Guide to choosing a shell jacket

A shell jacket is a must have for camping and all kinds of outdoor activities. A quality jacket can be used around the year and is long lasting. A good shell jacket protects you from water and wind, is breathable and the material is durable.

What is a Shell Jacket?

A shell jacket is an outdoor jacket with a waterproof membrane. The most important purpose for a shell jacket is to protect from water and wind. In all Halti Shell jackets we use our own wind and waterproof DrymaxX® membrane. Our products with the DrymaxX® membrane are divided into four different categories depending on the purpose of use and weather conditions for which the jacket is optimal for. Read more about the DrymaxX® categories.

What to consider when choosing a shell jacket?

The purpose of use and conditions where the jacket will be worn should be considered are important when choosing a shell jacket. The material is also very important. The material must be functional in use and depending on the conditions should be very light or strong and durable. A light shell jacket from a thinner material is easy to pack away when not needed and a stronger shell jacket will protect you even in demanding weather conditions.

For shell jackets designed for camping the important features are designed with care - including for example the placement zippers and seams. On day trips and on longer trips a backpack is used so it is important that the seams do not cause abrasion and the pockets can be used even when the straps of the backpack are in use or it is carried on the back.

Earth tones are popular and timeless options also in shell clothing, but it's important to remember that bright colors make you more visible. A bright colored shell jacket is a great option in the darker seasons and when camping alone. Reflective details are often added to shell clothing to ensure better visibility.

Different tightening and adjustment features have an affect on how long lasting the jacket is. Adjustments should be available most importantly on the hood, hem and sleeve ends so there can be the best protection from wind and water. Vents under the arm are important so that moisture can transfer and for adjusting warmth.

The lining of a shell jacket keeps the shell material away from the skin or other layers of clothing, and transfers moisture away from the skin and towards the membrane and top layer of the material. The lining is often made from a mesh material which is light and airy. A smoother and more protective lining material is used on the hem and sleeve ends to make it easier to put on and protects the jackets from for example items worn on the waist that may cause abrasion to the jacket.

Different kinds of shell jackets

  • Our 2 LAYER shell jackets have a DrymaxX® membrane between the lining and the top material. The lining is often a light mesh material which is breathable and transfers moisture away from the skin. 2 layer shell jackets are great for different outdoor activities, camping and everyday use even in rainy or windy weather conditions.

  • The 2,5 LAYER shell jackets have a laminated waterproof membrane which is coated on the inside surface. As a result is a light and stretchable jacket. Because of its light weight, the 2,5 layer jackets can be taken along on your trips and carried in a backpack easily, but will protect you from a surprising rain. The 2,5 layer shell jackets have the most sensitive material and may wear out over time after strong abrasion (from for example a backpack).

  • In the 3 LAYER shell jackets all of the layers are laminated together, including the lining, the waterproof membrane and to top material. In this way a strong and durable material is created for the shell jacket. The waterproofness and breathability values are usually of the highest level in a 3 layer shell jacket. The 3 layer shell jackets are designed for use even in the most demanding conditions, for example skiing, ice climbing and winter cycling.

  • Don't forget to layer up!

    For a shell jacket to be the most functional it is important to dress different layers. A technical base layer shirt transfers moisture away from the skin and towards the membrane of the jacket. On top of the technical base layer a warming mid layer shirt is great when you need more warmth. In the winter and in cold conditions a light down jacket can be used under the shell jacket. The top layer of the shell jacket protects from wind and water, and the down in the middle layer will keep you warm and is breathable.

    It's good to keep in mind, that the completely waterproof shell jackets are not designed for very intensive training and sports. If more breathability is needed from the shell jacket, choose an option with vents.

    We recommend choosing a size that is a bit bigger than in regular clothing, so that enough layers can be worn under the shell jacket when needed and the shell jacket can be used around the year from the warmer spring and summer days to cold and even snowy conditions in fall and winter. If the size is too small the jacket may feel cold as air can't flow under the jacket.

    More Tips

    Sometimes the inner surface of a shell jacket might be a bit wet after use, which raises concern about the waterproof membrane and if it is working like it should.

    Usually the reason is the layer that is worn under the jackets, for example a shirt made of cotton, and the moisture can't transfer away from the skin and the membrane can't function like it should. The membrane may also be clogged with dirt from the skin and/or air and it requires cleaning for it to function in an optimal way.

    A shell jacket that is cared for and cleaned in the correct way will bring joy, protect and stay breathable for a long time!

    Form the Halti collection you'll find many styles and colors of shell jackets for different uses. The Halti collection also includes Plus Sizes for women and styles for kids as well.

    Enjoy your adventures outdoors!