After finding out my old jacket was no longer waterproof I started the search for a new one. I hadn’t got very far with my research when I stumbled across the Traverse jacket in Macpac. It was light, orange, on sale and, most of all, waterproof so I had to get it.
Here’s a bit of a review:
Material: It is made of eVent fabric, which is like “the new gortex”, . . except lighter and more breathable. It has no internal lining (so is just a shell) except for a small section of fleece on the inside of the neck. It has extra strength (3 layered?) shoulders which should be particularly good for durability under a pack. It also seems to have extra layering on the inside of the arm near the cuff. I’m assuming this as there is a patch the same colour as the shoulder patch!
Construction: There are no vents or pit zips, which may cause it to get a bit steamy inside with both a chest and waist strap done up, but hopefully the “incredible breathability” of the eVent fabric helps this. The zip has no cover on the outside, but there is a large overlap on the inside for additional waterproofing.
There is one pocket, up high on the left breast. It is waterproof, with a the zip pulling up into a snug little cover to keep the water from running into it. It is a reasonable size, and can fit phone, keys etc, it is a tight fit and I would generally classify this as “close to useless”. I find waist pockets much more useful in general, although they also become “close to useless” once I have a waist strap on.
The hood can be tucked away into the collar, which makes the collar a bit high and stiff, but I think this will improve with age. The fact is, this is a feature I could’ve done without because if I don’t need the hood, then it’s not raining and I either won’t be wearing the jacket or it won’t matter if the hood if hanging out.
The hood joins the jacket inside the zip (to tuck it away), but it butts up so closely to the zip that I don’t think any water would be able to pool there.
The brim on the hood is quite stiff (with wire reinforcing apparently) and is a good shape. Actually the entire hood seems to be really well designed. It is comfortable and sits high and wide enough that I have really good field of vision (without having to contort my neck to peer out under the hood). Despite this, it also keeps all of the rain out! Very impressive and a really nice surprise.
Length seems very good. Not too long but enough overlap with pants to maintain waterproofness.
Weight/Size: I weighed mine (size 12) at 334g. I haven’t tried to pack it right down yet but expect it will be small, but not as compact as my previous jacket. The material and hood is stiffer and more substantial.
Wearing: Firstly, it is waterproof. First initial testing (brand new, ~1 hr of moderate rain) had the rain beading off it and no wetting out or dampness, even from around the hood/neck. It is comfortable and not “swishy” (at least not that I noticed). The hood is amazing. I’ll need more testing to see how it is with a pack and with more strenuous walking.
In summary, this looks like it will be an excellent hiking jacket. Waterproof, lightweight, comfortable and with an excellent hood design (sorry for repeating myself – I’m blown away by how much I could see out of the hood without getting wet and without having to fiddle with it all the time). It is not as good for tourist/social use – I would much prefer waist pockets and it is a little stiff (this may change as it ages). I probably would’ve gone with a more subtle colour if I was planning to wear it as a social rain jacket too!! My old jacket was a lovely green and white, with a very soft feeling and looking fabric, with a less obtrusive hood. Clearly these are minor points though and I’m very happy with the Traverse (and I’m sure it will get worn to all sorts of social occasions anyway!).
I’ll try to add some more photos later. In the meantime, here is a photo of my old jacket (Mammut, but I don’t know the ‘model’), . . . and who doesn’t want to see a picture of some reindeer in the Cairngorms??