The REI Co-op Stormrealm is a lightweight, breathable hardshell jacket well suited to milder climates and infrequent use. It is not the most durable, but it will provide adequate weather protection for summer mountaineering trips and year-round hiking. This is an exceptional hardshell for someone who needs one sometimes but isn't going to use it all the time.
REI Co-op Stormrealm - Women's Review
Cons: Less durable, not best for severe weather
Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Stormrealm is an impressive and lightweight hardshell jacket. It performed consistently above average in our tests but wasn't strong enough to outcompete some of the top contenders in this review.
The DVAlpine eVent 3-layer nylon ripstop fabric in the REI Stormrealm is light and breathable but doesn't inspire as much confidence in extreme mountain weather. In extended downpours in the Pacific Northwest, we still find that nothing quite competes with Gore-Tex products for weatherproofness.
The eVent fabric may be a little less burly, but it is very supple and lightweight, offering improved mobility in a typically plasticky and stiff category of jacket. We liked the use of raglan sleeves to improve arm mobility. And the hood adjusts well, with and without a helmet, so it stays with you when you turn your head.
The DVAlpine eVent 3-layer nylon ripstop excels at breathability, which might make up for the fact that it is slightly less burly than Gore-Tex Pro fabric, depending on your needs, uses, and climate. This jacket also features pit zips, two of them, which open at either end of the zippered segment under your arm. This is still a relatively rare feature, but we loved it. It means you can unzip a small hole on your arm and torso, and create a draft which more efficiently wicks moisture from your body and out of the jacket. It also allows you to minimize the size of the hole you need to unzip to dump that excess heat.
At 9 ounces, this is a reasonably lightweight hardshell jacket. It is middle of the road for this review, but perhaps on the heavy side, given the Arc'teryx Alpha SV, one of the burliest jackets we've ever tested, is just one ounce heavier. For the lightest jacket in this review, scope out the inspiring Arc'teryx Beta SL.
The Stormrealm has an excellent collection of features: not too many, and they're simple enough to be light, but enough to add value.
The hood has three adjustable points: the waist hem has two, which are pretty standard and very useful.
The pit zips unzip from either end rather than being joined in one spot—we loved this for dual venting options per arm (see Breathability above).
The cuffs have a simple velcro adjustment system, and the two hand pockets are placed high enough to rise above your harness, but they are not waterproof. We love the internal zippered chest pocket. Have we mentioned chest pockets are our favorite feature?
And our favorite: the chin patch is made of ultra-soft microfleece—some of the softest in this review.
The DVAlpine eVent 3-layer nylon ripstop will hold up well to potentially catastrophic tears, which is arguably a big and important safety feature in a hardshell jacket. This fabric is not as good against abrasion, however, and can degrade after a lot of miles rubbing under backpack straps.
For an inspiring combination of light weight and durability, check out the award-winning Norrona Trollveggen.
The Stormrealm is an excellent if basic, hardshell. It is versatile enough for most mountain use, but less optimized for more technical or higher consequence adventures. We liked this one for hiking, biking, and general mountaineering, but not as much for technical alpine climbing.
The Stormrealm is a great model for moderate use and is well designed for hiking and light mountaineering. This is a fully featured hardshell that would be an excellent choice for someone's first hardshell jacket. It is much less of an investment than the rest of the jackets in this review, so if you're not sure you'll use it a lot, but you have to have a legit hardshell for an upcoming trip, this will serve you well.
This model from REI is a great value if you're not going to be an avid user, or if you just need a hardshell for a few trips in a year. At that rate, it'll last a long time. This is also a good hardshell for summer mountaineers who want something light and cheap and don't think they will take it out of their backpack on most of their trips.
The REI Stormrealm is a very affordable hardshell. It's also one that makes a great first hardshell for someone just getting into hiking or summer mountaineering, and it is not the most durable or stormproof in this review.
— Lyra Pierotti