Alf tests one of the lightest shell jackets on the market - the Helio by Black Diamond.

PRICE: £315

WEBSITE: Black Diamond

WHAT THEY SAY: "A ski mountaineer and ultralight alpinist’s dream jacket, the Helio Shell is our lightest GORE-TEX jacket and the king of packability. With an all-new GORE-TEX C-Knit backer, the crispy feel of most hardshells is replaced with a soft-to-touch construction that increases comfort on missions where luxury is a premium."

WHAT ALF SAYS: The Helio Shell is the lightest of Black Diamond’s three-layer shells, weighing in at just 370g – this means you barely notice it whether wearing or carrying it in your pack, and it also packs down very snugly too. All of this makes it ideal for ski tourers, ski mountaineers and alpinists.

The GORE-TEX C-Knit fabric gives the Helio a softer feel than other similar jackets (I used a Black Diamond Mission Shell last season which is quite ‘crisp’ and ‘noisy’ in comparison), which will appeal if you like a more traditional feel to your fabrics. It offers very little insulation, however, so bear in mind when choosing your size that you are going to need to layer up under the Helio Shell.

The light weight of the jacket means that features are relatively minimal, consisting of a helmet compatible, fully-adjustable peaked hood, high collar with microfleece chin guard, two large zipped chest pockets, full-length pit zips, adjustable cuffs and a one-handed ‘Cohaesive’ cord management system for the hem and hood which I liked. The cut is also climbing harness compatible.

Come to think of it, that’s quite a lot of features for such a light weight packable shell, and since it also looks good and would easily double as a lightweight waterproof for summer use it makes for a pretty good buy.

FOR: Light, packable, has all the basic features you need

AGAINST: Provides very little insulation

Alf Alderson is an award-winning freelance ski journalist who will be working on gear reviews throughout the 2016/17 season for the Ski Club of Great Britain.