Repost - OR - Red Ledge Gauntlet Jacket - Chris Cappetta
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Red Ledge Gauntlet Jacket
Owner Review by Chris Cappetta
18 April, 2011
Name: Chris Cappetta
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.9 m)
Weight: 215 lb (97 kg)
Email address: christopher.cappetta@...
City, State, Country: Crested Butte, Colorado, USA
Backpacking Background: I am a student at Western State College of Colorado,
getting my degree in outdoor leadership. I spend a lot of time in the Elk
and San Juan ranges of the Rockies in both the summer and winter. My trips
are generally a day to a week in mountainous terrain. Weather fluctuates
drastically and snow can be a consideration at any time of year. I have been
backpacking with 40-50 lb (18-22 kg) packs for the past two years in almost
exclusively mountainous terrain ranging from 8,000-14,000 ft (2,500-4,500
m). I am currently making the transition to lightweight gear.
Photo from the Red Ledge Website
Manufacturer- Red Ledge
Year of manufacture- 2009
Listed weight- 1lb 6.7 oz (652 g). This measurement is for a size Medium.
Red Ledge does not specify the weight for size XL
Weight as delivered- 1 lb 12 oz (800 g) size XL.
Description: The Red Ledge Gauntlet is a waterproof, windproof outer shell.
It is slightly thicker than some purely rain shells and it served as my
primary shell throughout the past year in the high Rockies. It has a hood
with a sun visor, but does not have a powder skirt. It has two external hip
pockets that zip, and no chest or interior pockets. The hip pockets are
spacious, and in a pinch I am able to fit a lightweight, long-sleeve
mid-layer inside; though it does bulge drastically and throw off the fit of
Experience with the product:
I bought this jacket on a fishing trip in Kodiak, Alaska last summer. I
immediately put it through a pretty bad 2-day storm on the deck of a boat in
the Gulf of Alaska. It performed admirably and I was immediately happy to
notice that I could operate the zipper with my gloves on. The fit and
material is comfortable and the wrist design is snug but not tight.
It then came back to Colorado with me and served as my primary rain layer
for the rest of the summer of heavy backpacking. When an afternoon hail
storm materializes over the ridge at 13,000 ft (4000 m) the extra thickness
of the Gauntlet is nice to have.
Through the winter the Gauntlet was still very good in a layering system. On
the relatively warm days (above 15 F/-10 C) the Gauntlet and a medium weight
base layer served as my ski system, and on the colder nights (as low as -40
F/C) it was layered with fleece and a medium weight base layer to good
effect. Note: a dry sunny 15 F (-10 C) in Colorado doesn't feel as cold as
the same thermometer temperature in more humid climates, adjust accordingly.
The Gauntlet was less expensive than similar jackets by more renowned
companies, but I have been extremely impressed with its performance and
durability through a year of tough use and especially through a rigorous 80+
days on skis this winter.
Tested in Colorado, Alaska
Terrain- I've worn this jacket on the deck of a fishing boat for extended
periods of foul weather in the Gulf of Alaska, and on multiple backpacking
and overnight ski touring trips in the Elk and San Juan ranges of the
Colorado Rockies. The Gauntlet also served as my primary outer layer 60+
days in bounds at Crested Butte Ski Area, which is a tough mountain on gear.
Weather conditions- In Alaska the weather was pretty horrible. It was
pouring rain and sleet for two days and we were on the deck of a fishing
boat all day. The Gauntlet hood was snug and comfortable and the
waterproofing proved itself immediately. The temperature was 30-40 F (0-10
C) both days; but the strong wind, rain, and sleet were trying. I had the
Gauntlet layered with a fleece for most of that trip, and was surprised at
how protected from the elements I was.
In Colorado the Gauntlet faced the gamut of weather conditions. It pretty
much always stayed rolled up and easy to grab on the top of my pack during
single and multi day summer trips. It came into use often, especially during
August when strong afternoon thunderstorms are almost the rule in our area.
The temperatures in the summer range from 20 F (-7 C) some nights to 90 F
(33 C) on hot days. The Gauntlet was my daytime foul weather layer by itself
and often layered with a fleece at night. I generally hiked in light layers
with this jacket easily accessible in my pack, because I would overheat and
end up sweating with it on. I would say this jacket is quite breathable for
its thickness, but definitely not as breathable as a lightweight,
rain-specific shell. On particularly cold nights I've included the Gauntlet
in my sleep system.
The Gauntlet became my snow jacket during the winter and faced extremely
cold temperatures and harsh mountain storms. The lack of a powder skirt
wasn't much of a problem while skiing because of a good draw cord at the
bottom hem. Even during the most dynamic movements the fit was comfortable
I had a hard time finding pictures of me wearing this jacket, because it
usually comes out in weather that isn't agreeable with cameras. Here it is
strapped on for very easy access on a 2 day 32 Mile (50 km) trip through the
Maroon Bells Wilderness Area. The weather all day had been very patchy,
quick moving, thunderstorms. This is the route up to Trailrider Pass from
the Aspen side with Snowmass Peak in the background.
To summarize, I have been very impressed with the Gauntlet over the past
year of heavy use. It shows no real signs of damage after more than a few
battles with jagged rocks and clawing branches. I do find that I need to be
very precise with layers while wearing this jacket. It seems to trap a lot
of heat and doesn't breathe as well as a lighter rain-specific layer. I
generally hike in very light base layers and only pull this jacket out when
the weather gets nasty. If I have too many layers under the Gauntlet, I
quickly find myself sweaty with light exertion. I notice this mostly when I
start out on a cold morning with my warm fleece underneath. When backpacking
in an alpine climate where I need a relatively lightweight shell suitable
for rain, wind, or snow the Gauntlet is in its element. If I'm looking for a
milder temperature jacket, for wear during hard hiking, the Gauntlet is too
much jacket for my needs (I reckon warmer than 45 F/ 12 C during active
use). Overall I've been impressed with how this jacket performs through some
positively dastardly conditions, and would definitely buy another.
Things I like:
Warm for its weight
Very wind, water, and snow proof.
The one thing I don't like:
Breathability compared to bringing a strict rain layer. On the other hand it
is much more breathable than most snow layers that I have worn.
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