I’ve been without a lightweight rain shell for a while now. I had a zipper fail on a Sierra Designs’ Hurricane rain shell and I sent it back to them for replacement; unfortunately I had the replacement mailed to Z’s office and they sent me a women’s size medium in return; she brought it to Asia with her. In Alaska I wore my EMS Orion, which is warm and keeps me reasonably dry, but it’s much too heavy for Spring and Summer, though it’s proven to be a good cold weather shell.
In my search for a new lightweight shell the Patagonia Specter keeps popping up. As it turns out, Patagonia stopped making the Specter Pullover a couple of years ago. Their current offerings include some new higher price point alpine shells and the lower price point Torrentshell Pullover, but sadly they have yet to replicate the 6oz. Specter. The North Face sells the Triumph Anorak as part of their Summit Series which is quite similar and Marmot sells the Essence jacket, both in the sub 8oz. category. And I do really love the Houdini, but what we are talking about here is a waterproof shell that weighs marginally more than the 4oz. Houdini. The Houdini is an excellent wind shirt, but not a rain jacket, as was proven recently in the Delaware Water Gap during a downpour.
Kelly Cordes has a good in-depth post talking about waterproof breathable materials and shell construction. And a little searching will reveal users’ preferences on the Backpacking Light forums. I’m in no rush to get another jacket and as long as it’s 90 degrees outside I don’t care if I get wet.