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We test Ortovox's innovative Guardian Shell ski jacket, complete with 100% virgin merino wool lining.

ortovox guardian shell jacket
Overall Score
Merino wool lining, comfortable and warm
Need a bank loan to buy it

The Ortovox Guardian Shell jacket is a 3-layer ski jacket with a merino wool lining and Ortovox's usual no-expense-spared design ethos.

The 90 g/m2 Merino inner is supremely comfortable and helps make the jacket warm to wear as well as doing a good job of wicking moisture away from the layer beneath. We liked the Toray Dermizax outer fabric which is perhaps a little more supple than a comparable Gore-Tex fabric and lets a decent amount of moisture pass through from the inside while remaining totally water and wind proof on the outside, as well as being tough and durable.

Both the main and underarm zips are two-way giving you versatile ventilation options and two large chest pockets, a ski pass pocket on the left arm and an inner pocket take care of storage for essential items.

The two-way adjustable storm hood is helmet compatible and is well designed, giving good peripheral vision as well as providing decent protection from the elements.

Ortovox have shaved 150 grams off the weight of the Guardian Shell for the 16/17 season, bringing the weight more in line with the competition at 793g which should please the backcountry touring purists.

Overall a seriously accomplished jacket that has improved on last season's already excellent effort, but at a lofty £589 it will leave a big hole in anyone's wallet.

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