The LightHeart Gear Rain Jacket (MSRP $115) is a light-weight silpoly waterproof rain jacket made the old school approach, with none so-called waterproof/breathable cloth. Coated on the skin with silicone and on the within with polyurethane (PU), this maintenance-free rain jacket gained’t moist out like way more costly waterproof breathable jackets which might be coated with Sturdy Water Repellant (DWR) and should be periodically reproofed to repel rain. (See: Why does Waterproof/Breathable Rain Gear Moist Out?)
An earlier model of this rain jacket was made with silnylon, however LightHeart Gear switched to silpoly (siliconized polyester) prior to now 12 months. The brand new silpoly jacket will not be as slick because the outdated silnylon one and isn’t as loud and crinkly plastic sounding. In any other case, the design and have set is identical.
Specs at a Look
- Greatest use: Mountaineering, Backpacking, On a regular basis
- Weight: 6.6 oz in a males’s XL (a girls’s mannequin is on the market)
- Hydrostatic head: 3000 mm
- Materials: 20D ripstop polyester, silicone-coated on the skin, PU coated on inside
- Seams: Sure, not taped (see beneath for clarification)
- Colours: Many, together with blaze orange which is nice for looking season and off-trail use
- Origin: Made within the USA
Rain Jacket Options
Weighing simply 6.6 ounces in a males’s measurement XL, the LightHeart Gear Rain Jacket is absolutely featured with lots of the bells and whistles you’d discover on way more costly jackets. This consists of an adjustable hood with neck cords and a entrance brim, twin entrance handwarmer pockets, two inside drop pockets that you may stuff the jacket into, adjustable wrist cuffs, and 18″ lengthy pit zips that run beneath the biceps and down the torso to vest extra warmth.
The hood might be cinched tightly round your head to stop wind, rain, and chilly from blowing in and chilling you. I’ve by no means understood why rain jacket producers don’t present full hood controls to assist entice the warmth round your head or why hikers purchase jackets with outsized helmet-compatible hoods that may’t be cinched closed. The hood brim on the jacket can stop rain from dripping down onto your face or glasses when it’s drawn tight, however it is usually appropriate with wide-brimmed and billed hats.
The entrance handwarmer pockets will not be zippered. I can normally get my arms into them to seize one thing once I’m carrying a backpack, but it surely relies on how padded the hip belt is. I’d like to see two zippered chest pockets added to the jacket as an alternative, however that will most likely make the jacket dearer to purchase. The jacket additionally has two deep inside drop pockets which might be open on the high and which can be utilized to stash gloves or snacks. You may also stuff the jacket into one among them for storage.
There are 18″ pit zips that run down the biceps and down the edges of the jacket to assist vent further heat and cut back your perspiration charge. The cool factor about these lengthy pit zips is that you may stick your arms by way of the pit zips and put on the jacket like a vest. This sheds much more warmth than the pit zips alone when mountaineering, particularly in hotter climate the place you need some evaporative cooling from the floor of your pores and skin to cut back the quantity of warmth buildup contained in the jacket. I’ve discovered this to be very efficient.
The rain jacket has elastic wrist cuffs which have been augmented with velcro (hook and loop) tabs so you’ll be able to crank them down. That is useful when you put on rain mittens and wish to shut off the jacket-to-mitten interface to remain hotter or to stop rain from dripping down your jacket sleeves. Your blood flows near the floor of your wrists, so maintaining them heat is necessary in chilly climate.
The jacket’s entrance zipper has a fold-over rain flap to rain from blowing by way of it and might be zipped up over your chin to maintain water off your face. There are additionally velcro tabs alongside the zipper that you should utilize to carry the jacket closed with the zipper open for venting or if the zipper fails. The entrance zipper will not be water resistant or waterproof, and neither are the pit-zip zippers.
Heat Not Dryness
When water hits the floor of the LightHeart Rain jacket, it beads up and rolls off as you’d anticipate, moderately than soaking the material and chilling you. The truth that the LightHeart Rain Jacket is coated in silicone and polyurethane, signifies that you by no means have to fret a few DWR coating carrying off or having this jacket wet-out the place the outer cloth will get soaked with water, the most typical level of failure for rain jackets made utilizing waterproof-breathable materials.
However there’s no denying the truth that this jacket retains lots of warmth if you’re energetic. Whereas that’s a very good factor in chilly wet climate, it is advisable be proactive in the case of venting the jacket when you begin to overheat and perspire. The lengthy pit-zips facilitate this as does sticking your arms out by way of the pit-zip holes. You may also unzip the jacket partially since most individuals hike hunched over and your head and higher torso will block the rain.
However there’s an underlying philosophy behind this jacket’s design that I haven’t touched on but that’s necessary to debate. That’s, that it’s extra necessary to remain heat and stop hypothermia if you’re mountaineering within the rain than to remain dry. My view is that there’s a giant distinction between sweating on the within, the place it’s heat, and getting soaked from the skin, the place your physique warmth can’t offset the cooling impact of a garment that’s been soaked by wet-out. That’s the benefit of carrying the LightHeart Gear Rain Jacket, which is completely waterproof. The rain jacket acts as a thermal barrier to stop uncontrollable warmth loss.
Should you undertake the “heat over dryness mindset”, options like seam-taping and waterproof zippers grow to be far much less necessary. If there’s any rain leakage in any respect, and sure seams are fairly leak-resistant anyway, it’s not going to sit back you considerably.
Should you’re like me and sick of waterproof-breathable rain jackets that don’t reside as much as expectations, I counsel you give the LightHeart Gear Rain Jacket a strive. It should most likely be the final backpacking rain jacket you ever want to purchase.
Disclosure: LightHeart Gear offered Philip Werner with a jacket for this overview.
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