One of the most breathable and durable hiking jackets we’ve tested to date, the ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Jacket is well-built, durable, lightweight and packed full of backcountry features.
The new ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Jacket (and Deep Shell Bibs) left a solid impression on our team after testing. The brand built this premium design for the long haul and to handle a range of weather conditions for off-road adventure.
In short: the ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell women’s jacket ($680) is a great investment for cross-country skiing and splitboarding, ski mountaineering, snowmobiling, and ice climbing. If you do it all, consider investing in a case that can do it all too.
It also works at the resort, but may exceed the price range of what skiers are looking to wear. (The jacket is also available in men.)
ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Jacket Review
When you wear this jacket on backcountry trips and in huts, the design provides protection and comfort in the high winds beating the stiff, rugged backpack or the sun beating down on your skin.
For activities that require a loaded pack, like snowmobiling and splitboarding, this rugged, well-designed garment sets the bar high.
The three-layer jacket is made of merino wool and Toray Dermizax EV (an ultra-thin, waterproof and windproof membrane). It also features a helmet-compatible hood, two large chest pockets, one arm pocket and generous underarm ventilation.
The jacket is distinguished by the following elements:
- Women specific design
- Spacious and comfortable fit
- Tour-friendly pockets
- Rugged protection from the elements
- and more rock qualities
Since 1988, the German brand has been making premium, wool-based clothing for mountaineers, which was launched in the US in 2015. And the brand’s first women’s-specific bib (part of the 3L Deep Shell Kit for women) is a standout take for the brand in 2022.
Prior to testing this set, I had been wearing another ORTOVOX merino-lined hardshell kit for four seasons in the backcountry in Crested Butte, Colorado.
In all conditions, my Women’s Goalkeeper Jacket ($750) and hardshell pants – model was discontinued but was similar to Ortler pants ($400) and 3L deep shell pants ($550) – withstood splitboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, trailer maintenance, tons of shoveling, and lumber hauling.
Today, the Guardian kit still looks and functions like new, which is a solid indication of how the 3L Deep Shell Jacket should get away with it over time.
ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell jacket: the characteristics
No matter how strong the wind is above the tree line or if it is pouring wet snow, this jacket protects me from the cold and the humidity. The fabric is 100% windproof and offers a waterproof rating of 20,000mm, which is able to block out the heavy rain and snow typically seen in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a good safety investment as a backcountry user.
Still, the jacket is super breathable (coming from someone who sweats on their skin). The brand uses SwissWool for its insulation and odor neutralizing properties as well as Tasmanian merino wool on the chest and collar.
In addition to roomy, ergonomic underarm zippers, wool helps manage moisture and temperature.
One aspect of this jacket that I always love are the pockets. ORTOVOX nails pocket size and functionality. The two large chest pockets still work under a heavy pack (with a hip belt).
And I used the small pocket to store my ski pass at the resort. It’s also a good place for a whistle or my wallet (with my snowmobile registration, ID, etc.)
ORTOVOX has also added an integrated mesh pocket to the left chest pocket for your cell phone. Haven’t used it yet, as I prefer to wear my backcountry beacon in a chest harness, which sits under my sports bra against my ribs.
I always separate my laptop (in airplane mode) by at least 20 inches of my beacon, so my phone is in the right pocket of my bibs. But the mesh pocket is nicely angled and hinged, so you can easily secure your phone even if it’s a larger size.
Test of the ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell jacket (and bib)
Holding this jacket when snowmobiling or uphill, when my body was working hard and loaded down with gear, I never felt like the design limited my range of motion, comfort, or temperature regulation.
This is one of the best performing and most durable garments I have ever worn. Even the adjustable Velcro cuffs are remarkable: they’re just the right width to grab, cinch, and stay in place. (Why can’t all brands be successful?!)
I wasn’t sure if I would like the slightly looser design, compared to my Goalkeeper Jacket, but it’s not baggy and still well shaped for my curves and gear. At 554g, the Deep Shell is also lighter than the Guardian’s 741g.
New ORTOVOX 3L Deep Shell Women’s Overalls ($600) are made with the same exacting standards of breathability, strong materials, smart pockets, comfort, and a particularly roomy fold-down seat.
Not to mention that this jacket is also very eco-friendly, with the following features:
- PFC-free (no perfluorinated or polyfluorinated chemicals)
- Climate neutral with certified carbon offset projects
- Fair Wear certified
- ORTOVOX Wool Promise (OWP) certified and audited by a third party
Conclusion on the ORTOVOX Deep Shell Jacket
Overall, this jacket is my top choice for backcountry trips. The garments are expensive, but the product is worth the investment as ORTOVOX prioritizes durability and ensures this kit is built to last.
Overall, this kit offers competitive qualities for women who work outdoors, cover terrain in the backcountry and need technical outerwear that withstands the elements.