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Sierra Designs Isotope Jacket 2007

in Clothing - Raingear

Average Rating
3.00 / 5 (2 reviews)

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Jason A. Grafft
( jgrafft )

Inland Empire (of smog)
Sierra Designs Isotope Jacket 2007 on 04/19/2007 21:55:20 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Update: 9 May 2007

Sierra Designs evaluated and replaced the jacket. Their customer service was exceptional and incredibly responsive. I will continue to evaluate the performance and post any new findings.

Update: 21 April 2007

Sierra Designs customer service responded to my inquiry, saying: "We do not usually see any major damage happening after just one use, and so it may be a flaw in the coating." They have offered to evaluate and repair/replace the jacket. If this proves not to be a systemic problem, the jacket could easily be rated a "5" for its weight/performance ratio.

Original Post:

Used the Isotope Jacket continuously for two wet, cold, rainy nine hour days on the Superior Hiking Trail near the MN/Canada border between 31 March and 1 April 2007. It was exceptionally waterproof under all conditions, including downpour, and very comfortable fully zipped and cinched in the 35-45F temperature range at moderate exertion (~3mi/hour). High exertion such as climbing steep hills or long staircases required a few minutes of ventilation with the front zipper.

I wore the Isotope (Men's M, 5.0oz) layered over a Smartwool Microweight Crew (M, 6.2oz) and GoLite Kinetic Jacket (M, 14oz). No noticeable moisture buildup occurred over the two days, despite being unable to dry gear due to weather.

One problem was noted with the interior liner in areas of increased friction--notably the mid-back and shoulders--from my pack (17.23lbs with seven days of food, trip cut short due to injury):


Right anterior shoulder
Right anterior shoulder

This jacket was purchased new two weeks before the trip with no visible wear. I have contacted the manufacturer for comment.

Overall I was very impressed with the performance of this jacket, and sections with visible wear do not seem to impair performance. I rated it as a "4" due to the visible wear patterns appearing after only two days of use.

Edited by jgrafft on 05/08/2007 14:54:43 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Sierra Designs Isotope Jacket - Women's priced at: $76.99 - $97.95
SmartWool Crew - Boy's priced at: $39.50 - $50.00
SmartWool Crew - Kid's priced at: $34.99 - $50.00
SmartWool Liner - Men's priced at: $9.95 - $11.99
SmartWool Microweight Crew - Men's priced at: $55.30 - $74.95
SmartWool Microweight Crew - Women's priced at: $38.99 - $70.00
Shop GoLite, Kinetic, Superior products at GearBuyer
John Brochu
( JohnnyBgood4 )

New Hampshire
Not Durable and Poor Breathability on 07/03/2008 09:23:47 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

I bought this jacket a while back mostly to bring on longish alpine routes as a wind/emergency rain jacket. I've only actually used it climbing once, but have carried it up several climbs in my harness pack. I've always properly hung it dry in my gear storage area upon returning from my climbing trips.

This past weekend I used it for the first time extensively on a wet and rainy traverse of the Mahoosuc Range in Maine.

It doesn't seem to breath very well and compounding the issue there is no way to ventilate other than the front zip.

I understand in a jacket this light you are not going to find features such as pit zips so I can forgive that but the fabric itself seems to breath poorly.

My biggest issue with the jacket is that I experienced the same delaminating/fabric stretching as the previous reviewer. The jacket is completely trashed after one hard weekend.

At it's heaviest point on day one with a full food/fuel/water load my pack was 22 pounds which I don't believe should cause an unreasonable stress on the jacket.

Edited by JohnnyBgood4 on 07/03/2008 09:25:06 MDT.

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