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REI Ultra Light Jacket

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: REI Ultra Light Jacket waterproof jacket

It's not often that I use rain gear, let alone actually enjoy the experience. For the most part I usually will just get wet, since I enjoy the cool down that comes with light rain and since I tend to over-heat with or without rain gear on.

On a recent day hike I decided to throw this jacket in my pack since the weather forecast called for temps in the 50's, wind gusts of up to 40 mph, and a good chance of some serious rain. I have to say that I'm very glad that I had this jacket with me.

When I arrived at the trailhead the rain was coming down pretty hard, so I immediately put this jacket on and for the entire 8 miles it didn't come off. My base-layer shirt was a short sleeve polyester shirt, and the combination worked very nicely for me.

My day hike that day was primarily through wooded areas of varying densities. There were times when I would only get a little bit of rain fall and other times when I would get dumped on. Even when the front zipper was entirely zipped the jacket felt very breathable. When I wasn't getting dumped on taking the front zipper halfway down really helped to open things up.

One thing that I really enjoyed about this jacket is that the sleeves had zippers that ran up about 4 inches from the ends of the sleeve. I found this feature useful for when I wanted to roll my sleeves up to help get rid of some heat.

Overall I enjoyed using this jacket, which surprised me, and would definitely recommend it to others. Not only was it very useful while hiking in the rain, but I can also get it to pack very compactly in my bag.

side note: I used the men's model

Fabric: Nylon ripstop

I bought this jacket brand new and I wish that I had waited for the sale, but I'd say it was practically worth the cost. This jacket is 100% waterproof and thanks to the full-length chest zipper and pit-zips, it can be cool enough to wear during a summer shower. The hood rolls up in to the collar, but I don't recommend doing so (it makes the collar feel stiff and can cause some "wave action" on the soft bill).

This is a great jacket and perfect as a rain shell in colder temperatures. Also, if you're curious, the hand warmer pockets are big enough to hold a 2-Liter bottle of soda!

Fabric: REI Elements (proprietary Gore-Tex) and nylon
Price Paid: $125

I use it for everything from mountaineering to day hikes, to everday wear, and it works great. It is super breathable, and has big enough pockets to fit gels, power bars, gloves or hats. The pit zips are nice. Overall, I would say get this jacket rather than the heavy, more expensive jackets out there.

Fabric: REI Elements
Price Paid: $50

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