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Hardshell Jackets

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Hardshell jackets are a reliable companion for your outdoor adventures in rough weather conditions, such as hard rain and wind (waterproof). They offer a very robust construction while providing great freedom of movement and breathability.
Hardshell Jackets


Hardshell - an outdoor-must-have

The hardshell jacket is a true all-round talent among jackets. Whether you are traveling in the mountains or doing winter sports, a hardshell jacket protects you from rain, snow and strong wind. Compared to other jackets, the jacket is completely waterproof, windproof and yet breathable. Whatever you plan to do, we offer hardshell jackets from top brands such as Mountain Equipment, Ortovox and Salewa in different sizes, colors and variants, so that you too can enjoy all the benefits of the all-rounder.


THE HARDSHELL JACKET UNDER THE MAGNIFYING GLASS

Hardshell jackets are largely made of polyester and are characterized by their versatility. From this, we can already deduce that hardshell jackets are designed to withstand various weather conditions. They consist of two, two and a half or three layers and are by no means conventional rain jackets. Compared to rain jackets, hardshell jackets are made of materials that have water-proof properties, thus protecting the wearer from rain, snow and wind.


What is the difference between this and a softshell jacket?

Unlike hardshell jackets, softshell jackets are not waterproof, but merely water-repellent. This means that you can definitely get wet in heavy rain. Also, the jackets are made of lighter and more breathable materials, which makes them resistant to light rain and wind, but not to heavy rain or snow (storms). A softshell jacket is therefore designed more for milder weather conditions, whereas hardshell jackets are applicable for use in wind and weather.


When is a hardshell jacket worthwhile?

Hardshell jackets are most worthwhile in bad weather conditions such as heavy precipitation or snowfall. Whether you're hiking in the mountains or skiing in sub-zero temperatures, hardshell jackets perform best in adverse weather. Since the jacket is waterproof thanks to its intelligent material mix, it can easily withstand rain and snow and can optimally store heat due to its special texture. These jackets breathable, so they release perspiration to the outside in the form of water vapor.  


Different types of hardshell jackets

We take a look at the differences of hardshell jackets, because as a rule, they consist of two, two and a half or three layers. Each jacket has different areas of application. The hardshell is made of a top layer, a membrane or a PU coating (polyurethane coating) and an inner lining. In this case, the outermost layer of the jacket is made of polyester or polyamide, just like the inner layer, which is also made of polyamide.


Two-Layer Hardshell Jacket

In 2L hardshell jackets, which consist of two layers, the outer fabric of the jacket is laminated together with a membrane to form one layer. In addition, an inner lining is loosely sewn in. In some jackets, there is no membrane, but the top layer is covered with a PU coating. So the 2L only refers to the actual outer layer of the jacket. Two-layer jackets are great when you need reliable protection from varying weather, such as on a hike. 2L is "industry standard" - meaning it's likely that most so-called hardshell jackets have a 2-layer outer shell.


Two and a half Layer Hardshell Jacket

In a way, these jackets are a middle ground between two-layer and three-layer hardshell jackets. Here, too, the outer fabric is laminated together with a membrane. However, there is no inner lining in two-and-a-half-layer jackets; instead, a protective layer is applied directly to the laminated layer, which extends its lifespan. This makes the hardshell jacket a lightweight and space-saving alternative, and thanks to its reliable properties, it is suitable for trekking tours or cycling.


Three-Layer hardshell jacket

The jackets with three layers are similar in structure to the two-layer ones. Again, there is a top layer and a membrane, but in this version a lining is laminated along as the innermost layer. The third layer in a 3L construction is a protective layer that sandwiches the waterproof membrane between itself and the outer layer. This makes this version of the hardshell jacket extremely durable and resistant to extreme weather phenomena, while providing you with a large portion of comfort. Accordingly, these jackets are used, among other things, for winter sports.


What difference will you feel?

With a 3L hardshell jacket, the weight of the jacket increases, and it may feel stiffer and less malleable than the 2-layer jacket. Overall, however, the jacket is lighter because it is not insulated or lined - it is a single apparel layer (with 3 layers), but the fabric is heavier than on a 2L hardshell jacket.


A 2L jacket can vary from a lightly lined shell to a heavily insulated winter parka. So comparisons between the two aren't really useful.


So which is better, 2L or 3L?

2L hardshell jackets are the absolute standard, and they are great for everything! That's why they are so widely used and popular. 3L hardshell jackets, on the other hand, have a more "technical" scope and are often preferred by those who need maximum support.


