Cloudveil Enclosure Mountain Parka REVIEW

Product performance review of the Cloudveil Enclosure Mountain Parka, a lightweight synthetic insulated backpacking jacket.

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by Kevin Grove | 2005-02-22 03:00:00-07

Overview

Cloudveil Enclosure Mountain Parka - 1

The Enclosure Mountain Parka from Cloudveil provides a warm micro-shelter for the stationary backcountry adventurer. The parka has 7.6 oz/yd2 PrimaLoft One in the body and 5.9 ox/yd2 PrimaLoft One in the sleeves, making it ideal to wear while belaying an alpine climb, eating lunch before dropping into sweet powder, or hanging out around base camp. The PrimaLoft One synthetic insulation has decent compressibility; the jacket stuffs down to about 300 cubic inches in volume, roughly the size of a volleyball. PrimaLoft One also absorbs much less water than down or other synthetic insulations, maintaining nearly all of its warmth when wet. The hood is well designed and keeps the neck and face areas warm and cozy, with or without a helmet, while maintaining good peripheral vision. The Enclosure is also a nice addition to a lightweight integrated cold weather sleeping system, allowing a much lighter sleeping bag to be used.

In Brief

  • Cloudveil Cirrus Plus shell - lightweight and weather resistant
  • Warm - 1.4 inches of PrimaLoft One single-layer loft in the torso
  • Good fit and extra room for layers
  • Lots of pockets - two hand warmer, three internal, and one chest pocket
  • Durable and well-constructed - no wear evident from field testing
  • At 2 pounds 4 ounces manufacturer's claimed weight, one of the heavier jackets in this group

Specifications

• Garment Style

Full zip, high-loft, synthetic hooded jacket

• Fabric Description

Cirrus Plus shell nylon ripstop (40d yarn interknit with 30d yarn) with DWR treatment

• Insulation Description

7.6 oz/yd2 (260 g/m2) PrimaLoft One in the torso, 5.9 oz/yd2 (200 g/m2) in the sleeves

• Other Features

Two zippered handwarmer pockets, one zippered inside security pocket, two internal mesh pockets, and one outside chest pocket

• Weight

1 lb 15.0 oz (879 g) as measured, men's M prototype; 2 lb 4.0 oz (1,021 g) manufacturer specification for production version

• Loft

1.4 in (3.6 cm) single layer loft in torso, 1.2 in (3.0 cm) loft in sleeves

• Model Year

2004 prototype

• MSRP

$245 Manufacturer's suggested retail price

Warmth

The Enclosure Parka has a healthy amount of PrimaLoft One insulation that kept me very warm sitting out on a cold November evening while I ate dinner - and dried out - after several hours of hiking. Hiking without a pack on flat terrain was tolerable for a short period of time, but the insulation is too thick to wear the parka during any type of activity. I quickly overheated wearing the Enclosure Parka while hiking with a pack, even in 25 °F weather. The combination of Cirrus Plus shell and thick insulation results in relatively poor breathability for this jacket. The hood and front zipper provide full head, neck, and face coverage.

The Enclosure is a nice addition to a cold weather sleeping system. I spent a 20 °F night in the backcountry wearing the Enclosure in a 32 °F rated sleeping bag and bivy sack and stayed warm and slept well the entire night.

Storm resistance

I tested the Enclosure Parka in a variety of early winter conditions in temperatures from the low 20's °F to the mid 30's °F. During a near-freezing wet snow/sleet storm, the parka took the chill off when I stopped for lunch and put it on over a base layer dampened by sweat from skinning to the top of a Cascade volcano. The internal draft skirt kept the cold air from creeping above my waist and the hood and chin area protected my face from the wind and cold. The wet snow/sleet eventually defeated the durable water-repellent finish. We suggest using the Enclosure under a waterproof garment during very wet weather. The Enclosure kept me warm even with wet insulation and it dried out quickly when the sleet subsided.

On another backcountry adventure, the durable water-repellent finish did a much better job of repelling the dry graupel falling with temperatures in the low 20's °F. A waterproof garment was not needed to stay dry in these conditions.

When I wore the Enclosure Parka over a wet base layer and zipped everything up, the base layer dried over time and moisture was not noticeable on the inside of the parka.

Usability

The Enclosure Parka has a full front zipper and a high collar that covers the mouth region when fully zipped. A rollover zipper guard protects the face nicely with a fleece lining. An internal Lycra draft skirt keeps out the cold wind. The cuffs have a wide range of adjustability with Velcro closures. The hood fits snugly with or without a climbing helmet and can be tightened down with an elastic pull cord. The sleek design of the hood allows it to move with you as you rotate your head, maintaining peripheral vision. The sleeve length is just long enough to allow free range of motion without exposing the wrists. The zippered hand warmer pockets are insulated on the outside only and are not fleece lined. Hands can be withdrawn into the sleeves to provide additional warmth. The parka is well designed in the torso region, allowing a full range of motion without the hem riding up the waist or the shoulders binding. It has a trim fit without any coverage of the butt or thigh region. It is easy to put on and take off while wearing a base layer, outer shell, another insulating garment, or any combination of the three, making it very suitable for a belay jacket during a winter multi-pitch climb.

The Enclosure has plenty of pockets: zippered hand warmer pockets, a single Napoleon pocket, an internal security pocket for stashing the oh-so-important route description, and two internal mesh pockets, one divided and one open, for storage with quick and easy access. The Enclosure Parka also has the option of stuffing into its own pocket for easy packing.

Value

The pre-production jacket I tested is well-made and held up well during field testing, showing no significant signs of wear. At $245, the Enclosure is priced comparatively with other jackets in this category. It is a very nice insulating garment for the price.

Recommendations for Improvement

The pre-production version of the Enclosure that I tested weighs less than the stated weight for the production models; even so, it had heavier insulation than most other jackets in this category. I would prefer a less bulky parka. I'd also like to see a DWR finish that sheds water and wet snow better, keeping the insulation dry longer. The hand-warmer pockets could be fleece lined to provide a little extra warmth and comfort.


Citation

"Cloudveil Enclosure Mountain Parka REVIEW," by Kevin Grove. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/cloudveil_enclosure_mountain_parka_review.html, 2005-02-22 03:00:00-07.

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