REI Switchback Parka

3 reviews
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   1
1-star:   1



I had great expectations but the parka lasted less…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars

I had great expectations but the parka lasted less than a month in use. The main zipper pull popped while attempting to cinch it up to my chin. The metal is very flimsy. You'd think that zippers would be a serious concern in design. REI needs to rethink this flaw and provide hardier zipper pulls.


Well this is a replacement jacket for the 'original'…

Rating: rated 1 of 5 stars
Fabric: Gore/Tex
Price Paid: -$300

Well this is a replacement jacket for the 'original' switchback that was an 'REI' fabric that went bad. My original switchback was a total loss. After a week in the WET Scotish Higlands I was a sopping mess. REI was EXCELLENT about stepping up to the plate and replacing the jacket, BUT my GoreTex replacment is no better after a year and a half. I have tried light heat on the thing to bring the fabric back, as well as Textron spray. NO LUCK. Any real amount of rain will soak the fabric. Any amount of sweat from the inside out (cuffs and at my pack) will soak it through. If your spending a few nights in a tent with no real way to dry it out your in trouble.

Hats off to REI... they're great. BUT the switchback scores VERY LOW in my opiniom. Hiking partners with Marmots have MUCH better results... I'm off in serach of a Marmot Thunderlight or Alpinist


Excellent, very lightweight rain gear. I have never…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Fabric: 2 ply Gore Tex
Price Paid: $150

Excellent, very lightweight rain gear. I have never gotten wet wearing this. The pants and jacket fold into the jacket pocket without too much trouble, making a convenient carrying bag.

Only complaint is that I would have used buttons in place of the velcro, velcro seems more flimbsy; otherwise, a great jacket at an unbeatable price.

Manufacturer's Description

Visit REI's Men's Switchback Parka page.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

The REI Switchback parka offers serious weather protection for just about any backcountry endeavor-especially during the fall and winter months. Soft and quiet, 2-layer REI Elements(R) recycled polyester dobby shell is waterproof and breathable; seams are completely sealed for 100% protection. Lining fabrics wick moisture, add warmth and perfect the fit. Switchback parka is windproof to 60 mph. Zip-off hood features a brim to shield eyes and side and rear drawcord adjustments to preserve vision; collar is lined with brushed tricot. Internal and external stormflaps protect front zipper and keep wind from moving through. Pit-zip sliders can be centered for full cooling without the vent flapping in the wind. Adjustable hem drawcord and cuffs tabs. Includes 2 zip hand pockets and a zip flash pocket under exterior stormflap; 1 inner zip pocket with a headphone cord port and a stretch mesh water bottle pocket. Also includes a Hypalon(R) lift ticket hook. REI Muir Woods fleece jacket and Generator down jacket and vest, all sold separately, attach via snaps into the Switchback parka.

- REI refers to the men's version

REI Switchback Parka

$179.00 (men's)

The REI Switchback Parka is not available from the stores we monitor. It was last seen December 13, 2011 at REI.

If you're looking for a new hard shell jacket, check out the best reviewed current models.