A full-size vent that wraps around the entire back at the shoulder blades, extending under the arms and to the side of the chest, made this airy layer a favorite for intense activities and muggy environments. “I actually felt the heat leaving the jacket behind me on a training run,” one tester said, “but I never had a cold wind chill in the front.” The 100% nylon material defended against wind gusts in the High Sierra of California, and two extra-large, mesh-lined pockets in the front (one is the stuff sack) upped venting capabilities while riding high enough over a harness to access small goodies while climbing. Testers appreciated the snug-fitting hood with a lightweight Velcro tab to customize fit and conveniently tuck the hood away around the neck and “prevent drafts coming down the collar.” An extended hem had a small amount of ruching to contour over the bum, and elastic on the bottom, around the face in the hood, and on the cuffs completed the wind-protection package, while the overall shape was slim-fitting with enough room to get a baselayer and midweight puffy underneath.
This was the most breathable jacket in the test, so if you run hot or need a piece for sweatier activities, the Solund is for you. Plus, the attention to details (great fit, nice length, and adjustable, stowable hood) make this top-notch.
$139; 10.2 oz.; bergans.com
Review: Our Top 5 Ultralight Shells