water got inside.
The other issue we noticed was the short collar/chin level. For us it was a bit too low, meaning even when you wear the hood up you aren’t getting the full protective environment as most other hard shells that cover up to the lips. Overall the Mammut Stoney ticks most the boxes for mixed resort/backcountry skiing, but since it weighs in at 785g, we think there are better options out there.
Good luck with choosing the right hardshell, and that with this review, we make it easier to select a Ski & Outdoor hardshell jacket.