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Trek confidently rain or shine in the Shell, a tough, technical ultralight jacket


Dyneema has taken the outside business by storm, infiltrating all classes of out of doors gear. It’s ceaselessly utilized by main climbing tools manufacturers and efficiently crossed over into backpack and shelter product traces, as properly. The material’s extraordinarily light-weight composition is paired with a weight-for-weight ratio 15 occasions stronger than metal. Now, Hyperlite Mountain Gear integrated Dyneema into attire with the launch of The Shell — an ultralight technical jacket.

Straying from Tradition

The historical past of waterproof attire dates again to historical occasions when individuals used seal and whale intestines to maintain rain out whereas permitting sweat vapor to flee. Over the centuries, extra technically superior choices have been made out there, together with waxed cotton and vinyl. When Gore-Tex entered the scene in 1969, rainwear was ceaselessly revolutionized.

Amanda Ellis/Digital Trends

Gore-Tex is a skinny fluoropolymer membrane which repels water droplets whereas permitting moisture to go by way of as a vapor. The outer layer is coated with DWR (sturdy water repellent) which maintains the product’s breathability by stopping the material from absorbing water.

The membrane is tucked between outer and internal layers to supply for elevated sturdiness and next-to-skin consolation. Perhaps the lone draw back to Gore-Tex is its DWR coating wears off over time, requiring re-application – it’s additionally comparatively heavy. Gore-Tex has been the final main development in rain gear. Until now.

“Finding a jacket that is waterproof yet ultralight and durable is the Holy Grail for outdoor folk.”

Enter The Shell. Hyperlite Mountain Gear labored carefully with Dyneema to create a extremely sturdy, waterproof breathable material. Known as Dyneema Composite Fabrics with waterproof breathable properties (or DCF-WPB), The Shell raises the bar for waterproof attire. The jacket incorporates eVent expertise and Dyneema collectively to create air permeable waterproof expertise in a lighter weight kind than some other materials at present on the market.

The jacket weighs between 5.16 and 6.20 ounces, relying on the dimension. It’s extremely sturdy for its weight and doesn’t soak water like its Gore-Tex predecessors.

“Finding a jacket that is waterproof yet ultralight and durable is the Holy Grail for outdoor folk. This versatile jacket meets all those requirements in a compact 5.5 ounces,” acknowledged Hyperlite Mountain Gear ambassador Mark Oates.

A Literal Wonder Fabric

Dyneema, previously often known as Cuben Fiber, is technically recognized as ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene. Its extraordinary energy to weight ratio is coveted by outside fans who require rugged gear designed to endure the challenges of the backcountry. In addition, Dyneema is unbelievably light-weight and utterly waterproof. While the robust fiber and composite face materials demand expert labor – for its precision stitching and bonding methods – Hyperlite Mountain Gear wasted no time determining a strategy to incorporate Dyneema into its attire.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shell Compared To

Digital Trends spoke with the firm’s CEO and founder Mike St. Pierre in July 2017, who first hinted that a Dyneema jacket was in the works. A month later, Hyperlite Mountain Gear introduced the launch of The Shell, touting it as an ultralight technical jacket weighing greater than half a pound lower than most alternate options on the market.

“Our goal was to design a jacket that was so light and functional that there was no reason not to bring it on every trip,” acknowledged Mike St. Pierre.

First Look

At first look, The Shell boasts a trendy brilliant white coloration complimented with black accents. The jacket is a little crinkly to the contact however clean and tender on the pores and skin. Its sturdy look is deceiving when contemplating its featherlight weight. You can choose it up with two fingers and fling it up into the air the place it’s going to float for a few seconds earlier than coming again down.

We have been amazed at the mixed waterproofing and breathability.

There is a single black YKK zipper that runs instantly down the heart of the jacket, guaranteeing absolute waterproofing. The jacket consists of an adjustable hood with a Polartec Power Dry chin guard and Velcro cuffs. Shock cords enhance the garment the place mandatory for adjustment functions, together with the backside hem, and entrance and rear hood. The helmet-compatible hood options a stiff brim and is right for climbers, canyoneers, and skiers.

The jacket compacts down into its personal low-profile stuff sack with a waterproof zipper and clip-in level. The Shell is obtainable in unisex sizing however the efficiency match permits for a full vary of movement. A extra tapered match is perhaps fascinating for some ladies however the jacket runs true to dimension. We examined a dimension small out on a part hike of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina in each sunny and wet circumstances which produced diversified temperatures.

Field Performance

When the solar was shining and the temperatures ranged from about 40 to 50 levels Fahrenheit, The Shell served as an efficient windproof layer worn over wool base layers and a gentle mid layer. When in movement, the jacket offered for glorious breathability and it was solely as we conquered a steep uphill part whereas sporting a twenty-pound backpack did the jacket develop into too heat to put on. There was a level we started wishing for pit zips however its eVent expertise offered efficient air flow akin to comparable Gore-Tex jackets with pit zips.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shell review
Amanda Ellis/Digital Trends

When we encountered a downpour that lasted about an hour, The Shell shined. We stayed utterly dry by way of the complete occasion and by no means bought too scorching whilst we hiked on in the rain. We have been amazed at the mixed waterproofing and breathability efficiency. The jacket expertly repelled water and by no means soaked into the face material, as is widespread with DWR-treated alternate options. After the downpour ended, The Shell dried shortly.Final Thoughts

The solely actual draw back to the jacket is the design of the shock cords. When tugged on arduous sufficient, the adjustment piece simply pulled off previous the buffer ring. This minor design flaw doesn’t impression efficiency in the least however is one thing we observed when tightening the hood.

As we talked about earlier, pit zips would enhance the jacket’s breathability however with out them, the efficiency of the mixture eVent and Dyneema expertise remains to be higher than comparable Gore-Tex fashions.

The Shell actually stands by itself in moist or dry circumstances — serving as a perfect addition to any gear closet or as a alternative rain jacket. This technical piece gives long-lasting efficiency for all outside adventurers together with backpackers, packrafters, thru-hikers, climbers, alpinists, and skiers. The better part? Weighing next-to-nothing, you gained’t even discover you’re carrying it.


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