After countless soaked walks to work and sloshing around on muddy trails in the past year, I finally decided to pull the trigger on a pair of rain pants. My requirements? Petite sizing!
After scouring the web and procuring a 20% off coupon at REI, the Sierra Designs Hurricane Pants came home with me. I like them. They keep me dry; they get the job done. And they don’t drag on the floor because they come in petite sizes! (I’m five feet tall, for the record.)
The pants have an elastic waistband, keeping them securely on your body. Oh, and the waistband doesn’t give you muffin-top either! Added bonus. The pants have a pocket on the right-hand side of the pants, embroidered with a Sierra Designs logo. The legs of the pants have calf-zips and velcro closures to allow the wearer to get in and out of them without removing boots. These also work as adequate leg vents.
At 7 oz, these won’t add a significant amount of weight for those days where it just might rain. This packs down fairly small, and comes with a stuff sack, though I have since lost the stuff sack.
For 2014, Sierra Designs has updated the Hurricane pants even more with a built in belt, better waterproofing, a front fly, and it zips into its own pocket. They also managed to shave .5 oz off of the weight.
The Outdoor Research Enchainment Jacket is yet another softshell I have come to love from this awesome brand. (Remember my Valhalla review?)
The Enchainment is a fantastically versatile softshell. If you know me, you know I love being able to wear all my gear ALL THE TIME. And this jacket contributes to that life goal.
Most notable features on this are the lack of pit-zips and the trimmer fit. Instead of having full length pit-zips like the Valhalla, Outdoor Research opted to create the jacket with Schoeller® fabric with Nanosphere® technology under the arms. This allows for maximum breathability and infinite amounts of stretch for a dynamic range of movement. It doesn’t look like you’re about to go skiing down some San Francisco hills. And bonus, the lack of zippers means less wear on the fabric!
The 100% polyester fabric body is designed to block wind and shed snow. However, I haven’t taken this out to roll around in some snow. I like my winter clothing on the looser side for layering; it’s just personal preference. The slim cut doesn’t allow me to layer warmly when needed, and I look like a giant marshmallow when I try to. So far, it’s seen breezy but warm days of hiking and many days gallivanting around the city.
Other technical specs are two zippered hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket, critically taped seams, adjustable hood, and durable, water-repellent zippers. The jacket weighs in at 15.8 oz for a size Medium. Pictured above is an XS running across San Francisco and the Sutro Baths.
The trim fit makes the jacket run on the smaller side, so if you’re in between sizes, size up.
Buy through Moosejaw for $199.
This was sent to me for review as a part of the OR Insight Lab.
The Outdoor Research Valhalla is the first softshell I have ever owned. Within one month of testing, it has easily become one of my favorite jackets.
The Valhalla softshell is created from GORE WINDSTOPPER with a roomy and stretchy fit that allows you to layer underneath. My favorite combo is with a Sierra Designs Tov Hoodie and the Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie for ultimate warmth and protection from the wind. It’s a formidable opponent against most weather. The softshell fabric allows for a quiet, dynamic range of motion.
This jacket comes with two full-length pit-zips, in case the WINDSTOPPER fabric isn’t breathable enough. The jacket also has a plethora of pockets: two outer hand zips accessible above hip belt or harness, two chest zips, inner mesh pocket and an inner phone pocket with a headphone slot.
The GORE WINDSTOPPER sheds light snow and rain. This does not do well in torrential downpours. After about 30 minutes of constant rain, you will be soaked.
As awesome as this jacket is, there are a couple cons:
- The zipper pulls on the pit zips have both fallen off. Once, I managed to find one on the ground and re-attach it, but it detached itself again. Granted, this is only the little OR logo on it, but it still decreases the surface area to pull. When you have bulky gloves on, it makes it difficult to ventilate properly.
- The zipper abrasion on the fabric area in the pit zip area is not pretty. When the zips are open, the teeth rub against the fabric causing it to rapidly pill and wear. Luckily, it’s under the arm, so it’s not as noticeable, but regardless, I’m pretty anal and I like to keep my gear looking as pristine as possible.
At 19.3 oz, it’s not a big chunk of weight to be lugging around while hopping around windy peaks. And it’s great protection for windy and cold commutes as well.
The Outdoor Research Valhalla Jacket is pictured above summiting Pyramid Peak in Desolation Wilderness. Full hike review to come shortly.
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
- 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
- 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 was provided to me for an honest review.