Mountain Hardwear Super Light Plasmic Rain Shell
Rain shells under ten ounces are typically either prohibitively expensive, featureless, or sweat-trapping plastic sacks. Mountain Hardwear's 7.7-ounce Super Light Plasmic Rain Shell, however, is light, waterproof, expels perspiration as well as any ultralight fabric we've tried, and is just $200. The 15-denier shell features the company's proprietary DryQ Evap technology and even given its featherlight weight, the jacket still sports the pockets, a two-way adjustable hood large enough to cover a helmet, a hem draw string, and a durable front zipper.
In lieu of pit zips, the jacket vents through the mesh-backed pockets, which works particularly well in when you're working hard on a bike or trail. Cram it into a daypack and you won't even remember it's there, until the rain falls.
Days Tested: 10
Area Used: Around the Grand Tetons and on one trip to France
Activities: Backcountry skiing, hiking, mountain biking
Nitpick: The ultralight fabric has a downside – it can be punctured by stray branches.