One of the most breathable and tenacious touring jackets we’ve tested to date, the ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Jacket is well-constructed, durable, lightweight, and full of features for the backcountry.
ORTOVOX’s new 3L Deep Shell Jacket (and Deep Shell Bibs) left a solid impression on our team after testing. The brand constructed this premium design for the long haul and to manage a range of weather conditions for off-piste adventure.
In short: The women’s ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Jacket ($680) is an excellent investment for backcountry skiing and splitboarding, ski mountaineering, snowmobiling, and ice climbing. If you do it all, consider investing in a shell that can do it all too.
It also functions at the resort but might overshoot the price range of what those on piste are looking to wear. (The jacket is also available in men’s.)
ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Jacket Review
While wearing this jacket on backcountry and hut trips, the design delivered protection and comfort in brutal wind pounding the steep, rugged bootpack or the sun beaming down on the skin track.
For activities that require a loaded pack, like snowmobiling and splitboarding, this burly, well-crafted apparel sets a high bar.
The three-layer jacket features merino wool and Toray Dermizax EV (an ultrathin, waterproof-windproof membrane). It also has a helmet-compatible hood, two large chest pockets, one arm pocket, and generous underarm ventilation.
The jacket stands out thanks to the following:
- Women’s-specific design
- Roomy, comfortable fit
- Pockets conducive to touring
- Robust protection against the elements
- and more rocking qualities
Since 1988, the Germany-based brand has crafted high-end, wool-based apparel for alpinists, which launched in the United States in 2015. And the brand’s first women’s-specific bib (part of the women’s 3L Deep Shell kit) is a noteworthy plug for the brand in 2022.
Before testing this set, I’d been wearing another ORTOVOX merino-lined hardshell kit for four backcountry seasons in Crested Butte, Colo.
In all conditions, my women’s Guardian Jacket ($750) and hardshell pants — the model has been discontinued but was similar to the Ortler Pant ($400) and 3L Deep Shell Pants ($550) — withstood splitboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, trailer maintenance, tons of shoveling, and wood-hauling.
Today, the Guardian kit still looks and performs in mint condition, which is a solid indication of how the 3L Deep Shell Jacket should fare over time.
ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Jacket: The Features
Regardless of how harsh the wind gets above treeline or if it’s dumping wet snow, this jacket protects me from cold and damp conditions. The fabric is 100% windproof and provides 20,000 mm of waterproofness, which is capable of blocking heavy rain and snow you typically see in the Pacific Northwest. That’s a good safety investment as a backcountry user.
Yet the jacket feels super breathable (coming from someone who sweats on the skin track). The brand uses SwissWool for insulation and odor-neutralizing properties as well as Tasmanian merino wool in the chest and collar.
In addition to the spacious, ergonomic underarm zippers, the wool helps manage moisture and temperature.
One aspect of this jacket I always rave about is the pockets. ORTOVOX nails pocket size and functionality. The two large chest pockets still work beneath a heavy pack (with a hip belt).
And I’ve used the small arm pocket to hold my ski pass at the resort. It’s also a good spot for a whistle or my wallet (with my snowmobile registration, ID, etc.)
ORTOVOX also added an integrated mesh pocket to the left chest pocket for your cellphone. I haven’t used it yet, as I prefer to wear my backcountry beacon in a chest harness, which sits below my sports bra against my ribs.
I always separate my cellphone (on airplane mode) a minimum of 20 inches from my beacon, so my phone sits in the right thigh pocket of my bibs. But the mesh pocket is well-angled and articulated, so you can easily secure your phone, even if it’s a larger size.
Testing the ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Jacket (and Bib)
While wearing this jacket snowmobiling or uphilling, when my body was working hard and loaded with gear, I never felt like the design limited my range of motion, comfort, or temperature regulation.
It’s among the best performing and durable apparel I’ve ever worn. Even the adjustable Velcro cuffs are noteworthy: They’re just the right width for grabbing, tightening, and staying put. (Why can’t all brands get this right?!)
I wasn’t sure if I’d like the slightly looser design, compared to my Guardian Jacket, but it’s not baggy and still shaped well for my curves and gear. At 554 g, the Deep Shell is also lighter than the Guardian’s 741 g.
The new women’s ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Bib Pants ($600) are crafted with the same rigorous standards of breathability, strong materials, smart pockets, comfort, and a uniquely spacious drop seat.
Not to mention, this jacket is pretty environmentally conscious as well, with the following:
- PFC-free (no per- or polyfluorinated chemicals)
- Climate-neutral with certified carbon offsetting projects
- Fair Wear-certified
- Certified, third-party audited ORTOVOX Wool Promise (OWP)
ORTOVOX Deep Shell Jacket Conclusion
All in all, this jacket is my top choice for backcountry tours. The apparel is pricey, but the product is worth the investment given that ORTOVOX prioritizes sustainability and ensures this kit is built to last.
All together, this kit provides competitive qualities for women who work in the outdoors, cover ground in the backcountry, and need technical outerwear that withstands the elements.