If you count ounces, or to be even more precise, grams, you can either a) buy an inexpensive featherlight shell and hope it doesn’t rain very hard, or b) spend some money and buy a featherlight shell that works. Several companies have succeeded in building amazingly light, well-constructed shells that have made lots of “editor’s choice” and “gear of the year” lists — Westcomb’s Shift LT Hoody is one of those, at 12 ounces the industry’s lightest jacket with Polartec® NeoShell®
NeoShell has been hailed as the holy grail of hard shells, being waterproof, windproof, and breathable — and the Shift is, in fact, amazingly breathable. The fit is a little looser on me (pretty standard men’s medium) and accommodates a few layers underneath — I actually wore it ice climbing a few times last winter. The velour chin guard on the high collar is one of those tiny, wonderful features when you’re spending days with the hood up (keeps the chafed face to a minimum). The Shift has only one pocket, no pit zips, and minimal velcro cuffs, but still has a three-point adjustable hood that fits over a helmet.
The one thing I’d love to change: making the Napoleon pocket into a stuff sack to stow the jacket. But it’s hard to complain about a breathable, waterproof, windproof, 12-ounce jacket.