User Review: Taiga Chamonix Jacket
Fabric: 2 ply Gore-Tex
Price Paid: $180 Canadian
This is a classic Gore-Tex jacket that is extremely functional, understated, and high quality. It's also very well priced at 180 bux Canadian. Also, there are seven different colours. There is also a huge zippered pocket inside the jacket and four outer pockets. Also, there is CoolMax mesh inside the jacket for better cooling.
This is the best Gore-Tex jacket I've owned so far for all-purpose use, and it's hard to beat the price. You just can't find a Patagonia jacket at this price with the same material and features. It will cost about 500 dollars Canadian for a similar Patagonia jacket that doesn't look as good and have the same style and features. Taiga is also made in Vancouver, Canada, one of the North America's wettest cities. However, this is an exclusive brand that is sold only in Vancouver at one store and they rarely advertise. The store is also hidden in a corner and they don't even have a website, so the cost of the garments could be sold at low prices. Taiga might be behind the competition when compared to other manufacturers as they still don't utilize Gore-Tex XCR in any of their jackets.
I, myself, just recently purchased a Arc'Teryx Alpha SV jacket in "Too-Blue" coloured size-medium (Gore-Tex XCR) that solves the problem. Alpha SV is my "NASA" space-age jacket, but get one on sale ok? Retailing at 650 dollars Canadian/475 US dollars ain't cheap! BTW, I will review my Arc'Teryx Alpha SV jacket as soon as I wear it more often in real life rough and tough situations. It's less than one month old and it's awesome!
Update: December 16, 2001
Not all jackets are perfect, so I'd like to continue with my Taiga Chamonix review. Although, I mentioned the jacket is "high quality", there are problems with the jacket's main zipper. Yesterday, I detected more problems (stitching of the zipper's tape) after close inspection! Also, to make things more clear, here's a link for the structure of a zipper http://www.ykkfastening.com/global/slide/wzipper/structure.html
Taiga's Chamonix jacket uses the YKK 5VS zipper which is, in my opinion, not the best choice of zippers because it uses a low grade plastic (Acetal) polymer. The insert pin will eventually degrade which makes the zipper difficult to zip up. I have taken to matter seriously and I even spoke to the R&D Engineer at YKK to tell them that the insert pin should be made out of an metal alloy instead of the traditional acetal polymer. I have found that the insert pin will stratch and dent after repeated use which will lead to zip-up difficulties. This is especially apparent with Taiga jackets equipped with YKK zippers. Another problem with the jacket is the poor stitching of the tape of the zipper - the stitch lining seems to be off centred at the insert pin of the jacket. I believe this might be carelessness, or because it is difficult to sew in the retainer box area/insert pin area of the zipper because the tape is much more hard and stiff. I'm afraid that the tape of my zipper will eventually rip out after normal use. Though the jacket is made in Canada, I haven't seen this type of poor quality construction of jackets made in jackets Asian countries. Taiga claims their products are German engineered - Canadian made. I could compare their products to a VW Golf/Jetta - German engineered - piece of junk made. Although Taiga jackets are well designed, priced right for Gore-Tex, and great looking, the zipper of the jacket is the weakest link.
Finally, I have to admit that Mountain Equipment Co-op jackets are much better in quality than Taiga. MEC is also Canadian and also originated in Vancouver. Thumbs up for MEC but you'll have to pay a tad more for total quality. Thumbs up for Taiga for garment design but thumbs down for quality of the main zipper. Email me if you have problems with the zipper with your Taiga Gore-Tex jackets, Taiga fleece products, or any Taiga product problem. I believe that everyone should get a quality product for their hard earned money.