The Drypoint GTX from REI is a force to be reckoned with; it quickly became one of our favorite, go-to hardshells for just about any activity. It is lightweight and supple, and highly breathable, making it comfortable for a day around town or a high-intensity tour in the mountains. The Drypoint also kept water and snow out and blocked wind well also. It is so lightweight and simple that it felt like little more than a wind shirt when we wore it. REI chose brilliant fabrics and a sensible, simple feature set to make the Drypoint an obvious award winner.
Pictured above is an updated color choice for this Best Buy winning hardshell. Aside from colors, there have been no revisions to the jacket since our testing.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Drypoint GTX jacket from REI is an impressive, lightweight, breathable 3-layer Gore-Tex Active shell for a great price.
The Drypoint GTX is an excellent, weatherproof shell. It is made of Gore-Tex Active fabric, the lightest of their three-layer hardshell fabrics. This makes it the lightest weight, backcountry-ready fabric for rugged, everyday outdoor use.
Most hardshell fabrics do pretty well at keeping the weather out. But there are a number of features and design flaws that can compromise an otherwise excellent option. A pocket or pit zip is, for example, technically a hole that needs patching. REI uses waterproof zippers for the hand pockets and front zipper which managed to keep the water out. The hood is also helmet-compatible so that you can seal yourself in even on technical climbs or ski descents.
If you're looking for the burliest, most weatherproof, expedition-ready jackets in this review, check out the Mammut Nordwand Pro HS or the Arc'teryx Alpha SV. These are some of the priciest jackets sold.
The Drypoint is a very comfortable jacket that allows excellent range of motion. The lightweight and supple fabric is mostly responsible for this, but it is also important to note that the jacket has few features to make it feel stiffer or more cumbersome. There are only two hand pockets and no pit zips. This means you are mostly surrounded by the supple Gore-Tex Active fabric and not by stiff zippers.
Similar lightweight jackets in this review had the same feel, notably the Arc'teryx Beta SL and Beta SL Hybrid. We also appreciated the range of motion and lightweight, supple fabric of the Norrona Trollveggen.
Gore-Tex Active is some of the lightest and most breathable 3-layer waterproof fabric. When we want a burly, mountain-ready hardshell, we are typically looking at three layer jackets (2 or 2.5 layer jackets are usually considered rain shells). The Drypoint does not have pit zips, but the high hand pockets do have a mesh interior to help shed heat when you're working hard—though, in the driving rain, you probably don't want to open the front pockets for ventilation.
Otherwise, the fabric is lightweight and highly breathable—totally adequate for the weather and activity levels in which we tested this jacket (good for hiking but not running).
One of our favorite models for breathability is the Arc'teryx Beta SL Hybrid. We loved the original Beta SL until they released the Hybrid with a little more durability and pit zips.
The Drypoint is an impressively lightweight 3-layer hardshell jacket; this is largely due to the use of Gore-Tex Active fabric. However, REI also thought carefully about the features they wanted to include. There are only two hand pockets which double as vents with the mesh interior, and the adjustable hood and bottom hem feature lightweight toggles. The Drypoint feels lightweight on your shoulders and adds little weight to your pack; we're a huge fan of this jacket.
The Drypoint is a streamlined and simple hardshell. To save weight and improve comfort, REI didn't include a lot of extra pockets or zippers, and this suits the character of the jacket very well. The hood and hem adjust easily to seal out the elements. The hood has a stiffer brim that blocks raindrops from hitting your eyes in a driving rain. And that's about it—simple, smart, useful, affordable.
We appreciated that REI placed the two hand pockets high so you can access them, even if you're wearing a backpack hip belt or harness. And these double as core vents in a pinch with mesh lining. This is not our favorite way of venting in driving rain, as you can get pretty wet with vents that face forward; however, these are great for those times you're pushing hard, and the precip has slowed, but you can't pause to shed the jacket just yet.
For a plethora of features, check out the amazing Mammut Nordwand Pro HS, which is an excellent hardshell for expeditions and technical alpinism of the most extreme variety.
The Drypoint is such a simple jacket that there is little to fail other than the fabric itself. Admittedly, the fabric is fairly thin and lightweight, but it is still fairly durable 20 denier ripstop nylon.
For the burliest, most durable jackets in this review, you will want to look toward the expedition shell jackets such as the Arc'teryx Alpha SV or the Mammut Nordwand. But here we can make a plug for some of our heavier shells that didn't score very well overall but would be great for in-bounds skiing, the Outdoor Research Skyward and the very stylish and comfortable FlyLow Vixen.
The Drypoint is an impressively versatile model. It is lightweight enough to earn a spot in your backpack on fast-and-light missions, but burly enough for most year-round mountaineering and mid-elevation alpine climbing. It does especially well in high output aerobic activities where light weight, comfort, and breathability are a priority.
The Drypoint is best suited to fast and light missions where pack weight is critical, and breathability is a priority. This hardshell is light enough you might even consider leaving your wind shirt at home (might) if you're really trimming ounces. This is a lightweight specialist, but it still is burly enough for general mountain use and most adventures—minus the most extreme polar and high elevation expeditions.
This is an impressive jacket for the price. It is highly versatile and costs little to your backpack weight and your pocketbook. Nice work, REI.
The Drypoint GTX from REI is an awesome waterproof jacket for the weight—and the price. It is one of the lighter jackets in this review and boasts some of the best materials for its purpose with the use of three-layer Gore-Tex Active fabric. The Drypoint is minimal on features, yet thoughtful. The high hand pockets are accessible when wearing a harness and double as vents with their mesh lining. There are hood and hem adjustment toggles to seal out the weather and an excellent if subtle, brim on the hood to keep raindrops and snowflakes out of your eyes. We were thoroughly impressed with this hardshell jacket from REI.
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