Springtime Shells to Maximize Protection

Select a jacket that’ll have you ready to take on any variable spring riding throws your way.

Model: Crowley jacket.
Maker: Carhartt.
Why buy: It’s water-repellent, wind-resistant, and made of four-way-stretchable fabric to keep you protected in springtime’s wet, cold weather.
Cool features: Available in his-and-hers variations with custom adjustment at the hood (available with or without), bottom hem, and cuffs.
More info: (800) 833-3118; carhartt.com.
Price: Price varies by gender and size, starting from $119.99.

Model: Under Armour girls’ popover rain shell.
Maker: SmartPak.
Why buy: The lightweight woven fabric is durable and breathable, helping you withstand rainy days in the barn or on a ride.
Cool features: The fashionable color scheme and easy storage (simply crumple it into the front pocket) is a convenient choice for young riders.
More info: (888) 339-9695; smartpakequine.com.
Price: $49.95

Model: Split-tail rain jacket.
Maker: Kerrits.
Why buy: Lightweight, waterproof, and breathable, the jacket also has long tails that provide additional protection and are easily tied up by the attached magnets.
Cool feature: The feminine-fit shell is available in three colors: sunset, peacock, and black.
More info: (800) 274-7946; kerrits.com.
Price: $109

Model: All-around jacket.
Maker: Noble Outfitters.
Why buy: The poly-spandex-blend soft-shell jacket offers durability, waterproofing, and stretch; the brushed lining provides warmth.
Cool features: Both gender variations are available in black, with options in bronze for him or blue for her.
More info: (209) 566-7800; nobleoutfitters.com.
Price: $109.99

Purchasing a springtime jacket can be a little more complex than grabbing your favorite-colored shell off the rack. Do you need something breathable, waterproof, insulated, or maybe hybrid? Here are tips that’ll help you choose your best jacket based on the factors that apply most to your needs.

Waterproof, breathable: These fabrics repel moisture in excess of a sprinkle or dry snow. Breathability is high so you’ll stay dry if you start to sweat. Though it typically comes at a higher price point, this type of fabric might be worth the investment if you can use it as an outer layer in other riding seasons.

Water-resistant, breathable: Ideal for dryer climes, this design wicks light precipitation and is usually less costly than a fully waterproof jacket. High breathability means you’ll stay cool and dry, but at the expense of insulation, so this option might not be an appropriate fit for chillier areas.

Soft shell (hybrid waterproof, non-breathable): This style has little to no breathability, which means it’ll insulate you in cold temperatures. Unlike the hard shell, it’s flexible so works well as a work and riding jacket. You’ll stay warm and dry in cold, damp spring weather.

Hard shell (waterproof, non-breathable): It’s waterproof so you’ll stay dry in even the wettest conditions. It doesn’t breathe, keeping body heat fully sealed. It’s best purchased in a larger size to vent out body heat and accommodate layers.

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