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CHEYENNE, WY â€“ OutdoorGearLab.com announced today the results of its 2012 Editors’ Choice awards for hardshell jackets for men. Twenty-one top shells were compared in extensive side-by side-testing. The jackets were evaluated in the following categories: weight, breathability, durability, versatility, features, and mobility.
The testing involved a year of climbing, skiing, mountaineering, and winter camping in just about every major mountain range in the US. Testers climbed Denali and hiked the John Muir Trail. View the complete Hardshell Jacket Review
Arcteryx Alpha SV â€“ Winner of the Editors’ Choice award for 2012 for hardshell jacket. According to Gear Editor Max Neale, “The Arcteryx Alpha SV is tried and true body armor for mountain climbers. The shell represents the ultimate in simplicity and function, and boasts a slew of climbing specific features that have been refined time after time untilâ€¦perfection? Of the 21 shells tested this is the only to receive five stars.â€
Rab Stretch Neo â€“ Winner of the Best Buy award for 2012. This award is given to a product that balances a high score in our tests and a reasonable price. According to Neale, â€œThe Rab Stretch Neo offers climbers and hikers the best hardshell for their dollar. With crossover chest pockets, a helmet compatible hood, and well designed adjustment cords, the Stretch Neo packs almost as much punch as our top rated Arcteryx Alpha SV, but costs 40 percent less!”
Arcteryx Alpha FL â€“ Winner of a Top Pick award for 2012. This award goes to a product that is the best at a specific application. According to Gear Editor Neale, “The Arcteryx Alpha FL is our top rated lightweight hardshell. In this case, the FL was our top ultra-light hardshell. It beats the Mountain Hardwear Quasar and three other lightweight shells because it provides an excellent assortment of well-designed features, packs down super small, and is more durable than the lightest shell tested. As for specific features, the jacket has a full-length zipper, helmet compatible hood, and a single large external chest pocket that provides quick access to the things that matter. The Alpha FL is best for fast and light climbers and backcountry skiers that want a hood that fits over a helmet, but it’s also our favorite hardshell for hiking.”
Patagonia Super Pluma – Winner of a Top Pick award for 2012. According to Neale, “The Super Pluma offers an uncompromising, versatile, and lightweight hardshell for outdoor enthusiasts of all types. Whether you’re backpacking, alpine climbing, mountaineering, or backcountry skiing, the Super Pluma keeps you warm and dry in almost every condition. This is the only award winning hardshell with handwarmer pockets.”
OutdoorGearLab LLC, headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is dedicated to creating the world’s best outdoor gear reviews. The company’s website is a free resource for people who love the outdoors and participate in activities such as hiking, climbing, backpacking, and camping. The company performs side-by-side testing of outdoor gear and publishes the results in comparative reviews. Each product is scored across a range of weighted categories, competing products are ranked, and awards are given to top performing products.