Patagonia Quandary jacket

The NorthFace has a credo: “Rain Checks Not Accepted.”

It applies specifically to their line of rainwear, and it’s especially appropriate as we head into late fall and winter, a time in this part of the world when a cold rain can dampen not only your body but your spirit for adventure. After all, being wet and cold can take the luster off a good outing.

Fortunately, there’s no reason to take a rain check, not when there are so many ways to stay warm and dry outdoors, even in a steady winter rain. Better still, ways that don’t require a flood of cash.

Here are two of our favorites.

The North Face Allproof Stretch Jacket

The North Face Women’s Allproof Jacket

Here’s a typical scenario: you’re on a hike in the Piedmont. You start out in a drizzle, after a couple miles the sun pokes through. It’s dry for a couple miles, then the rain returns. On and off, on and off — it can be a fact of life on winter hikes. That’s when you’re especially glad you’ve got this lightweight jacket (9.35 ounces) that you can quickly shed and stash in your pack’s mesh accessory pouch. 

You’re glad for this jacket, too, on those longer aerobic hikes where you like to pick up the pace and get your heart-rate up. The Allproof employs TNF’s breathable DryVent™ 2L shell with mesh liner, which helps accommodate a fast pace on a cold day. Pick up the pace even more and you’ll be glad for the generous pit zips that let you quickly shed built-up heat. And the Allproof’s stretchiness becomes even more of a plus should you switch from hike to trail run mode. Your added arm action won’t be inhibited.

Need to retain your heat on a break? Elastic cuffs keep your body heat from making a run out your arms, and a cinch-cord around the waste seals off that escape route as well. And it comes with a hood (which stows away when you don’t need it). 

Worried about your map or trail snacks getting wet? Not when you keep them in two front pockets protected from the elements by secure-seal zippers.

Did we mention how lightweight and portable it is? 

A serious shell for anyone not interested in spending serious money.

$149. Learn more and reserve your Allproof by going here for the Men’s version, here for the women’s. 

The Patagonia Quandary Jacket 

Let’s say you’re already sold on hiking in the rain — in the Piedmont. After all, a little rain moves in; even if you do get a little wet and cold, you’re probably not much more than a couple miles from your car. Plus, it’s the Piedmont, so it’s likely not that cold. You may be uncomfortable for a short bit, but you’ll survive.

But what if you’re intrigued by doing some winter hiking at higher elevations? The temperatures are colder, the terrain more challenging (and thus, slower-going), you’re likely farther from the trailhead — and your car. In the mountains, the stakes are a little higher.

The Patagonia Quandary is the jacket for a wetter, more wintry experience. On the outside, you’ve got Patagonia’s H2No® Performance Standard 2-layer shell, which is 95 percent nylon and 5 percent stretchy spandex (and in keeping with Patagonia’s sustainability ethic, 65 percent of the nylon portion is from recycled fabric). Right there, you’ve got a double layer of protection from the elements. 

For added warmth, it’s got a polyester taffeta lining, which looks like something you’d be more likely to see inside a cozy parka of yore. It’s got a double-insulated hood (picture the Shackleton crew) that detaches when you aren’t facing Arctic conditions. Insulated pockets to keep your hands warm, a waterproof chest pocket to keep your phone dry, an internal chest pocket to stow additional gear round out the Quandary’s waterproof credentials.

Simply looking at the Quandary makes you feel warm and dry. Despite being up for dealing with elements (with the hood up, you’ll bear a faint resemblance to the Shackleton crew), the Quandary has a sleek appearance.   

If you’re up for some Appalachian adventure this winter, the Quandary is a good Choice.

$199. Learn more about the Patagonia Quandary Men’s jacket and reserve yours by going here, learn more about the women’s Quandary here.