This stylish, showerproof jacket will keep you dry walking around town in a drizzle, but isn’t waterproof or light enough to be a serious contender for hiking
Adjustable hood, cuffs and and hems
Two zipped pockets
(Mostly) taped seams
Waterproofing fails in steady rain
Pocket seams aren’t taped
Peaked hood too small to protect face
Not the most packable
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H&M StormMove 3-Layer Shell Jacket: first impressions
It was only a matter of time before the fashion giant H&M moved into the outdoor space, and while we were excited at the prospect of an affordable outdoor line, this waterproof jacket left us wanting more, and a bit wet if we’re being honest. The 3-layer shell certainly looks the part, with taped seams, roomy pockets and a stylish cut, but only a few minutes on a hill in moderate rain to reveal some crucial flaws.
Though very light rain beads on the surface of this jacket, anything heavier and it instantly goes dark as the outer fabric absorbs – rather than repels – the water. In less than two hours of walking in moderate rain, the jacket generally begins to wet out, which is worsened by the fact that they didn’t tape the seams of the pockets. Both the chin guard and sleeves aren’t bonded to the waterproof membrane, so your hands and face get wet quickly too.
• List price: $199 / £139.99
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s sizing available
• Sizes: XS - XXL
• Weight: 460g / 16.2 oz
• Materials: 69% Recycled polyester, 14% Recycled polyamide
• Colors: Black, Turquoise, Grey, Khaki green, Light blue
• Best use: Wearing around town
The adjustable hood and hem do help somewhat with weather protection, though the hood would be better served by a bigger peak, and the zipped pockets are roomy enough to carry your gloves and phone, but none of it makes up for the lack of protection on offer. Though it’s as stylish as you’d expect from H&M, the fabric is too stiff and a bit heavy to be reasonably stuffed in a daypack in case it rains. Save this jacket for urban use only.
H&M StormMove 3-Layer Shell Jacket: in the field
Like many of you, I’ve been familiar with H&M as an affordable fashion brand for decades and also like you, I associate the brand with low budget fast fashion pieces that look great off the rack, but don’t hold up to a lot of wear and tear.
That said, when I heard they were venturing into the outdoors sphere with their StormMove waterproof breathable fabric and a line featuring waterproof, running and ski gear, I was intrigued rather than skeptical. After all, few brands have the ability to reach so many people, and if they can provide quality outdoor gear at more economical prices, it would remove a barrier to getting outdoors that exists for many.
So, I agreed to test the H&M StormMove 3-Layer Shell Jacket which I first wore on a rainy hike near Glasgow and more recently on a family walking holiday on the west coast of Scotland.
Here’s how it performed:
Waterproofing and breathability
Since this is the most important factor in a waterproof jacket, I’m going to start here and report that, sadly, this jacket doesn’t hold up against wet weather conditions on a hike. I first wore it on a sub-two hour 10k hike I often do that’s just at the beginning of the Highlands. It wasn’t pouring, but as I ascended there was moderate rain that was blowing in gusts across the hillsides. No problem, I just zipped up my jacket and pulled on my rain pants.
Well my legs stayed dry, but straight away, I noticed something a bit worrying – instead of staying light gray and forming beads of water, my jacket was turning dark gray, which would suggest the material is absorbent, not repellent. As my boyfriend commented, "if it's a light gray jacket that turns dark gray in the rain, it's probably not a waterproof jacket."
As I went on, I began to suspect I was wet on the inside. Luckily, it wasn’t cold out so I wasn’t suffering, but when I got back to the car and took my jacket off, it was definitely wet inside and it wasn’t totally clear to me straight away whether it was coming in through the seams or the fabric, since most of the inner seemed to be wet.
I inquired as to whether this was a known problem, and to their credit H&M asked if they could send me another jacket to test, which I agreed to. Last week, I was on a walking holiday in Dumfries and Galloway and we had a good bit of rain, so I decided to sport my jacket outside. I wasn’t out for very long this time, and wasn’t up high, but I still noticed that this jacket immediately turned dark when wet, and I think if I was willing to go out for two hours in it again, it would likely wet out.
When I came inside to inspect the jacket, I noticed that they hadn't taped the zips in the two front pockets, which are mesh on the inside so I was getting wet on the front of my torso. My face, neck and hands also got pretty wet since those areas aren’t bonded to the waterproof membrane and the peaked hood isn’t big enough.
I have worn this jacket around town a few times when there’s a passing shower, and it is fine for that type of use with light rain beading on the fabric, but for even a moderate rain and when you’re up high and in the wind, you’re going to get wet quickly wearing this jacket.
On the upside, the hood stays up in the wind and because I wore it on a pretty mild day, I can say that it’s pretty breathable even when I was climbing up a steep slope, and the pit zips help with that.
Sizing and fit
This jacket fits true to size, but the style is to be a little more urban baggy, which means if you want a snugger fit you might want to go down a size. I originally tested a small, which was a little loose, while my second test was an XS and that is more streamlined but I can still wear it over two layers.
Weight and packability
Another area where this jacket falls short for hiking is that it is relatively heavy and the fabric is quite stiff, so it’s not really a jacket I’d carry in my backpack in case of a shower. This is often the case with three-layer shell jackets, compared to waterproof jackets, and this isn’t even the heaviest I’ve tested, but I’d always be more likely to pack a smaller and lighter jacket than this one.
Comfort and storage
There’s nothing uncomfortable about this jacket, and the chin guard is soft. Storage involves two deep zippered hand pockets which are big enough for my gear and in the right place so I can open them when I’m wearing my backpack. A Napoleon pocket wouldn’t go amiss, but as an outer layer I think this delivers ample storage.
This jacket is definitely cheaper than most coming out of the top outdoors brands, but it’s not so substantially cheaper that I’d be willing to sacrifice wet weather protection. Several family members commented on how much they liked the look of it, but when I told them the price they decided they didn’t like it that much – most of us are accustomed to H&M being cheap, so when it’s less than cheap, you’d probably expect higher quality and I’m not convinced this jacket delivers that.
H&M StormMove 3-Layer Shell Jacket: the bottom line
If you’re looking for a reasonably affordable and stylish jacket that can serve as a daily, about-town layer that keeps the occasional shower off, this jacket will live up to your expectations. However, if you’re seeking a waterproof jacket for hiking, where protecting yourself against the elements can be a matter of life and death, you’d be better off spending just a little more for the guaranteed shelter of a jacket like the Montane Spirit.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.