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Ethan Rambacher | 11.21.2019

GORE H5 Active GORE-TEX Hooded Jacket Specs

  • Weight: 9.5oz
  • Backpack-compatible
  • Engineered for Fast Hiking
  • Durably waterproof
  • Extremely breathable
  • Seam-free shoulders and sides
  • Front and rear hood drawcords
  • Full-length 2-way front zip with zipper garage and underflap

Where to buy it

$370 | GORE Wear

The bottom line: The GORE H5 Active Jacket is an expensive but very weatherproof, protective, and comfortable jacket for fast hiking in wet or harsh conditions, but not in winter.

The GORE H5 Active Jacket is a top-of-the-line hardshell rain jacket intended for speed hiking in wet conditions. At only 9.5 oz, it's not ultralight, but it's still very light and packs small. The fabric feels substantial and quite durable, and it will definitely hold up for several seasons. The build quality is fantastic - for instance, the seams are all taped and feel very sturdy, and show no signs of leaking. The thicker membrane fabric also gives the H5 Active incredible waterproofing performance. In rain and snow the jacket's fabric performs great, keeping you dry and sheltered from the wind; no surprise for a jacket from GORE.

The jacket has a number of little touches and features that make it a good choice. The hand pockets are well-placed to avoid interference with hipbelts and harnesses, and their zippers are large and easy to use. The main zipper is heavy but feels very high quality, and I've had no issues with leakage. As a bonus, the zipper is 2-way, meaning you can unzip from the bottom, a wonderful feature that is sadly missing on too many other jackets. One complaint with the zipper is that the upper overflap makes it difficult to zip up with the left hand, but while annoying, this is a problem I've gotten used to and no longer mind. Lastly, the well-placed soft felt flaps placed next to the mouth and nose (at the top of the zipper) are excellent, especially for cold weather.

Sadly, there are two aspects of this jacket that limit its efficacy in cold weather. The first is the sleeve cuffs, which are elastic with velcro. In warm weather this is ok - they are comfortable enough - but in winter, they are far too tight to fit over gloves. Having to remove my gloves to change layers in the winter is a dealbreaker for me. The second issue is the waist cinch elastic, which usually runs through the hem at the bottom of the jacket and helps keep out wind, rain, and snow. However, the H5 Active has an elastic cinch located roughly mid-back, with the pulls located in the hand pockets. This means that the bottom of the jacket does not seal closely to the body, allowing wind to sneak under your jacket even when the jacket is cinched.

For some, these two characteristics may be no big issue - indeed, for most warm-weather hikers, it probably doesn't matter at all. Truthfully, this jacket is not specifically designed for winter conditions. However, for a $370 jacket, especially such a well-built and durable jacket, it would be nice for it to be usable in winter conditions as well.

Overall, this jacket is a fantastic product, with outstanding build quality, high durability, and excellent weatherproofness, not to mention a stylish design. Although a few design choices make it inadequate in my opinion for winter use, it is an excellent (albeit expensive) choice for 3-season hiking, speed hiking, and running.


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