November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter

Reader Reviews

Add your own review

GoLite Virga

in Clothing - Raingear

Average Rating
4.14 / 5 (7 reviews)

Display Avatars Sort By:
Roger B
( rogerb )

Here and there
GoLite Virga on 10/21/2006 17:43:20 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Just back from a wet week on the long trail in Vermont, this jacket works as a rain jacket and as a windshirt. Whilst it may not be as breathable as an eVent jacket I was more than happy to use it as both the rain jacket and the windshirt, especially as I was carrying a Montane Lite-Speed Jacket in my pack.

I would give it a 5 once someone can explain to me why it has one zippered pocket on the right hand side and a mesh pocket on the inside on the right as well, what about my left hand?

Also the pocket is not much use when I have a pack on.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Montane Lite-Speed Jacket - Men's priced at: $84.00 - $99.00
Montane Lite-Speed Jacket - Women's priced at: $28.19 - $84.00
Shop GoLite products at GearBuyer
Don Wilson
( don - M )

Koyukuk River, Alaska
Virga - more to come on 10/24/2006 20:24:52 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

We'll be taking a closer look at the Virga in the near future.

But the prototype version we tested was an exceptionally light jacket at 6 ounces, and performed reasonably well. It is lacking in durability, but its light weight was worth some sacrifice. The production version has more features and more weight, so I hope to balance the features versus the additional weight in an upcoming review.

Ryan Jordan
( ryan - BPL STAFF - M )

Greater Yellowstone
Virga Prototype on 10/25/2006 14:13:16 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

My Virga is the pre-production model, I think the same one Don had; 6 oz jacket, no pockets, straight hem, 2 layer fabric. I think the production model will be 2.5 layer and have a pocket.

I used it on a 185 mile walk in the Western Arctic this spring and found the fabric to be on the less breathable side of breathability, at least relative to Gore-Tex XCR and eVENT. It felt less breathable than the Patagonia Specter pullover, which I have a lot of experience with.

The jacket's simplicity and 6 ounce weight are terrific, but the production version gains a pocket, different fabric, and gets bloated to 8 oz. After I have a chance to review that, I'll come change this review to reflect the new product.

For 6 oz, the jacket did exactly what I want an ultralight rain jacket to do: give me rain and high wind protection.

It does not afford me the ability to leave a wind shirt at home, hence the "4" rating instead of a "5". No rain jacket can do this yet.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Patagonia Specter - Men's priced at: $74.99 - $125.00
Patagonia Specter - Women's priced at: $62.50 - $125.00
Shop Arctic, Gore-Tex, Western products at GearBuyer
Ryan P. Murphy
( rmurphy - M )

Great jacket for the weight and price on 07/15/2007 21:34:49 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I've had a virga for about 4 months now. It's the production virga with the two low-mounted side pockets (handwarmer style). The jacket compresses to about the size of a grapefruit. The jacket is not as breathable as my goretex xcr mountaineering shell but seems to be more breathable than my old EMS thunderhead stretch.

Fit: Size small fits me well (I'm 5'8", 130lbs). The elastic cuffs seal effectively against the rain without feeling constrictive and allow me to layer underneath. I've worn a lightweight icebreaker short sleeve, silkweight capilene longsleeve, and patagonia micropuff pullover under this jacket; there wasn't much room to spare but the jacket did not feel overly tight. The non-adjustable hood seals around the face well and the small brim keeps water acceptably off the face (although if it's REALLY raining and windy you might want a hat underneath). In windy conditions I find that that jacket must be zipped up entirely for the hood to stay on the head due to its lack of adjustability but this is true of all non-adjustable hoods I've used. Also in high winds the storm flap (which has no method of keeping it closed over the zipper) will often blow back from the zipper, leaving the zipper exposed to the elements. I have yet to have water get in the zipper but nonetheless it might be worthwile to add a small velcro dot at the bottom and top of the zipper.

Performance: I have worn the jacket in continuous driving rain and it kept me almost entirely dry. I'll get a wet forehead in these conditions due to the small hood brim but did not find this to be a problem. When wearing the jacket with a t-shirt underneath the material feels damp in clammy in wet conditions, but again I've found this to be true of any 2 1/2 layer WPB. For its thin material I would expect the jacket to feel clammier than it does.
My only 'real' complaint about the jacket is that during active hiking/warm weather with wind the jacket must be zipped fully to keep the hood securely on the head. Under these conditions I would prefer to keep the jacket open at the neck for venting but if it's windy the hood will usually blow off the head in this case. This is a result of the non-adjustable hood and is a sacrifice to be made for the jacket's low weight. (I'm actually quite pleased with how well the hood fits and seals the head in).

About the pockets: The packets are at both sides at the hip and have very small zips. The zips can be finicky and sometimes require 2 hands to open. The bottom of the pockets fall pretty much at the bottom hem and anything in the pockets falls right at my hip, this is annoying when wearing a waistbelt. The large pocket size also means items sometimes swing around in the pockets while walking, again a minor annoyance. A nice feature of the pockets is that they are fully mesh lined and the tops are not sewn accross the outer shell material. This means that the enclosed zip pockets form large open-top interior mesh pockets that are handy for putting damp socks or hats into to help dry them off.

Overall the jacket is the best weight to performance value I have found. It has an acceptably light weight with 2 pockets (some like them, some don't) and all for under $100.

Mark Larson
( mlarson )

Southeast USA
Fantastic value on 07/18/2007 08:18:17 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Used this one on the AT this summer. My particular model has 1 large pocket on the right-hand side. I accidentally purchased a Small @ 8.1oz, but it ended up working out just fine for size [5'11, 145lbs]. Good coverage and flexibility all the way around. My only concern is the narrow storm flap, which can be slightly susceptible to very heavy winds from the right. At $80 or so, it might be the best value out there for woven fabric coats.

Mike Clelland
( mikeclelland - M )

The Tetons (via Idaho)
GoLite Virga on 08/21/2007 20:38:52 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have used the VIRGA extensivly, and think it's pretty close to perfect.

There isn't ANYTHING on the market that is so light, and so inexpensive.

My XL size weighs 10.1 oz.

I have two pockets with tiny zippers and mesh interior. I can walk with my hands in there. The mesh creates an inside stow pocket, so, it has FOUR pockets (sorta).

Hood works fine.

I don't sweat much, so breathability isn't a problem. And, I sleep in it for two weeks at a time, and it breaths fine in my quilt.

I have heard some folks complant the front zipper is too dinky and it breaks. I am careful and it's just fine. Thay are blaming GoLite for their ham-handedness.

That said, I use it mainly in the northern rockies, where it will usually stop raining, eventually. I don't know if I would use it in the Olympics, but maybe....

Shop GoLite products at GearBuyer
dave hollin
( backpackbrewer )

Deepest darkest Wales, boyo
its good but not awesome on 08/30/2008 08:09:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I know I am bucking the trend here by making a few criticisms and downmarking the jacket but I am on the cusp of a 4 mark but just cant justify it. It is a nice jacket and very light but I feel it is let down in a couple of respects.

1. the hood is pants. Not adjustable, no wire peak and to make it worse you have to have the jacket done full up

2. it is not that breathable tbh. In the summer I am bathed in sweat wearing this and feels quite clammy

Yes its lightweght, yes its a nice fit and does a basic job but I feel that there are better jackets out there for similar weights. I rate the Montane Atomic DT as a better jacket because
it does have a better hood and is more breathable

It was cheap so perhaps I am being over critical but it just doesnt ring my bell

Edited by backpackbrewer on 08/30/2008 08:10:38 MDT.

Shop Atomic, Montane products at GearBuyer

Add your own review