Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Purpose of Hard Shell Jackets

I finally bought a hard shell jacket. I've been in the market for about six years and I finally found a jacket that fits, is in my price range (less than $100 for actual quality), is light enough, has features I like and none that I don't.

For those that don't know, a hard shell is a dense fabric or coating such as Gor-Tex that is designed to be water proof. In the last 30 years as "breathable" fabrics and coatings have emerged this now typically means waterproof and breathable. In other words, expensive, barely breathable and and uninsulated. I took a pictures of myself in my new jacket below.

As I contemplated my purchase on the hour long drive home I thought, 'after everything I have done the last six years why am I buying a hard shell at all? I got along just fine without it.'

So I came up with a list of reasons to own a hard shell.
  1. Ice climbing in the rain
  2. Rock climbing in the snow
  3. When you are no longer having fun outside because of the weather but are still hours away from lattes and heaters
That is about it. In total that accounts for about 10% of the time that I spend playing in the outdoors. Typically when any of those scenarios happens the trips is nearing completion but it will be nice to stay dry a little longer than I do with my three ounce wind shells. 

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