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REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Review

An affordable hardshell that can get the job done
REI Co-op Drypoint GTX
Photo: REI Co-op
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $249 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Cheap, ultralight, solid weather protection, impressive breathability
Cons:  No internal pockets, poor ventilation, unreliable hood drawcords
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2020
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 15
  • Weather Protection - 30% 6
  • Weight - 20% 9
  • Mobility and Fit - 20% 7
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 6
  • Features and Design - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The REI Drypoint GTX is a hardshell jacket that epitomizes many of the things REI is known for — quality, utility, and affordability. At just 11.0 ounces for a size large, this is an extremely lightweight piece that boasts impressive breathability thanks to its Gore-Tex Active membrane. It's also one of the lowest price jackets that we would classify as a hardshell. To enjoy the cost savings, however, you have to accept a few flaws. The overall design is less refined, with the hood drawcords serving as a glaring example. This jacket's 20-denier face fabric also feels markedly less durable than other shells. Despite the drawbacks, the Drypoint GTX is still an outstanding value, which is why it earns a Best Buy Award. We think it's best suited for moderate winter activities, but the durability concerns would disqualify it for alpine climbing or regular daily use.

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Price $249 List
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Pros Cheap, ultralight, solid weather protection, impressive breathabilityLightweight, form fitting, great storm hood, superior construction quality, reasonable priceStretchy, light, very packable, affordable, quite breathableGood ventilation, bargain price, lightweight, fully waterproofLightweight, inexpensive, easy to tighten drawcords
Cons No internal pockets, poor ventilation, unreliable hood drawcordsCrinkly and noisy, very little ventilation, few pockets, short front hemHand pockets are a bit low, hood is a bit shallow with a helmet on, fragileInterior fabric is clingy, feels delicate, limited drawcordsGlossy internal fabric, poor mobility, hand pocket zippers not waterproof
Bottom Line An affordable hardshell that can get the job doneThis hardshell is an alpine climber’s dream, and is really great for skiing as wellThe best choice for highly aerobic activities where mobility and breathability are keyThe lightest hardshell that includes pit zipsCloser to a rain jacket than a hardshell
Rating Categories REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Arc'teryx Alpha FL Outdoor Research In... Marmot Knife Edge Exposure/2 Gore-Tex...
Weather Protection (30%)
6.0
9.0
5.0
6.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Mobility And Fit (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Venting And Breathability (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Features And Design (10%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Arc'teryx Alpha FL Outdoor Research In... Marmot Knife Edge Exposure/2 Gore-Tex...
Pit Zips No No No Yes No
Measured Weight (size large) 11.0 oz 11.8 oz 11.2 oz 12.4 oz 11.4 oz
Material Gore-Tex Active 3L Gore-Tex with N40p-X face fabric AscentShell 3L 100% nylon 20D stretch ripstop with 100% polyester 12D backer Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5L 100% Polyester Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5L 100% nylon w/ DWR coating
Pockets 2 hand 1 external chest, 1 internal chest 2 handwarmer, 1 chest 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand, 1 chest
Helmet Compatible Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hood Draw Cords 3 3 3 1 1
Adjustable Cuffs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Two-Way Front Zipper No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you're in the market for an affordable hardshell, anything made with Gore-Tex Pro is probably going to be too spendy. Instead, the most likely choices are Gore-Tex Paclite, Gore-Tex Active, or a proprietary fabric from another manufacturer (e.g. Patagonia H2No, Outdoor Research AscentShell, etc.). Of these choices, our hands-down favorite is Gore-Tex Active, and that's exactly what the REI Drypoint GTX is made with.

Performance Comparison


The REI Drypoint GTX employs a Gore-Tex Active laminate to achieve...
The REI Drypoint GTX employs a Gore-Tex Active laminate to achieve waterproof/breathability. It is our favorite material for affordable hardshells.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Weather Protection


This jacket has a multitude of features to ensure you're protected from whatever nature has in store. Foremost is the 3-layer Gore-Tex Active fabric, which demonstrated true waterproofness throughout our testing. The hood sports a two-inch brim to direct water away from your face and the collar of the jacket. It includes three hood drawcords (two in the front, one in the back) so you can comfortably secure the hood whether you're wearing a helmet or not.

Although this isn't our favorite jacket for alpine climbing, it does...
Although this isn't our favorite jacket for alpine climbing, it does pretty well backcountry skiing or winter hiking.
Photo: Jack Cramer

The hardshell's three zippers are all sturdy, fully taped YKK models. None of these showed any signs of leaking during our shower test. The medium-length hem has another pair of drawcords so you can cinch it in place for those days when the powder is spraying above your waist. Finally, the wrist cuffs include simple hook-and-loop closures similar to our favorites on the Arc'teryx jackets. These closures proved to be appropriately sized and reliably secure throughout our testing process.

The simple hook-and-loop wrist cuffs proved to be reliable during...
The simple hook-and-loop wrist cuffs proved to be reliable during our hands-on testing.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Weight


A size large weighed in at 11.0 ounces on our scale. That is feather-light and makes it one of the lightest 3-layer hardshells that we're aware of. This benefit is due in part to the Gore-Tex Active construction, which Gore claims is the lightest 3-layer fabric they make.

