Each jacket was put to the test and ranked in terms of water resistance, durability, packed size, weight, comfort, and breathability. We took them everywhere with us to gather real-life perspectives of everyday use in real conditions. They accompanied us while hiking steep granite slabs in the Lake Tahoe area, on mellow walks in the woods, paddling on the lake, and just simply while walking around town. We even experienced a number of rainstorms to see how they performed in realistic conditions.
After testing their field performance, we took these jackets into the lab to truly rank them side by side. With such a dry season this year in the Tahoe area, the Lab was essential in collecting the proper data to determine the best. To test water resistance, we sprayed them with a hose from various angles and at various pressures. To test durability, we stretched and twisted them at the seams and wore them on an elliptical after a warm-up and blew a consistent flow of air through them with a fan to test breathability. To test weight and packed size, we weighed them all on a finely calibrated scale; and to test comfort, we tried them on and did what we do best, hiked, biked, and climbing around. By pushing the limits of these jackets both indoors and outdoors, we were able to challenge the manufacturers' claims and see how they really perform. In some cases, our tests supported the claims, and in others, we found discrepancies.
None of the jackets were freely supplied by the manufacturer, nor was any part of the testing process funded by any of the manufacturers. All jackets were independently purchased by OutdoorGearLab for the purpose of creating a detailed, unbiased review of each product.