by Diane Spicer
This Hiking For Her GORE hiking jacket review introduces both of us to some pretty amazing technology called Shakedry.
If you're looking for fully waterproof women's hiking clothing, keep reading!
Let's get the disclosures out of the way first.
HFH and GOREWEAR are not affiliated in any way.
HFH received the jacket free of charge in exchange for an unpaid, fair review.
All comments, photos with the Hiking For Her logo, and opinions freely belong to HFH.
If you purchase GOREWEAR through the Amazon affiliate links on this website, HFH receives a small percentage of the price without costing you anything extra.
Now let's get to the nitty gritty!
GORE® H5 GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY™
At first glance, notice the generous zippers on chest and pockets, the fitted long sleeves, and the adjustable neck with hood.
The longer length, with tapered backside, is also a great feature when you're wearing a backpack with a hip belt!
Two color choices, black (seen in this review) and Pacific blue
Now let's dig into some amazing specifications for this shell!
When you choose the best hiking jacket for your hiking style, you're mainly focused on two things: fit, and performance.
To consider a jacket properly fitted to the peculiarities of female anatomy, pay attention to the generosity (or not) of the underarm and chest areas.
The full length front zipper on this Shakedry jacket provides a close fit, with not a lot of extra room (see sizing note below).
If you have generous curves, read the sizing notes below.
But please realize that the close fit is by design.
The jacket dips down to cover your entire waistline as well as your buttocks, making it a good pairing with your backpack to prevent chafing.
And in case you don't know, GOREWEAR clothing is marketed to cyclists, who definitely abhor wind drag and seek out the streamlined fit.
TIP: Look in the "cycling" area of your favorite outdoor gear store for this brand.
And don't bat an eye when you wear it for hiking. We can share the trail with the trail riders, right?
The performance is going to be a huge leap forward from your current rain gear in terms of staying dry.
The "permanently beading" feature is a different approach to keeping water off your skin.
Instead of using DWR (durable water repellent) coating on the outer fabric, this jacket takes the approach of eliminating the outer fabric face altogether.
It relies upon the outer membrane to serve as the water barrier.
What this means on the trail is something really wonderful: this jacket will remain permanently waterproof, because there is no DWR finish to wear off and create the dreaded phenomenon called "wetting out".
Putting the good fit and high performance together, you've got yourself a top candidate for your best rain jacket ever.
Add in the other features like feather weight, extremely small footprint, a hood and taped seams, and I think WOW would be the right word.
Seriously, that's exactly what this jacket is designed for.
So take a hint from your canine hiking companions and just shake off the raindrops and keep going.
And give the jacket a good shake before you throw it on your backpack as you head home from the trailhead.
Pulling on this super lightweight, thin shell jacket was like having a second skin between me and the weather.
The absence of shoulder seams meant I couldn't feel the jacket underneath my backpack straps.
Loved the cinching versatility at both waist and neckline!
There are soft fabric guards at the back of the neck and near the neckline to pad and protect your skin.
And what's not to love about how small this jacket packs down when you don't need it?
One last thought: it's so lightweight that you might not even call it a jacket: seriously low on weight for all of the technical, full coverage features!
Every outdoor clothing brand has a little different interpretation of sizes for women hikers.
GOREWEAR tends to run small, and they tell you this right up front.
As a female hiker, I know that layering my clothing will be important for my safety as well as my comfort on a cool weather hike.
So I always go up a size when I'm ordering outerwear, to accommodate my layering system.
This jacket truly runs small! That's by design (see above), to create a sleek silhouette to minimize your contact with wind and water on a rainy day hike.
I strongly advise you to go up a size with this jacket even if you like form fitting hiking clothing, and perhaps go up two sizes if you love to wear both a base layer and midlayer.
Concerned about the sleeve length being excessive if you go up a size?
Hiking For Her gives you the details in a hiking gear review, warts and all.
This jacket was pretty wart free, but there are a few things to note from a hiker's perspective.
It's a bit noisy and crinkly, as all rain gear can be as the fabric conforms to your movements.
You don't want to trash this jacket by subjecting it to contact with extremely abrasive or sharp surfaces.
Hikers look for armpit vents (pit zips) on a jacket for ventilation and comfort.
Can this waterproof, windproof jacket made of impermeable membrane really have a high degree of breathability?
That's an important question for any hiker or trail runner working up a sweat on a rainy day.
Having received the jacket in August, the driest month of the year in the Pacific NW where I do most of my hiking, I don't have an answer for you in this GORE hiking jacket review - yet.
I'll report back here once the rainy season commences, with all the details on what it's like to wear this jacket on an uphill, wet, muddy hike.
I promise to sweat a lot ;)
If you've been around the hiking world for awhile, you already know that quality costs money.
With every purchase you're paying for not only materials, but the technology and design behind the product.
This is true for any sport where technical gear gives you an edge.
So to be able to carry a jacket this lightweight, and to simply shake off the raindrops and stay dry inside of it as you wear it, requires a cash investment.
That's a lot of money, but it gives you a lot in return, as I hope I've detailed in this GORE hiking jacket review.
And if you add up the cost of a windproof shell for dry weather and a rain jacket for wet weather, owning one jacket like this to do double duty makes sense (especially in the ultralight hiking world).
If you're a beginner hiker who is slowly increasing mileage and time on the trail, you don't need this jacket.
Anyone who has faced the misery of wet trails, especially in cool temperatures, year after year, will appreciate the technical features of this jacket.
Any ultralight hiker or trail runner will be fascinated with this jacket, part of the GOREWEAR fast hiking line.
The longer you hike, the more you'll come to appreciate fully waterproof rain gear.
This jacket is going to keep you as dry as possible, with enough breathability to prevent a rainstorm inside of it (a statement which will be tested thoroughly in the months to come).
Although there is no perfect solution to rainy day hiking comfort, this jacket is engineered to keep you happy as well as dry.
As a result, you'll stay warmer and remain in a better frame of mind for navigation, route finding, or critical decisions about which hiking snack to eat next.
And yes, it's a long term investment piece!
Or put it on your hiking gift wish list. Wishes do come true for women hikers who know how to ask for the best hiking gear!
Read another Hiking For Her review of GOREWEAR women's hiking pants, socks and a neckwarmer here.
GORE Hiking Jacket Review: Shakedry Waterproof Technology