PRODUCT: EMS Primaloft Sweater
NAME: Jonathan Guessford
HEIGHT; 6 foot 2 inches
WEIGHT: 230 pounds
LOCATION: Smyrna Delaware USA
DATE: November 30, 2002
I have been backpacking for ten years and have been somewhat of a
Jardinite for the past four years. Most of my experience has been in
Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. I am inherently lazy yet I
love to hike so the compromise has been pack weight slashing. I
would now fall into the ultra light category. I am also an avid
winter trekker, as I love the cold.
PRODUCT: EMS Primaloft Sweater
MANUFACTURER: Eastern Mountain Sports
YEAR OF MANUFACTURE: 2001
WEB ADDRESS: http://www.ems.com
MFG. WEIGHT: n/a
WEIGHT AS TESTED: 1 pound 8.97 ounces
PRODUCT TYPE: Synthetic fill, nylon shelled, proprietary coated
inner/ outer jacket
The jacket was field tested in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,
the Dolly Sods region of West Virginia and on the streets of
Manhattan. The temperatures ranged from a high of 40 degrees
Fahrenheit to a low of 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
I was reading a review in a back issue of Backpacker Magazine where
the gear testers were raving about the warmth and compressibility of
a primaloft sweater made by Eastern Mountain Sports, when my eye
immediately caught the tested weight of 13 ounces for a men's medium.
I thought yippee a large should weigh less than a pound. Finally, I
could retire my bulky fleece and reduce pack weight and volume while
gaining warmth. Hell, it even had a full hood!
The nightly dreams of retiring the fleece began and I was waking my
girlfriend blabbering about halving volume and doubling warmth....
the lack of sleep had her contemplating suicide! She came upon a more
reasonable solution.... She gave me the jacket as a gift! But alas,
it was not to be. The jacket I was holding weighed in at 1 pound and
nearly 9 ounces. I was in frenzy when the realization struck: The
rest of the Backpacker review complained of the lack of pit zips and
how nice a detachable hood would be. EMS listened and here I was
holding the new and supposedly better jacket.
I knew I had better be wearing this jacket and loading it into the
pack for my upcoming trip or the little lady would be contemplating
homicide rather than suicide! So here goes, the net results of the
testing are as follows: The jacket shed light rain in the Blue Ridge
like frog skin and it stopped the fierce winds of Dolly Sods without
missing a beat. It was toasty warm for a weekend jaunt to Manhattan
to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and easily survived a snowball
fight in Central Park. What of the bells and whistles inspired by
Backpacker Magazine? The pit zips were used only in the city where,
according to my girlfriend, a sane man keeps his jacket zippered in
the winter. I utilized the pit zips and remained well ventilated
while the little lady remained happy. The hood was never detached.
The jacket was warm with strong winds and a temperature of 10 degrees
Fahrenheit during aerobic activity and I found it to be comfortable
while lounging at camp to about 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The hood
cinched evenly around my head and fit easily over my Turtle Fur
fleece cap. The sleeves have hook and loop fasteners to seal out
light rain and wind. An inner zipped stuff pocket easily accommodates
the jacket. The zippers work smoothly without catching and the
stitching quality is comparable to Patagonia. Overall, the jacket is
well made and I noticed no excess wear from use and the rip stop
nylon shell should handle any minor punctures with ease.
In conclusion, while the jacket was warm and functional, it simply
weighs too much to be considered for an ultra light load. Other
products in the price range cater to the ultralighter such as the
Montbell UL down Inner. It is, however: a fine jacket for the price
and an individual carrying a more conventional load would most likely
find it to be superior to even the newer windstopper fleeces.