First Look: Outdoor Research Valhalla Jacket

Outdoor Research Valhalla Jacket Outdoor Research Valhalla Jacket

Fun fact: the Outdoor Research Valhalla jacket is my first softshell. Well, the first softshell I can remember owning as an adult. Here’s a first look at the jacket by Winnemucca Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness. Full reviews of the hike and the jacket to come shortly.

Some specs from Outdoor Research:

  • Critically Taped Seams
  • Windproof
  • Drawcord Hem
  • Hand Pockets Set Above Hip Belt Or Harness
  • Two Zippered Hand Pockets
  • Dual Zippered Napoleon Pockets
  • Internal Front-Zip Stormflap
  • Double-Sliding TorsoFlo™ Hem-to-Bicep Zippers
  • Water Resistant
  • Breathable
  • DWR Coated Zippers
  • Small Internal Mesh Pocket
  • Hook/Loop Cuff Closures
  • Internal Media Pocket
  • Double-Separating Center-Front Zipper
  • Adjustable Wire-Brimmed Hood
  • Average weight is 19.3oz
  • Roomier fit

The Outdoor Research Valhalla retails at Moosejaw for $280 or through Outdoor Research for $350.

The Outdoor Research Valhalla was provided to me for an honest review.

The North Face Resolve Jacket (Big Girls)

Yes, I am small enough to shop in the kids section sometimes. Today, I have for you the North Face Resolve Jacket for Big Girls.

The North Face Resolve Jacket Review The North Face Resolve Jacket Review The North Face Resolve Jacket Review

This jacket has been my daily driver for almost an entire year now. It’s great for breezy days on the trail, light rain and moisture, protection from prickly trees and bushes, or even splashes from kayaking.

The material is North Face’s Hyvent which is slightly older technology as I think they’re on Hyvent 2L now. The jacket is fully seam taped, waterproof-y and breathable. For a 5′, 100lb~ person, the XL is roomy enough to layer a hoodie underneath for cooler days and commutes. The sleeves do run a little short though. But then again, I prefer my sleeves on the longer side of things.

It’s lightweight-ish at 12.7 oz and can pack down well into small places.

The differences between the kid version and the adult version:

  • spot to write your name in case you lose your jacket at school
  • non-adjustable hood
  • no cinch cord for the hem

The only con is there are no pit zips, but the adult version doesn’t have them either. If you’re not willing to sacrifice pit zips, you may be better off with the North Face Venture jacket, reviewed previously here.

The kids’ XL is fairly comparable to the women’s XS, except the arms and torso are just a bit wider. If you don’t mind the non-cinchable hem and the non-adjustable hood, The North Face Girls’ Resolve Jacket will set you back $65 compared to $90 for the women’s version.

The North Face Venture Jacket

The North Face Venture Jacket Review The North Face Venture Jacket Review The North Face Venture jacket is a great lightweight shell to protect from the wind and elements. Waterproof, breathable, and fully seam-taped at approximately 12 oz, it’s a good jacket to accompany you for long days on the trail.

The Venture jacket comes complete with pit zips, two hand zip pockets, Velcro wrist tabs, hem cinch cord, adjustable hood, and Velcro front closures, to help keep you safe and snug from the elements.

This runs on the roomier side to allow room for layering. An XS fits a down jacket or a thicker hoodie comfortably underneath without compromising mobility.

All in all, no complaints about this jacket. For $99, you definitely could do a lot worse. Buy through Moosejaw or Altrec.

Sierra Designs Tov Jacket

Now that winter is coming and cold weather is near, it’s time to break out my winter clothing for those brisk morning commutes. Say hello to the Sierra Designs Tov Jacket.

Sierra Designs Tov Jacket ReviewSierra Designs Tov Jacket Review Sierra Designs Tov Jacket Review

About a year ago, this jacket kinda stole my heart when I saw it at REI. Every time I stopped inside, I’d take a photo with or of it to text to the boyfriend. The sky blue with lime green accents was bright and obnoxious. It was fluffy and lightweight and warm. He surprised me with it for my 23rd birthday and I pretty much wore it for three months straight until summer came.

