Kathy, et al:
Here is my Field Report on the Obermeyer Kestral jacket. The HTML file is available for your review and comment via this link:
and the text version is included below as well.
Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions. Ryan
February 3, 2013
Field Locations and Test Conditions:
I wore the Kestral approximately thirty days in southeastern Idaho to/from work, shoveling snow and kicking about during the test period. During this time period, we had approximately twenty or so sub-zero (-18+ C) days; the coldest being -21 F (-29 C) with wind gusts up to 20 mph (32 km/h) yielding a Wind Chill Index of -49.55 F (-45 C).
The Kelly Canyon Nordic Area, which is located 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho in the Targhee National Forest. The Nordic Area starts at an elevation of approximately 5,900 ft (1,798 m) and reaches elevations of 6,700 ft (2,042 m). With poor early snowfall, the warming hut was not set up until the end of December. I only made one overnight trip in January (have several planned for February). We began skiing to the warming hut about 8:00 p.m. MST. The temperature at the time we began skiing was in the upper 20's (26 to 28 F or -3 to -2 C) and there was no wind. There was about an inch (2.5 cm) of new, wet snow since the last skiers. My guess is that overnight low temperature was in the low teens (12 to 14 F or -11 to -10 C). Other than some fog, it was a great night for skiing. Coming out in the morning, the temperature was a little warmer and thus the snow was a bit sticky. However, the fog was gone and therefore another great day for
Temperatures during this phase of the test have been crazy; the coldest being -21 F (-29 C) with wind gusts up to 20 mph (32 km/h) yielding a Wind Chill Index of -49.55 F (-45 C) and the warmest being 54 F (12 C). I only wore the Kestral when the temperature was below 35 F (1.7 C). The Kestral performed well, especially on the colder days. On the windiest days, I wore the hood as well. The jacket did a fine job of keeping me warm, and the cold and wind out. I was impressed with how warm the Kestral kept me the day the wind chill index was -49.55 F (-45 C).
With the temperature in the upper 20's (26 to 28 F or -3 to -2 C) when we started skiing into the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area warming hut, I wore the Kestral over a merino wool/polyester performance base layer on my overnight cross-country ski outing. I also wore a merino wool beanie and ski gloves with Thinsulate. I carried my phone and camera in the Napoleon pocket over the right breast. The gusseted hook and loop closure on each cuff kept the sleeves securely around my gloves. The articulated elbows provided unrestricted movement. After about ten minutes of skiing uphill, while carrying a 75L backpack, I unzipped both pit zips and the front zipper to increase ventilation. After another ten minutes or so of skiing, I needed to shed the Kestral altogether. It was just too warm! I was not able to get enough ventilation through the front and pits to keep up with my sweating. Once we arrived at the hut, I donned the Kestral while we built a fire and gathered
the fixings for our dinner. The jacket kept me comfortably warm while performing these camp chores. I also wore the jacket in the morning, as evidenced in the photo on the right, before we started skiing. However, it was as warm, or warmer, than it was the night before. So, I chose to wear a lighter weight softshell, which proved to be just right for the temperature and aerobic level.
Fortunately, I did not fall while wearing the Kestral. Unfortunately, I was therefore not able to test how well the stretch fleece inner cuffs and powder skirt keep the snow out. Maybe I'll get a chance to test these during the long-term test phase.
The jacket fits me nicely around the neck and through the shoulders and torso. The sleeves are a bit long, but not outrageously so. The tail extends long enough to help keep my big behind warm and dry. The jacket does not bind in the shoulders/pits, even when worn under my 75L backpack. There are no loose threads, runs in the polyester shell, or other flaws in the material and the zippers work smoothly. The Napoleon pocket with its waterproof zipper kept my phone and camera both dry and secure.
I have worn the Kestral approximately thirty days thus far. It has performed very well to this point; even on the twenty or so sub-zero (-18+ C) days during this test period. The coldest of those days was -21 F (-29.4 C) with wind gusts up to 20 mph (32.2 km/h).
Pros Thus Far:
feel of shell fabric
fully seam sealed
detachable, adjustable hood
Cons Thus Far:
nothing at this time
This concludes my Field Report on the Obermeyer Kestral jacket. Please check back in two months for my final test results. Thanks to Obermeyer and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test series.
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