Fall means a flurry of new outerwear from top brands is now available to skiers and alpinists. Many jackets at the pinnacle of performance (and price) will use a new Gore-Tex Pro fabric in their fall 2013 products.
Gore-Tex Pro was released in 2006, but the new, 2013 generation of fabric is different. The company claims it is up to 28 percent more breathable and more durable than previous Gore-Tex Pro fabric. Like the original version, the new fabric has an ePTFE-based membrane system to let sweat from the body escape while remaining waterproof from precip from the exterior.
Gore hosted a product launch in Boulder this week. We checked out a bunch of releases for fall. Here are seven of our favorite Gore-Tex Pro Shell jackets that have just hit the market. —Sean McCoy
Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket ($650) – Waterproof Vizlon front zipper, 3-point adjustable storm hood, and two cinch points at the waist and mid back (and shock-inducing price) set this specialized alpine shell made for high-altitude mountaineering, ice climbing, and mountain guides apart from the masses. “Hem-lock” foam inserts in the hem help keep a climbing harness from riding up when swinging an ice axe overhead.
Adidas Terrex Advance Jacket ($595) – This alpine and ice climbing jacket has an asymmetrical zipper and merino wool lining for added comfort around the mouth and face. Waterproof YKK zippers and round out this streamlined shell.
Mammut Meron ($549) – A clean alpine shell that weighs in at 500 grams for a large, the Meron has waterproof zippers, large pockets, an inside zip pocket, and single-hand hood adjustment.
Patagonia Powslayer ($679) – Among the priciest ski-oriented shells on the market, the highly featured Powslayer has RECCO avy locators, waterproof zippers, and big front drop-in pockets. A zippered front pocket has a secondary, interior security pouch with electronic access port. Inside are three more pockets, two drop-in and one zip secured. The powder skirt functions even when unbuttoned, and a micro-fleece chin adds to comfort.
Marmot Speed Light Jacket ($425) – A light alpine shell stripped to the essentials, the Speed Light has waterproof zippers, pit zips and three exterior pockets. Asymmetrical cuffs are designed for use with gloves. The minimal design and features help this jacket land the lowest price of the seven.
The North Face Kichatna Jacket ($599) — A technical, helmet compatible ski mountaineering shell with grip-zones on shoulders and hips to keep packs in place, hand pockets, pit-zips, two chest pockets and removable powder skirt.
Outdoor Research Vanguard Jacket ($595) – NOTE: This jacket does not use Gore-Tex Pro but instead 3-layer Gore-Tex soft shell fabric. We saw it at the show and liked it. The interior is bonded to light fleece in the body for some insulation. Glove drop, security and a media port pocket inside the jacket, and hand pockets outside provide ample storage. The jacket has RECCO reflectors, large diagonal chest vents and tacky rubber accent points to keep packs in place.