Greatest Gear for 2014: 'Best in Show' Award Winners

Super Light ‘Houdini’ Shell — Clip this featherweight emergency rain jacket to your climbing harness (or put it in a backpack) and you can forget it’s there… until the rain starts. At that point, unfurl the slim package (it’s the size and shape of an eggplant) to reveal a waterproof shell with a hood to keep you dry.

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Patagonia impressed our team with this 6.4-ounce jacket (men’s size medium), called the Alpine Houdini. It has a laminate membrane to keep it watertight (10,000mm water column rating) and windproof when the afternoon storms rock in to try and wreck your hike or climb.

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—Editors and reporters Stephen Regenold, Sean McCoy, Jason Magness, Chelsey Magness, John Peacock, Sam Salwei, Patrick Murphy, and Amy Oberbroeckling contributed to this report.