I was looking for a breathable lightweight shell to…
Fabric: GORE-Tex Performance / GORE-Tex Paclite
Price Paid: $99
I was looking for a breathable lightweight shell to use during hiking/backpacking trips and when this jacket popped up on SAC, I couldn't resist. This review will address the fit and construction of the jacket since I have not used it enough to properly assess the performance.
I am 6 feet tall, 215 lbs, 36" waist, with an athletic build and the XL fits me perfectly with room for two layers underneath (silk weight and medium weight).
I think I have average length arms and the sleeves reached to the base of my palms. When I reach my arms above my head, the sleeves only ride up to mid-wrist, so I couldn't be happier with the fit.
A lot of shells seem extra bulky in the torso but this jacket has more of an athletic fit. The bottom of the jacket hits about mid-hip level.
This jacket has one of the better fitting hoods that I have found as long as it's adjusted correctly. There are very limited reviews of this jacket online, but one of the few that I found stated the hood was too baggy and had an improper fit. There are two adjustments for the hood, one on the sides at the base of your neck and one behind your head. Once properly adjusted, the hood fits my head perfectly and moves with me regardless of where I look.
The stiff brim is also great for fit as well. I don't do any serious mountaineering where a helmet is required, so I can't say how the fit would be in that regard. However, the hood is pretty big and loose before it's adjusted, so you might be able to get a helmet under there.
CONSTRUCTION AND MATERIALS:
The sleeves and shoulders are made with GORE-Tex performance fabric and the rest of the jacket uses GORE-Tex Paclite. The construction looks and feels pretty solid. I was worried that the areas where the Performance and Paclite fabrics are stitched together might be questionable, but my worries were unjustified once I received the jacket.
There are velcro tabs on the cuffs along with a small section of elastic, so in my opinion, one of them (elastic/velcro) was not needed. It still provides a secure fit though. All seams look well sealed and the zippers are all waterproofed, which makes them a little more cumbersome to open/close, but that is fine with me.
The weight of this jacket is pretty light, so I think it is "as advertised." The durability to weight ratio also seems pretty good. Some light jackets feel like they'll rip with the slightest snag, but this jacket still seems pretty solid despite its light weight.
The media pocket sits between your left shoulder and collarbone while wearing the jacket and it's probably big enough to fit an ipod nano...possibly a video ipod. There is a loop on the inside of the jacket's left collar where you can run your headphone cord through before putting them on your head...it's a small, but worthwhile addition.
There is an elastic cord that runs through the hem of the jacket to tighten/loosen it as you see fit. All the adjustments on the jacket can be done with one hand and most with gloves as well. The hood adjustments would be the most difficult with gloves, but still possible.
Like I said at the beginning of this review, I have not tested this jacket for performance yet. I'll try to remember an update once I do though. For now, I totally recommend this jacket...especially at the discount prices for which it's being offered on the web. It's light, packable, performance fitting, and stylish enough to wear both in and out of the rain. I gave it four stars because I have not tested it for performance or durability yet.