Introduction

Dyneema Composite Fabrics is a family of fabric constructions known for their durability, compressibility, lightweight, waterproofness, low water absorption, and tear resistance. They consist of hand-lain matrices of Dyneema fibers in a proprietary adhesive matrix that is bonded to any number of different films/coatings/fabrics. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shell Jacket is made using Dyneema Composite Fabric bonded to a polyester fiber outer face for durability, and to a monolayer eVENT membrane on the inner face for breathability.

The result is a full zip, hooded jacket that is long enough to cover your butt, roomy enough for three-season layering, waterproof enough to keep rain out even under the pressure of a heavy pack, and as breathable as any other rain jacket that I’ve worn. Consider that The Shell can be compressed to a volume of less than a pint, and weighs less than six ounces, it’s a worthy contender in the growing field of ultralight rain jackets.

I’ve been wearing prototype and production models of The Shell for the past two years, and this review reflects my experience and long-term assessment of its performance.

hyperlite mountain gear the shell review prototype beartooths
Testing an early prototype of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shell Jacket in Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness on a Backpacking Light Wilderness Adventures Trek.

Features and Specifications

Features

  • Jacket Type: Full-zip, hooded, waterproof-breathable (rain) jacket
  • Hood: Front and rear hood shock cord adjustment, helmet-compatible, stiffened hood brim (the stiffened portion is 1.75 inches wide at the center of the hood crown)
  • Hem: Bottom hem shock cord adjustment
  • Cuffs: Hook-and-loop¬†adjustable cuffs
  • Pockets: One small waist-level pocket on the right-hand side (waterproof)
  • Fit: “Performance fit”
  • Sizing: (Unisex) X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large

Specifications

  • Fabric: DCF-WPB, i.e., Dyneema Composite Fabric bonded to a nonwoven polyester fiber outer face and an eVENT membrane on the inner face
  • Breathability Rating: 32,000 gm2/24hr
  • Waterproof Rating: 10,000 mm
  • Main Zipper Spec: #5 YKK Vislon Aquaguard (tooth zipper)
  • Chin Guard Fabric: Polartec Power-Dry
  • Weights: 5.16 oz (146 g) to 6.20 oz (176 g) depending on size
  • MSRP: USD $450

Performance Assessment

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