Gear review: Columbia Women’s Compounder Shell

This jacket offers the perfect fit


Some designers of technical jackets seem to believe your typical woman is of the freakish offspring of Gwyneth Paltrow and T.rex. Yes, women’s arms are shorter than men’s and their necks, longer—but that doesn’t mean sleeves should end at your elbows or that collars have to bunch under your chin. That’s why the Compounder shell is a relief, with sleeves that extend far enough that you can scrunch your fists into a ball and tuck them up into your sleeve, if you get chilly. And the snug, fleece-lined collar did double-duty as a cozy chin-guard the day I got caught in a downpour while out cycling, blocking the usual rivulets of rain that have been known to stream down my back when wearing baggier shells. This uber-light waterproof jacket can roll up into a sandwich-sized Ziploc so it’s also ideal for travelling. And if you’re heading into iffy weather, you’ll bless its waterproof features, from its Invizzip pockets to its Omni-Dry protection and seam-sealed construction. But be forewarned—this shell is meant solely for summer. It doesn’t have the beef of a heavier multi-season sister. (; $349.99)

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