Hard shells have thankfully come a long way since the crinkly, sweaty versions of yesteryear. Black Diamond has a great example of how nice they can be with the StormLine stretch rain shell jacket.
The StormLine pulls off quite a trick: it qualifies as a minimalist shell with its ultralight weight (8oz), but it doesn't cut features: helmet compatible adjustable hood, rip and stick cuffs, pit zips, zipper chin guard, and adjustable hem are all there. The only thing that's really missing is a chest pocket, but you get the two hand pockets with zippers.
That's the tick list, but you have to wear the StormLine to really feel how great it is. The combination of stretch and a really great cut make it feel like a second skin, you just don't notice it's there. Until the deluge of course, at which point you'll appreciate the water- and windproof fabric. If you're working hard while wearing the StormLine you'll really fall in love with the breathability; even the most prolific sweathogs among you – and we know you're out there! – can always vent the pits if it comes to that.
We'd love to see a version of this with a two-way zipper and chest pockets for belay duty, but don't let that stop you; the StormLine is a quiver of one when it comes to staying dry while working hard in nasty weather. It also doesn't hurt that it travels extremely well, so it's always there when you need it. The women's colors are particularly attractive, so if you're looking for a mother's day gift… we're just sayin', it's a stone cold bargain to boot.