Rainwear for the Last Frontier

AK tested tough stamp green copyRain and sun are both certainties in Alaska. The 49th state is home to the world's largest temperate rain forest and the midnight sun. You're likely to experience both; occasionally, several times in the same day. A good hardshell (read: rain jacket)—one that will keep the water out no matter what, while not making you feel like you're wearing a plastic bag—comes highly recommended in Alaska, winter or summer. And good news: You don't have to wear (or carry around) heavy waxed canvas anymore. Modern, lightweight synthetic materials are waterproof, breathable, and pack-friendly.

Our local experts put some of the best rainwear available to the test for two months, hiking, camping, skiing, and fishing—rain, snow, or sun—looking for what kept them driest when it was raining (or snowing), and packed the easiest when the sun was shining. These five came out on top.

 

Gear M Kichatna JacketEDITOR'S CHOICE: The North Face Kichatna

Named after an Alaska mountain range known for its terrible weather, the Kichatna Jacket kept our testers completely dry in heavy rain and wet snow, no matter what. With fully taped seams, burly two-layer Gore-Tex, and polyurethane-coated zippers, this jacket is built for years of abuse. Our testers particularly liked the smartly designed helmet-compatible hood and removable powder skirt, making it a great option for backcountry skiing. It's a true four-season shell without the bulk. Bonus: It comes

with a lifetime warranty.

$600, 1 lb. 4 oz.; thenorthface.com

 

 

 

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Backpacks

BACKPACKS: Tested Tough by Alaska magazine

From our June, 2014 Issue

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