This jacket is constructed with 100% polyester rip-stop and 600-fill hydrophobic goose Dri-Down. The total weight of the jacket for a size Medium is 15.5 oz.

The jacket has a total of four pockets: 2 outer zipper hand pockets, 1 interior dump pocket, and 1 interior zip pocket. The cuffs are elasticized with thumbholes and the hood is fitted and adjustable.

The fit for an XS on a 5′, sub-110lb person is comfortable. It’s fitted, but not too tight. I can layer a hoodie underneath if needed.

This jacket has all the makings of a solid piece of technical clothing, but I am sad to say that it does not meet expectations.

The jacket immediately began to show wear on the trim after a few days of use. There was pilling on the trim around the wrists, thumbholes and zippers from every day activity.

The polyster ripstop shows sign of dirt and wear very easily. I’m not a particularly dirty or disgusting person, but I have stuff that I go for months without washing and it still looks mostly new. Not the Tov jacket. I am terrified of brushing up against anything out of fear of looking like I am homeless.

Lastly, I am pretty sure this thing poops feathers. Any movement means I’m waving fluffies away from my face and picking feathers out of my clothes. The feathers sneak out at the seams, and it’s pretty much impossible to squeeze and pull them back in.

Because of the above three, I haven’t legitimately taken the Tov jacket for an outdoor adventure, mostly just commuting to and from work in the city. Oh, and it makes a great pillow for camping. It just wore too quickly and seems to be too delicate for outdoor adventures. Which is kind of a bummer!

All in all, this is an okay jacket for winter and cold commutes if you can purchase it at a discount. I would attempt to recommend another jacket, but I don’t have much experience with down jackets (they’re kinda expensive!).

I think the Sierra Designs Tov Jacket has been discontinued, but you can still find it at a few places like Altrec and Sierra Designs at a discounted price.

Desolation Wilderness: Mt. Tallac

Hike: Mt. Tallac via Fallen Leaf Lake out and back
Where: Desolation Wilderness
Trailhead: Mt. Tallac off of HW89
Level: Strenuous
Duration: 7 hours and 9 minutes
Length: 9.7 miles out and back
Fitbit Steps: 30,249
Gear: CamelBak Women’s Aventura 100oz Hydration Pack, UNIQLO Heattech leggings, Outdoor Research Women’s Contour Short, Icebreaker Women’s Tech T Lite T-Shirt, Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 Oasis Crew, Ahnu Women’s Montara Waterproof Boot
Parking: Free!

Mt. Tallac is a classic Desolation Wilderness peak providing sweeping views of South Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay. At 9,738′, this hike is a wee bit strenuous. This review covers the most direct and popular route via Fallen Leaf Lake.

Mt. Tallac in Desolation Wilderness Hike Review Mt. Tallac in Desolation Wilderness Hike Review

This hike takes you past Fallen Leaf Lake on your left, Floating Island Lake on your right, and then Cathedral Lake on the left before rapidly gaining elevation on loose gravel. Pictured above are Floating Island Lake and Cathedral Lake respectively.

You can opt to head up all of the switchbacks, or cut to an alternate trail that’s a little shorter, a whole lot steeper, and a ton more slippery. It will save you a bit of time if you’re up for the scramble before rejoining with the main trail.

Mt. Tallac in Desolation Wilderness Hike Review

This route meets up with the Glen Alpine trail junction about .1 miles prior reaching the last bit of scramble.

Mt. Tallac in Desolation Wilderness Hike Review Mt. Tallac in Desolation Wilderness Hike Review Mt. Tallac in Desolation Wilderness Hike Review Mt. Tallac in Desolation Wilderness Hike Review

I super struggled with the altitude on this hike, but decided to push onward since we were only about .25 miles from the top. It was worth it.

Weather for this hike on an October weekend was not too bad. It was absolutely freezing in the morning, but brisk hiking warmed things up pretty quickly. I was worried that it would be cold at the top, but it was fairly warm around 70 degrees. I had an extra Triple Aught Design Flux hoodie and the North Face Venture jacket in my backpack, but could have done without. Also had my Outdoor Research Longhouse gloves and Arc’teryx Bird Toque beanie for the first mile or so, but they weren’t absolutely necessary.