Rating: 5 / 5
This parka is a great bargain at $79. for regular sizes and $89. for tall sizes considering other Pac Lite parkas sell for over $200.!
The outer fabric appears to be a non-shiny "Taslanized" light but durable nylon. I prefer that subdued fabric finish to the shiny and noisier ripstop fabric of other name brand PacLite parkas.
There are many thoughtful details such as elasticized hood face drawcords W/ fabric loops to capture the ends of the cords so wind doesn't whip them into your face.
The hood also has an elasticized drawcord at the back to improve perphiral vision. This cord, like the face cords, can be operated one-handed because the cord locks are tethered. The hood is a five piece hood that fits well and could acomodate a climbing helmet.
At the hem are two drawcords with one-handed, tethered cord locks at each side. I purchased a size Tall because I wanted the extra hem length to cover my butt. My size Tall, Large measures 32" from the neck seam to the hem and, for UL packers like myself, who must know the weight, it weighs only 15.8 oz. This is even lighter than a comparable sized "better" version of the $60. Frogg Toggs' parka, and the Rainy River parka is much more durable.
The one way zipper has just two snaps, top and bottom. Though the zipper is covered with a generous storm flap and has an inner flap with a doubled back edge I am thinking of installing one or two more snaps on the outer flap. There is a nice light fleece covering the chin area on the inside of the inner flap.
Two slanted front pockets with generous flaps are located high enough to clear your pack's waist belt. The pockets are lined with mesh and will double as vents when the zippers are left open. You'll need to use them as vents because there are no pit zips. Whaddya want for $79.?
Wrist closures are elasticized with Velcro flaps to secure them. One can get a VERY tight closure if needed to keep rain from running up a raised arm, or, left open, they vent well.
A direct comparison with my old REI three layer laminate Gore-Tex lightweight rain parka: The Rainy River parka, with the new Gore-Tex PacLite laminate, breathes a bit better and has the same good waterproofness as the old parka but is about 2 oz. lighter even though it is one size larger and one size taller.
With five colors and many sizes to choose from everyone should find something to suit their taste. All in all I'm very satisfied with this parka though the PacLite inner lining/laminate is a bit clammy on bare arms, a characteristic of any PacLite parka. This is a great deal for a high quality piece of gear from a company that stands 100% behind every purchase.
Companion Rainy River PacLite pants with knee-high side zips sell for the same price. Yet another good deal.