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Trail Lite Designs Cloud Cape
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Trail Lite Designs Cloud Cape on 03/11/2011 15:13:12 MST Print View

Trail Lite Designs Cloud Cape in "Storm Black" Cuben Fiber has just arrived in my mailbox.
I have to say a huge THANK YOU to ZPacks for such fast shipping. Now i will be able to start out on the AT with my 3 ounce Cloud Cape instead of an 11 ounce PU coated poncho.
I will post a BPL review of this product as I hike along the AT this year.
My first impressions are:
Weight on my scale is 3 ounces.
The cape is a generous fit but not flappy or loose like a poncho. The sleeves come down just below the shoulder allowing for good ventilation. Even wearing here in the california sun it does not feel hot or uncomfortable.
The hood is of three piece(four counting the brim) construction and has micro cord locks to seal up around the face.
The hood brim is doubled up and sewn in such a way as to have a definite beak shape. I usually wear a hat or visor under my rain gear hood anyway but it's nice to see this extra detail.
There are two micro cord locks to seal the hem around the waist.
Major Seams on the hood and body appear to be flat felled and double stitched.
The water resistant zipper is of high quality and feels robust.
This weight of Cuben Fiber inspires a lot of confidence in regards to strength under the packstraps.
The "Storm" black cuben fiber is dead sexy!
The cape came un-seam sealed so that will be my first task.
My intention is to use this cape in conjunction with my golite umbrella for rain protection.Trail Lite Designs Cloud CapeTrail Lite Designs Cloud Cape BackTrail Lite Designs Cloud Cape Front

Edited by Ice-axe on 03/11/2011 15:18:31 MST.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Cool on 03/11/2011 15:19:25 MST Print View

Thanks for posting. Looks great?

Looking forward to your report from the field.


Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Short sleeves? on 03/11/2011 19:43:45 MST Print View

I wonder why the cape has short sleeves? It would work if your shirt is also short-sleeved, but for those of us who live in areas where it can be 35 degrees and raining and we're wearing long-sleeved base layers, the water landing on the unprotected long sleeves would just wick up into the body of the shirt.

Maybe there will be short and long-sleeved versions? Please?

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Short sleeves? on 03/11/2011 19:46:30 MST Print View

the short sleeves will help with breathability. cuben wont breath. u could just wear your wind shirt underneath to add more protection to your arms.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
short sleeves on 03/11/2011 20:05:30 MST Print View

Thanks, Robert. I just looked at the website and realized they're intentionally short-sleeved because they don't breathe and are meant for mild temperatures. I'm pretty sure I need one anyway!

Edited by rosierabbit on 03/11/2011 20:06:13 MST.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
prototype on 03/11/2011 21:04:06 MST Print View

I emailed Joe asking about the sleeves, and with lightning speed he replied and said the picture on his website is of a prototype. The real ones have sleeves a few inches longer.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
TrailLite Designs CloudCape on 03/11/2011 21:36:16 MST Print View

Thanks for posting the pictures and your description. I will look forward to reading your review.

PM on the way.

TrailLite Designs

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
review on 03/11/2011 22:41:16 MST Print View

i too am interested in a review. he states that arms, neck, and torso should stay loose for ventilation, but the problem i saw with that was that my pack will basically create a seal at least at my waist and arms. i'd like to see how this works when you're out working. walking fast

a b
TrailLite Designs Cloud Cape on 03/11/2011 22:54:58 MST Print View

I have thought about the sleeve thing a lot.
I used Marmot Precip jackets on the PCT and CDT. Then a generic brand Rain Jacket. Then a poncho and umbrella.
Actually the Cloud Cape will be replacing my poncho which did not have sleeves either.
For mild temperatures i will just let my arms get wet. I will still be using the cape with my umbrella when the situation permits but wind, trail brush, etc. might mean I am just wearing the cape by itself.
My plan for potential cold rain or snow will be to use my tyvek windshirt underneath the Cloud Cape.
Although it's not waterproof the Tyvek doesn't absorb water and will shed wind and blunt the effect of cold rain and cold water from brush(like the PCT in Washington).
I don't ever intend to wear my insulation layers under the Cape(while hiking) anyways unless it gets truly cold. On the CDT everytime i wore my puffy down under my precip jacket it got soaked though in short order.
Better to hike hard and fast to stay warm and save the insulation for breaks and camp. At least thats the strategy that has worked best for me on the western trails. I will need to be open minded about the AT and adapt.
However i will "push the envelope" when the situation permits and see how this cape works with an insulation layer under it(Montebell Thermawrap synthetic) at some point on the AT.. maybe the Smokey Mountains will give me that chance early on in the hike.
The full length zippered front and short sleeves seem like ventilation will be superb despite the non-breathable cuben.
So I am not looking to this garment to be the silver bullet and solve all my rain problems. I do think it can be a better compromise than what i have used in the past.
Hey.. time will tell how the strategy works. I fly out for the AT on Monday!

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Beautiful.... on 03/12/2011 00:51:28 MST Print View

The Cape looks absolutely gorgeous. It is dead sexy in that black!

I think Thom's designs are great, and look forward to adding more and more of his things to my collection. Lighter doesn't always have to mean can be better!

(Wow...a new career in advertising jingles)...