The Outer-Layer Reaches the Outside World

Your outer-layer is the only one that has outside contact. It's purpose is to protect you from wind, rain, snow and get rid of body moisture that has been wicked away from your mid-layer .
It needs to be waterproof and breathable.

My recommendation is to really take your time when shopping and consider making a long term investment here. You do not want clothing to leak or trap your body heat inside.

Look for fabrics that have sealed and coated seams to prevent leaks and try to avoid seams that run along the shoulders and neckline. The zippers should be protected and there should be as few zippers as possible.

Gore-Tex is the best fabric for both waterproofness and breathability but it is very expensive.

Choose wisely when shopping for your outer-layer as the fabric really is the most important feature.

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