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Marmot Snow Outerwear

How to Choose a Technical Shell


Waterproof Rating

Mountain weather can be brutal, so you need top-notch protection from a technical shell. You want a jacket with fabric that boasts a high waterproof rating (20K+) and a highly breathable membrane, ample durability, and a construction that includes fully taped or welded seams.

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Waterproof Technologies & Materials


Technical shells intended for backpacking don't need many bells and whistles, but pockets that are placed higher so you can access them when you're wearing a backpack can come in handy. Jackets you'll wear climbing should also have helmet-compatible hoods and good wrist closures to seal out storms.


Because technical shells have to fit comfortably when you're wearing a backpack or a climbing harness, they tend to feature a fit that's on the slimmer side of regular (this varies by brand). Be careful not to choose a fit that's so slim or a size so small that you can't add extra baselayers or an insulating layer.