Tag Archives: hiking clothing reviews

Review: Patagonia Pluma Jacket

September 5, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Patagonia Pluma Jacket.

Wearing the Patagonia Pluma Jacket on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

All-Season Shell Jacket
Patagonia Pluma Jacket
$549, 14 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XL, women’s XXS-XL
moosejaw.com

For two straight days trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in July, rain fell much of the time and strong gusts of wind seemed to hit us from all directions, while the temperature remained stuck in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit. On the long, grinding ascent of nearly 3,000 feet to the Grand Col de Ferret at 8,323-foot (2537m), walking straight into a wind-driven tempest, I could focus on making sure my family and other companions were doing fine because I stayed completely dry—and thus warm and comfortable—in Patagonia’s new, all-weather super shell, the Pluma Jacket. Continue reading →

Review: REI Talusphere Jacket

August 30, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
REI Talusphere Jacket.

My daughter, Alex, wearing the REI Talusphere Jacket on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Rain Jacket
REI Talusphere Jacket
$149, 15 oz. (women’s small)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XXL
rei.com

When trying to outfit themselves for backpacking and other backcountry adventures, many people may prioritize dollars for a better backpack or tent, and settle for a bargain waterproof-breathable rain jacket—especially if they intend to mostly avoid hiking in the worst weather. Parents trying to outfit a growing kid for the backcountry may feel similarly inclined toward frugality. To test that gear-buying strategy, I got my 14-year-old daughter a sub-$150 rain jacket that many consumers will undoubtedly consider, the REI Talusphere Jacket, for our eight-day trek on the Tour du Mont Blanc in July. Mixed weather—including wind on most days, and a day of hiking through wind-driven rain and cool temperatures over the 8,323-foot (2537m) Grand Col Ferret—spotlighted this jacket’s strengths and weaknesses. Continue reading →

Review: Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On

August 22, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On.


Wearing the Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On while trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Ultralight Rain Jacket
Montane Minimus 777 Pull-On
$289, 4.5 oz. (medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

While any ultralight wind shell or rain jacket offers a lot of versatility, the Minimus 777 pushes the extreme low end in weight for waterproof-breathable outerwear, an appealing trait for hikers, trail runners, and climbers. And it demonstrated that versatility during the eight days I recently spent trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc: Whenever the wind started howling, or the sky began spitting rain, or we stopped for a break at a high pass, I reached for this sub-five-ounce shell. Here’s why. Continue reading →

Review: Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Hooded Jacket

June 7, 2017  |  In Uncategorized   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Hooded Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Hooded Jacket

Ultralight Hybrid Rain Jacket
Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Hooded Jacket
$145, 8 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL
backcountry.com

Just as the first waterproof-breathable membrane, Gore-Tex, did four decades ago, and soft-shell fabrics did nearly two decades ago, today’s hybrid outerwear let us rethink the role of rain jackets—or more broadly, weather protection—for everything from hiking and climbing to trail running and biking. Many of us find ourselves trying to stay warm and reasonably dry while exerting in wind and light precipitation more often than we’re trying to stay dry in heavy rain. In the small field of versatile shell jackets described as “hybrid”—because they’re made with more than one type of fabric—OR’s new Helium Hybrid Hooded Jacket ups the ante. Its combination of fabrics delivers unparalleled performance for almost any outdoor adventure when you’re on the move in variable weather, as I discovered wearing it on various outings lasting from an hour to several hours this spring. Continue reading →

The 5 Best Rain Jackets for the Backcountry

May 10, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Patagonia Pluma Jacket.

Wearing the Patagonia Pluma Jacket on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

By Michael Lanza

Shop for a rain jacket for the backcountry and you’ll see shells for adults ranging in price from under $100 to over $600, in weight from less than half a pound to over a pound—and just as huge and confusing a range of opinions on them from reviewers and consumers. I’m going to make the choice simple for you. I’ve tested dozens of rain shells over the past two decades, at all price points, from many brands you know and don’t know. Hiking through soaking rains all over the world has shaped what I look for in a jacket.

Here are my picks for the five best rain jackets available today, ranging in price from $275 to $425—with great deals available right now on some of these top-performing shells. I think you’ll find one of them is just right for you. Continue reading →

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