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Sizing Guide for Shell JacketsShell Jackets


By Ian Perkins


Your shell jacket is the first line of defense against all of the harshness that the weather can bring. Having a good shell that fits properly is crucial in staying warm and dry while enjoying all that the outdoors has to bring.



Taking Measurements


Using a flexible or fabric tape measure, refer to the following diagram when taking measurements: Neck: (Position #1) To measure your neck line, use a fabric or flexible tape measure, and measure the circumference of your neck starting and ending where a standard button-down shirt would meet.


Shell Jacket Measurement


Chest/Bust: (Position #2) To measure the bust/chest line of the body, measure the circumference from the fullest point all the way around the body. Do your best to keep the tape horizontal while measuring to get the most accurate measurement possible.


Sleeve Length: (Position 3a/b) When measuring sleeve length, have a friend start at the center of the neck and follow the ergonomics of the arm, including a bent elbow and ending at the base of the wrist. Keep in mind you will be wearing your jacket over a couple of layers so err on the long side rather than the short.



The Fit


When you’re trying on a shell jacket, there are a number of different things you want to look for. First you want to consider the girth of the jacket, ensuring that you have enough room to fit a heavy sweater and a couple of light layers underneath. Next consider the length of the jacket. Do the bend and stretch test. Make sure the jacket doesn’t ride up and expose your midriff, and that the sleeves are long enough that they don’t choke up and expose your arms when reaching for objects that might be far away. Lastly consider the circumference of the underarm and the sleeve. When jackets don’t mesh well with layers, it usually happens in the underarm. You’ll want to make sure that the armpit area of the jacket has enough room to fit a few layers underneath. As a generally note, often when investing in a new shell jacket, its best to upsize one size to accommodate layers and length. Be sure to consider this when making your decision on sizing.


The Hood

Proper Hood Fit


The hood is one of the most functional aspects of a high quality shell. Having a well fitting, functional hood can make a good jacket turn into a great jacket. When trying on jackets, be sure to test out the hood, especially when shopping for women’s jackets, or jackets that will be used with a helmet. There are three main aspects when considering a hood. First is the depth of the hood. The depth concerns how much of your head the hood actually covers. Women’s hoods and helmet hoods are generally deeper and built with a visor or an adjustment cord. Second, consider your peripheral vision. While wearing the hood, you should have clear, unobstructed peripheral vision. This is not only a comfort concern, but a safety concern. Lastly, consider the shape of the opening exposing your face. Most jackets will have considerable adjustment for the shape and size of the area around your face. Make sure that you have the ability to customize your hood the way you want to wear it.

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