Gear Guide: New Technical Hardshells for Winter 2014/2015

The new gear that you need to keep you warm and dry this winter!

Snow has begun to fall in the mountains here in the Northeast, laying a soft white blanket onto the pines and paths of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains. While we all hate to see warm, sunny weather go away, it’s time to start directing shorts, t-shirts and sandals to the closet, and to begin replacing them with insulated coats, softshell pants and hardshells in preparation for the coming cold temperatures and winter activities.  Here at the Outdoor Gear Exchange/, we are Alpine skiers, ice climbers, Nordic skiers, winter hikers and ski-touring enthusiasts, so we love winter and all of the gear that goes along with it. Here is our guide to the hottest technical hardshells for winter 2014/2015: 




W4MR_603_MERL_SharpEndShell_Wns_FrontBlack Diamond Sharp End Shell (Men’s & Women’s):

The Sharp End Shell from Black Diamond, available for men and women, is an innovative, durable technical hardshell for climbing, alpine skiing, and any other activities that require supreme weather protection. Featuring Gore-Tex® Pro 3-layer fabric with a durable, yet light 40 denier face fabric, the Sharp End Shell can take a beating and protects against harsh weather, while retaining excellent breathability. The Sharp End Shell is also packed with features and innovative design, such as an adjustable, helmet compatible hood; waterproof YKK® Vislon® Aquaguard® zippers; two-way zip armpit vents; harness compatible pockets; and exclusive, integrated Cohaesive cord management technology.  The Sharp End Shell provides a great fit, quality construction, superb weather protection and performance design for a variety of winter pursuits! Black Diamond is a trusted name in climbing hardgoods, yet the high-performance Sharp End Shell is sure to brandish their reputation in the technical apparel market as well.

Ideal uses: Ice climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing

Shop the men’s Sharp End Shell or women’s Sharp End Shell!



Mountain Hardwear Seraction Jacket (Men’s and Women’s):

Designed specifically for ice and mixed climbing with climber and Alpinist Tim Emmett, the Mountain Hardwear Seraction Jacket for men and women provides elite level weather protection, combined with the breathability and fit needed for high-output climbing. Featuring Mountain Hardwear’s premium Dry.Q® Elite 3-layer hardshell fabric with a lightweight 30 denier face fabric for weather protection, as well as panels of  Dry.Q® Elite Stretch 3-layer fabric for freedom of motion and breathability, the Seraction Jacket can withstand harsh precipitation and wind, while instantly breathing to expel warm air and moisture from inside of the jacket. The Seraction also has climbing specific design features, including a 4-way adjustable hood, harness compatible chest pockets and an active fit. The Seraction is the perfect jacket for getting out and climbing some tough ice and mixed routes this winter!

Ideal uses: Ice climbing, mixed climbing, mountaineering, Alpine climbing

Shop the men’s Seraction or women’s Seraction!



Arc’teryx Beta AR (Men’s and Women’s):

The Arc’teryx Beta AR for men and women,is unique among hardshells, as it is both high-high performance, technical and fully-featured, yet it is not specialized for a specific outdoor pursuit or purpose. The Beta AR is equally suitable for resort skiing, ice climbing, hiking or wearing around town. Featuring Gore-Tex® Pro 3-layer fabric, but with two different face fabric weights —80 denier in the shoulders, forearms and under the sleeves; 40 denier in the rest of the jacket— for added durability in heavy wear areas. The Beta AR also has a drop hood that will fit over a helmet, yet stays out of the way when not in use, as well as waterproof zippers, armpit zips and gusseted arms for freedom of movement. This is a true all around jacket, with a focus on durability, weather protection, and a functional fit. If you can only have one jacket, the Beta AR is the clear choice!

Ideal uses: Hiking, camping, climbing, resort skiing, backcountry skiing, around-town use

Shop the men’s Beta AR or the women’s Beta AR



Trew Cosmic Jacket (men’s) and Stella Jacket (women’s):

Trew apparel combines freeride ski styling, colorways and design, with the high-performance, technical construction usually reserved for climbing and mountaineering hardshells in the versatile, functional and undeniably cool Cosmic jacket for men and (all-new) Stella jacket for women. Featuring Trew’s proprietary “Private Reserve” 3-layer waterproof-breathable fabric, which features an incredibly durable 140 denier face fabric, as well as a comfortable 20 denier nylon tricot inner backer, the Cosmic and Stella jackets are both super tough and luxurious. Both jackets have waterproof YKK® Vislon® Aquaguard® zippers, handwarmer pockets, zippered armpit vents, two backpack and harness friendly chest pockets, as well as helmet compatible hoods. Even with all of these amazing technical features, the first thing you will notice is the flashy, stylish colors and awesome ski-specific fit. 

Ideal uses: Looking fresh while skiing and snowboarding at the resort or in the backcountry

Shop the men’s Cosmic jacket or the women’s Stella jacket.




Outdoor Research Foray Jacket (men’s) and Aspire Jacket (women’s):

Lightweight, packability and functionality are the key traits that make the men’s Foray jacket and women’s Aspire jacket so popular and useful. Featuring Gore-Tex® Paclite 2.5-layer waterproof construction, the Foray and Aspire are waterproof , yet lightweight and extremely packable. A 50 denier face fabric makes these jackets surprisingly durable for their weights, while waterproof zippers keep water out. Additionally, the Foray and Aspire jackets are versatile and functional, with a hem-to bicep side zipper and opens the jacket up to cover a pack, or so that you can use the jacket as a poncho when storms roll in. For hiking, climbing, or around town, the Foray and Aspire jackets are great options to keep you dry and comfortable.

Ideal uses: hiking, camping, climbing, around-town use, as an emergency shell

Shop the men’s Foray Jacket or the women’s Aspire Jacket




Shop all men’s hardshells

Shop all women’s hardshells

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Published:October 20, 2014

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