Integral Designs Dolomitti Jacket REVIEW

Product performance review of the Integral Designs Dolomitti jacket, a lightweight synthetic insulated backpacking jacket.

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by Doug Johnson | 2005-02-22 03:00:00-07

Overview

Integral Designs Dolomitti Jacket - 1
The author enjoying his Integral Designs Dolomitti jacket in good testing conditions, Cascade Range, Washington

The Integral Designs Dolomitti jacket is a lightweight 1.5-pound cold weather synthetic parka. It works well when belaying in the cold, hanging around camp, or spending a freezing night in a bivouac. While it can be layered under a roomy shell, its water-resistant and windproof Pertex shell and roomy cut make throwing it on outside of a shell a good, and convenient, option. The Dolomitti has many usable features including reinforced shoulders, elbows, and pocket covers, one-handed drawcords, generous pockets, and a warm, zip-off hood that can accommodate a climbing helmet or cinch down to a small breathing hole. This jacket is perfect for cold, humid environments and is well constructed.

In Brief

  • Highly breathable Pertex shell with DWR sheds light rain, sleet, and snow, though it is not waterproof
  • Over 1 inch of single-layer loft from Primaloft Sport insulation
  • Removable, insulated hood
  • Reinforced shoulders, elbows, and pocket covers
  • Generous pockets
  • High quality construction

Specifications

• Garment Style

Full zip, high-loft, synthetic hooded jacket

• Fabric Description

Pertex P565 microfiber shell with Teflon DWR

• Insulation Description

5.0 oz/yd2 (170 g/m2) Primaloft Sport throughout

• Other Features

Two zippered, external, and insulated handwarmer pockets with Taslan-reinforced weather flaps and one large, zippered inside pocket that can accommodate a 1-liter water bottle. Taslan-reinforced shoulders and elbows and snug-fitting Spandura cuffs. The hood easily fits over a climbing helmet.

• Weight

1 lb 11.3 oz (775 g) as measured, size men's L; 1 lb 8.0 oz (680 g) manufacturer specification

• Loft

1.1 in (2.8 cm) single layer loft

• Model Year

2004

• MSRP

$180.00 Manufacturer's suggested retail price

Warmth

The Dolomitti jacket kept me warm throughout my testing. When stationary in sub-freezing temperatures, I remained warm and comfortable, especially with the hood sealed. When wearing damp base layers in this same situation, the jacket quickly warmed me and helped to dry the inner layer. When hiking uphill with a 20-pound pack, in the same weather conditions, the jacket quickly became too warm. This is definitely not a jacket for aerobic activities but it does an excellent job keeping you warm when your heart rate is down.

One night I slept under a tarp wearing the Dolomitti in a severely underrated, 40 °F bag. There was a slight breeze and no precipitation with temperatures starting at 32 ° F and dropping to 25 °F through the night. To replicate a bivy situation, I wore only base and lightweight shell layers in addition to the jacket. Cinching the generous hood to a small opening, I settled in, and despite being a relatively cold sleeper, I slept warm throughout the night and awoke fairly rested. I would trust this combination to pass the night in colder conditions as well.

To regulate temperature, the Dolomitti has a full-length front zipper (with internal zipper wind cover), two single-handed waist drawcords, and a removable zip-off hood. It also features two one-handed hood drawcords that allow the user to cinch the hood down to a tiny opening like a sleeping bag for bivouac situations. The Dolomitti is cut medium-long and covers about half of the butt.

Storm resistance

The Dolomitti provided good weather resistance in the field. Although it is not a waterproof garment, the jacket performed well in precipitation, shedding drizzle and snow quite well. When the rain turned to downpour and slush conditions, the insulation did get wet but still retained the majority of its loft. (In another test at home, however, I found that more than half of the loft is lost when the jacket is completely soaked.) When a break in the weather finally came, the Primaloft insulation had retained less water than a Polarguard 3D insulated jacket and dried out more quickly. When subjected to rain and slush, the inner storm flap kept out the moisture as well as the rest of the jacket, despite the non-waterproof zipper. During times of freezing winds and blowing snow above the treeline, cuffs and hem drawcords sealed the jacket very well. The hood also did a good job in these situations but restricted vision significantly when cinched. When remaining stationary in the cold for long periods of time I stayed quite warm - this jacket was an excellent companion in these winter conditions.

In winter conditions of below freezing temperature with falling snow, I found hiking in moderate conditions of terrain and snow depth with a pack on to be quite comfortable in the Dolomitti. I was surprised at how well the insulation and shell fabrics transported moisture when my exertion level rose and I was sweating hard (e.g., snowshoeing uphill in deep snow). While the jacket was damp at the end of my climb, it had transported most of the moisture. When I stopped moving, the jacket dried fairly quickly. During another test on the same day, I soaked and wrung out a Capilene base layer and then put the Dolomitti over the top and found that after 15 minutes of hiking, the base layer had completely dried.

Usability

Integral Designs Dolomitti Jacket - 2
The Dolomitti hood provides good face coverage and weather protection.

The Integral Designs jacket features two zippered external and insulated handwarmer pockets with Taslan-reinforced weather flaps and one large zippered inside pocket that can accommodate a 1-liter water bottle. The jacket has Taslan-reinforced shoulders and elbows and snug-fitting Spandura cuffs. The hood easily fits over a climbing helmet.

The Dolomitti jacket showed minimal wear after two months of hard testing. After several washings and soakings, the durable water-repellent coating had worn significantly but could easily be restored with an aftermarket product such as Revivex. While previous longer-term tests found that the Primaloft insulation lost significant loft over time (up to 25%), I did not experience any loss of insulation on this shorter test. However, durability of Primaloft insulation is a concern. During this test, I had no problem with shell fabric durability - it looks just as new as the day it arrived. The Pertex fabric is not designed for abrasion-resistance, but the Taslan reinforcements are in the right places to add to the life of the jacket. The larger YKK zipper never iced up and I appreciated its size for long-term reliability.

The sleeves of the Dolomitti are long enough for most activities but pull at the cuffs when the hands are raised overhead or arms are crossed and don't allow hands to be withdrawn inside. The lack of articulation in the cut causes the sleeves to pull slightly at the wrists when bending at the elbows. Raising my hands overhead caused the jacket to pull up at the waist. The hood is cut like a sleeping bag's and, while quite comfortable and warm when sleeping, doesn't follow the head when turning. (This improved when wearing a climbing helmet because it created a more secure fit.) That said, when using the jacket for its intended purpose of belay situations, bivouacs, hanging around winter camps, and warming up during cold climbing sections, the jacket's fit was just fine and allowed for all normal movements without being excessively baggy.

Value

The Dolomitti Jacket is an excellent performer. At just above 1.5 pounds, it gives a lot of synthetic warmth for its weight. It is also durable with well-designed features that make it quite versatile. Coupling these factors along with its moderate price tag makes it an excellent value.

Recommendations for Improvement

While I appreciated its roominess for layering over a shell, it was a bit roomy for my regular build. A more athletic cut in the torso would offer more warmth and still leave room for layering. The hood was very warm and spacious; a Velcro adjustment at the rear would allow adjustment for better visibility when using the jacket on the move.


Citation

"Integral Designs Dolomitti Jacket REVIEW," by Doug Johnson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/integral_designs_dolomitti_jacket_review.html, 2005-02-22 03:00:00-07.

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