Designed By Adventure: The Linchpin Jacket

There’s no doubt that the trend in outerwear is doing more with less. The Holy Grail seems to be creating a shell that you put on in the morning and take off at the end of the day, never wanting more or less all day long. Hard shells can overheat you and soft shells can come up short in wet conditions, so that space in the middle seems to be the sweet spot for a jacket to hit.

While all the variables—such as your activity, exertion level, metabolism, priorities and the weather—may preclude that one jacket from ever becoming a reality, the Linchpin comes awfully close to filling that performance gap between a hard shell and a soft shell.

“The Linchpin really is a quiver of one,” says the jacket’s designer, Melanie Sirirot. “It’s the jacket you can wear around town, on the mountain and across a huge range of conditions.”

Constructed entirely of Gore’s incredibly versatile Windstopper, the Linchpin offers a uniquely high level of both weather resistance and breathable comfort. The fabric itself easily sheds rain and snow, but combines an extremely high level of vapor permeability with untaped seams to keep you cozy inside as well. 

“It’s definitely not waterproof, but it’s ideal in a light rain, wet snow, high winds, or those day trips where the forecast is a total mixed bag,” says Sirirot.

For high exertion, Torso-Flo side vents run from hem to bicep, allowing you to dump excess heat fast. Bottom-separating zippers add to the Linchpin’s adaptability, letting you wear your pack waistbelt under the front of the jacket for amazing airflow when you need it most.

Added comfort and that light touch of soft shell-level insulation is delivered by an awesomely soft and durable polyester face fabric. There’s also a brushed lining that feels great next to skin, meaning there’s no limitation on how you can layer with the Linchpin.  

There’s no shortage of creature comforts with the Linchpin, either. You can hunker down with the adjustable, wire-brimmed Halo Hood, and let the stand-up collar seal out the cold with its cozy brushed backing. Similarly, the wrists feature molded cuff tabs and hook-and-loop closures that work with gloved hands and the waist has a drawcorded hem with added coverage in the back.

Emilie Drinkwater, of Cloud Splitter Guides in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, gives big props to the Linchpin for keeping her comfortable through a wide range of conditions and activities, including ice and alpine climbing, as well as ski touring.

“I remember using the Linchpin while skinning into a remote backcountry ice climb on a late winter day last year,” says Drinkwater. “When we arrived, the climb was still hidden in the shadows, but by the time I reached the top, the entire thing was dripping and the wind had picked up. True to its description, the Linchpin handled the frigid approach, battled the wind and kept me warm and dry; I ended up wearing it car to car.”

So if that cycle of unpredictable weather is in your future, do yourself a favor and check out this true (as it gets) quiver of one shell. Whether it’s around town or in the mountains, it’s hard to be unprepared with the Linchpin.