We think the minimal weight makes this a perfect jacket for drier climates or trips with a decent forecast. In other words, any situation where prudence suggests you should bring a hardshell but a low likelihood of precip causes you to hesitate. With the Drypoint GTX's ultralight weight, it's easy to throw it in the bottom of your pack and forget about it until storm clouds someday threaten. We only wish it also included a stuff sack to reduce wear and tear while it lives in our packs.

A size large rose up a little too high on this 6'2" tester when he...
A size large rose up a little too high on this 6'2" tester when he raised his arms overhead.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Mobility and Fit


There is a slight stretchiness to this jacket's Gore-Tex Active fabric, which mildly improves mobility and range of motion. This fabric is also quieter than Gore-Tex Pro, but it still creates some dampened crinkly sounds during movement. Comfort-wise we think it feels freer and more mobile than similar jackets made Gore-Tex Pro or Gore-Tex Paclite.

These niceties aside, we do have a few complaints about the fit. Our 6'2" lead tester weighs 175 pounds and has a skinny frame but broad shoulders. We ordered a size large and believe it was the correct choice. In an ordinary standing position with arms down, the fit feels perfect; however, when he raised his arms overhead, we noticed a significant rise at the hem and wrist cuffs. Both the hem and wrist seem like the right length while standing, so we suspect the problem is due to the cut and articulation of the jacket in the armpit or shoulder.

The riding up of the sleeve and hem is probably not a concern for skiing or hiking, but it can be maddening while alpine climbing because you spend so much time with arms overhead. Constantly stopping to readjust the sleeves or hem is something you shouldn't have to do in any hardshell, no matter the price point.

The Drypoint GTX is ultralight, but it doesn't include any pit zips...
The Drypoint GTX is ultralight, but it doesn't include any pit zips. That limits your venting options during sustained activity.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Venting and Breathability


Gore claims that Gore-Tex Active is their most breathable membrane, and we think we agree. In our stationary bike test, this material proved to be highly breathable. Our testers also prefer the feel of the knit backing on the Active fabric over the glossiness of Gore-Tex Paclite. It is hard for us to say which fabric is actually more breathable, but our testers believe Gore-Tex Active feels less stuffy.

Part of this jacket's breathability is due to the Active membrane, but the 20-denier nylon face fabric likely plays a role as well. This face fabric is thinner than the materials used on a lot of other hardshells –we tested other fabrics up to 100-denier — and this seems to enhance breathability while sacrificing durability. The tradeoff probably isn't worth it for the gnarliest winter activities, but it seems sensible for an affordable hardshell.

When it comes to venting, the Drypoint GTX is rather limited. It lacks underarm vents or a two-way main zipper. To overcome this limitation, both of the jacket's handwarmer pockets are lined with mesh so they could theoretically be used to vent excess heat. We think this design is rather flawed because the pockets are no longer pockets if you leave them open, and their position adjacent to the main zipper makes any extra venting they provide essentially redundant. Nevertheless, the impressive breathability of this hardshell's fabric partially makes up for its flaws in terms of venting.

This jacket lacks any internal pockets. You can store your phone in...
This jacket lacks any internal pockets. You can store your phone in one of the external hand pockets, but it will probably get smushed by the waistbelt on your pack.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Features and Design


The Drypoint GTX is an ultralight hardshell, so it's predictably light on features. It lacks pit zips and any internal pockets. Both of its two external pockets are positioned relatively low, where they serve primarily as handwarmers. This is nice for casual occasions but limiting during technical activities. The positioning is low enough that anything stored inside is likely to overlap with a climbing harness or backpack waist belt. Although they're large enough for a phone, we wouldn't want to store one in them.

The pocket zippers and main zipper are all fully waterproof and sport small pull tabs to ease their operation. We believe these tabs are too short to easily grab them while wearing thick gloves. Of the five drawcords used to secure the hood and hem, we're fans of those on the hem and back of the hood. The pair positioned near the collar for tightening the hood, however, employ a counter-intuitive mechanism that's tricky to manipulate with gloves. The cord also uses a groove that you tuck it into to secure it in place, but this design did not prove to be reliable. Overall, features and design may be the primary performance area where you have to compromise to enjoy the cost savings of the Drypoint GTX.

The hood drawcord is secured by sliding it into this narrow groove...
The hood drawcord is secured by sliding it into this narrow groove. In our tests, this mechanism seemed tricky to use and unreliable.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Value


If you want to get outside in winter, you'll need a good shell, but the price of many models is prohibitive. Fortunately, this jacket checks in at well below half the cost of the most expensive hardshells. You still end up paying a considerable sum for an uninsulated 11-ounce jacket, but the savings are substantial. At full retail price, we think the Drypoint GTX is an exceptional value, and because it's sold by REI, there is also potential you can find it on sale for an even better bargain.

Conclusion


Staying warm and dry is paramount to have the most fun in the outdoors. To achieve that, you need quality, well-designed clothing that supplies reliable weather protection. The Drypoint GTX fits the bill. It provides weather protection, along with impressive breathability — in an astonishingly light package. The fact that it's also affordable is merely icing on the cake. For these reasons and more, it earns a Best Buy Award.

Jack Cramer