by Don Wilson | 2006-02-13 03:00:00-07
For Fall 2006, GoLite introduces the Virga rain jacket, a simple jacket with few features, and weighing in at a mere 6 ounces. The limited features of the Virga include a full front zipper and storm flap and that's about it for high-end components. The rest of the jacket uses absolute minimal features to keep the weight as low as possible and includes elastic cuffs, elastic closures on the hood, no hem closure, no pockets, and GoLite's Alchemy 2 waterproof/breathable fabric. And perhaps best of all, the Virga carries an attractive price tag - only $80.
Alchemy 2 is GoLite's lightweight entry into waterproof/breathable fabrics. It has a ripstop nylon face fabric with DWR treatment, a microporous hydrophilic PU coating and a silk protein inner layer added to enhance vapor transmission and prevent clamminess. Breathability specifications on the Alchemy2 fabric indicate it is less breathable than eVent or Gore-Tex XCR, but more breathable than the Nanolite fabric in the new Sierra Designs Isotope. Alchemy2 has a breathability spec of 10000 g/m2/day, while eVent is 28000, Gore-Tex XCR is 21000 and the Sierra Designs Nanolite is 3000.
We saw an early Virga at the recent Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, but have not had one in the field yet. The fit seemed quite good on my torso, with generous sleeve length and pretty good torso length. The photo at right is a size large on a 6'4" frame. The simple hood closure consists of a two inch elastic section on each side of the hood. There are no adjustments in the hood, and it will not be as secure as more adjustable hoods in really nasty weather. If you are facing into a driving rain, it seems likely that some moisture will sneak in the sides of the hood, and the hood itself may blow off your head in heavy wind. There is no closure system or adjustments in the hem - something I don't mind at all as I rarely use this feature on most jackets. We will take the Virga out into the field this summer and report on its performance and durability. The Virga will be available in the fall and at only $80 is quite a deal. With the Virga, GoLite has created an attractive new option for ultralighter's looking for waterproof/breathable rainwear.
"GoLite Virga Rain Jacket SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Don Wilson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/golite_virga_rain_jacket_spotlite_review.html, 2006-02-13 03:00:00-07.