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M 2005 Lightweight Rainwear Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview

by Don Wilson

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Article Summary:

Rapid change in product technology and features continues in rainwear; weights are dropping like a rock in some categories, feature sets among lightweight jackets are changing, and technology continues to diversify and improve. In this rainwear review summary we will look at today's leading woven waterproof/breathable rainwear. Our review summary includes the woven rain jackets we have published reviews of since spring 2004, plus selected lightweight jackets reviewed earlier.

Just 18 months ago, in our 2004 Rainwear Review Summary, we were excited to see Gore-Tex jackets under 12 ounces. For this review summary, we didn't even consider most jackets for review unless they were under 10 ounces. The lightest Gore-Tex jacket has dropped from the 8.8 ounce Haglofs LIM Ultimate, to the 7.2 ounce Outdoor Research Zealot. In 2004, we speculated than an eVENT jacket less than 12 ounces would be a superb entry - and now the Integral Designs eVENT Rain Jacket has far surpassed that vision, coming in at 8.8 ounces. The lightest jacket among our review sample is the Patagonia Specter Pullover, at 6.5 ounces, but a few other jackets weigh nearly the same, with slightly different feature sets and performance characteristics. If the Sierra Designs Isotope and Neutron jackets do well in the field, these weights will be eclipsed. The fully seam taped, waterproof/breathable, hooded, full front zip Isotope weighs 4.4 ounces in a men's large!


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