They don't provide much warmth (as there is no insulation or lining) and need to be combined with other layers, meaning a good insulating jacket is "mandatory" in cold conditions here, to supplement the needed warmth. When touring in the backcountry, 3L hardshell jackets are often used, as here the clothing layers of hardshell jacket, insulation jacket, fleece jacket and vest can be interchanged at will, depending on the effort and weather conditions.


What kind of membranes are there?

Membrane? If you only understand Latin now, you're right, the Latin word membrana means "little skin". A membrane is something like a separating layer, a thin layer that is incorporated into hardshell jackets to make them wind- and waterproof in the first place.


• Gore-Tex: In a way, the absolute classic among membranes and it is chosen by many manufacturers. Gore-Tex is made of ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene) and thus has a special microporous structure. This means that the membrane is particularly impermeable to water, but water vapor can easily be transported away through the membrane.


 Dermizax: This membrane is made of polyurethane. The hydrophilic material has many small molecules that soak up water and transport the water vapor away.


• Sympatex: The Sympatex membrane consists of two different components. On the one hand it consists of a hydrophobic polyester, on the other hand of a hydrophilic polyether. This combination of materials prevents water from penetrating from the outside and at the same time allows the polyether to transport the water vapor outside of your jacket, keeping you dry.


Whether Gore-Tex, Dermizax or Sympatex - what all membranes have in common is that they protect you from moisture. At the same time, they transport away the water molecules that collect in your jacket due to perspiration, and thanks to membranes you don't have to wear a damp jacket during sports.


What should you look for when buying a hardshell jacket?

Use

You want to be prepared against wind and weather, and conventional rain jackets are not enough for that? Then you should consider adding a hardshell jacket to your closet.

Depending on the area of application, however, you should distinguish which jacket is suitable for you. For a half-day hiking tour, a two-layer hardshell jacket is probably perfectly adequate. In comparison, you will probably need a two-and-a-half to three-layer hardshell jacket for a trekking tour or skiing. So you should think carefully beforehand about which outdoor adventures you want to take your hardshell jacket to.


Zippers & Pit-Zip

As with soft and hardshell jackets, zippers are differentiated between waterproof and water-repellent. Waterproof zippers easily withstand the elements and reliably protect you or what you have safely stowed in your pockets from getting wet.


For better underarm ventilation, some hardshell jackets also have so-called pit zips. These are zippers under the armpits. These can help regulate body temperature and help you to quickly let the water vapor in your jacket escape to the outside.


Chin Protector & Hoods

Some jackets provide additional comfort by covering the top of the zipper. This chin guard prevents uncomfortable rubbing of the skin over the closure.


In addition, most jackets have a hood. This is especially important for jackets that need to withstand rain, wind and snow. Especially if you do a sport that requires a helmet, it should definitely fit under the hood. Therefore, if necessary, make sure that the hood is individually adjustable. Some hoods can even be adjusted with one hand, this facilitates your tour in the backcountry immensely, because you can stay in motion while adjusting and also your gloves can stay in place - annoying dressing and undressing is eliminated.


Furthermore, hoods that are firmly attached to the hardshell jacket are warmer and withstand weather better. Removable hoods, on the other hand, offer the possibility of removing them in good weather and thus give you more freedom of movement and ventilation.


Color & Size

Should you choose a hardshell jacket, you should be aware that the bright colors of the jacket should by no means just look good. The color of your jacket can additionally contribute to your protection. The bright colors will help you to be found quickly by the emergency services in case of an emergency.


Finally, you should make sure that you buy your hardshell jacket in the right size and fit. Ideally, hardshell jackets should be worn in the onion principle, which means that several layers of clothing are worn under the jacket to ensure optimal protection against cold and moisture. Therefore, choose a jacket that is not too tight, so you can wear enough clothing underneath.


Always well-equipped with hardshell jackets from sport conrad!

If you are interested in a hardshell jacket, then you have come to the right place. We offer you jackets in high quality. Functionality, comfort and also the topic of sustainability is very important to us. We have products from various brands like Elevenate, Dynafit, Maloja and Patagonia in our store. Whether the hardshell jacket should be for men, women or children, it does not matter, we offer you a wide range with a large selection of items. Size, color and fabric you can choose freely according to your taste. Have fun browsing and arm yourself with the right hardshell jacket for your next adventure in nature!