When you’re staring out at yet another bank of late spring storm clouds, it’s hard not to feel a little outgunned. Help to even the odds for ongoing battles with the elements with this flyweight, do-it-all shell.
Fully waterproof, the Hotshot II (Columbia.com;$160) mans up to ward off everything from sudden sneezes of rain to extended tempests. There’s heaps of breathability too, so uphill pushes never left me feeling clammy. Plus, the no-fuss zipper glides like it’s permanently doped up on WD-40.
But the most impressive feature I found is the weight (or lack thereof). This thing has all the heft of a Kleenex, making it a no-brainer for stuffing in your pack when skies look iffy. The jacket provides a roomy athletic cut (I tend to wear a size large, but could have easily dropped down to a medium) that’s great for those late-season turns at Timberline or late-evening, sanity-saving jogs around the neighborhood. As an added bonus, the presence of reflective striping along the torso adds stylish punch, while serving to keep you noticed.