Let the Outdoor Retailer reports continue flowing. This time the topic is jackets of all shapes and sizes. These are each new twists on tried-and-true designs that stood out just enough to make the shortlist. No doubt I missed a few other cool designs, but these stood out.

The North Face Prestige Jacket

The North Face continues their dominance in the jacket market for Fall 2010 by adding several new styles. I highlighted the new Kishtwar Polartec Powershield Pro jacket earlier, but now its the Prestige jacket that’s getting a little love. Built from the new Hyvent Alpha fabric for improved performance, the Prestige jacket has other great features as well.

Take the high ninja zip collar with built-in vents, for example. Zip that collar up and you’ve got as much face protection as a balaklava (well… mostly). Zippers are waterproof and the huge front pockets have pleats to easily store large items like a water bottle or climbing skins. It also sports stretchy sleeve cuffs with monkey thumb loops covered by asymmetrical sleeves. This North Face jacket is highly-technical and tips the scales at 24 oz. All this won’t come cheap though as the pricetag will be $379.

Sierra Designs Solar Fusion Jacket

A high-quality, technical hardshell meets strategically-mapped down (or synthetic with the Prima Fusion Jacket) insulation that’s been placed in just the right spots of the shell for proper insulation. We’ve all seen down jackets, but this one claims to use the fluff in just the right spots specifically for both men and women. This results in lower weight, reduced bulk and increased mobility.

The outer shell is a fused hardshell for solid weather protection. The down-insulated Sierra Designs Solar Fusion Jacket will carry a $329 pricetag with a synthetic version coming in at $289.

Merrell Guise Jacket

The traveler’s friend… the new Merrell Guise Jacket stuffs its Primaloft Eco synthetic insulation (warm and packable) into a pocket that doubles as a pillow. But not just any pillow… a travel pillow. You know, the ones you see the guys in First Class using to sleep as coach passengers are herded on by. Now you can live like a First Class passenger anytime you want.

This hooded jacket is easily stuffed into its travel pillow storage for extra comfort on an airplane, train or in the backcountry. The exterior is 100% polyester microfiber with DWR treatment. Merrell will launch this patent-pending design in the Fall with a killer $129 pricepoint.

Outdoor Research Access Jacket

Aiming at a new market for Outdoor Research, the Access Jacket targets sidecountry skiers or athletic skiers who need durable protection but want a breathable and functional jacket. You can wear this with a pack and as opposed to pit zips, the cross-vents continue to provide airflow. The outer shell is Gore-Tex for the ultimate in weather protection. It also includes featherweight Enduraloft insulation.

For added safety, it comes equipped with a RECCO device and a stow-away balaclava for unforeseen inclement weather. All this in a $365 package.

Patagonia Untracked Jacket

It’s a softshell… no, it’s a hardshell. Actually, it’s both. Using the best of both fabrics, this glued-seam jacket is built to tackle Winter backcountry adventures without bogging you down. Using Patagonia’s h2No fabric, the Untracked jacket uses hardshell fabric on the hood, shoulders and cuffs with softshell everywhere else. The result is increased freedom-of-movement and breathability. It includes an attached powderskirt with loops to attach Patagonia pants for improved weather protection.

Fit is standard-cut and this jacket will set you back $349 when it hits the market this Fall.

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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