I.R. Red Ledge Elite Parka- Ray Estrella
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Red Ledge Elite Parka
April 1 2006
Name: Raymond Estrella
Height: 6' 3" (193cm)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Email address: rayestrella@...
City: Huntington Beach
Backpacking Background: I have been hiking for over 30 years, all
over the state of California. I have also hiked in Washington,
Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, and Idaho. I hike year-round, mostly in
the Sierra Nevada, and put 555 miles (894 km) on my boots last
year. As I start my 4th decade of backpacking I am making the move
to lightweight gear, and smaller packs.
Manufacturer: Red Ledge
Web site: www.redledge.com
Product: Elite Parka
Year manufactured: 2006
MSRP: $110.00 (US)
Weight: 14.3 oz (405 g)
Color tested: Obsidian
Other colors available: Cinder/Smoke, Firefly/Quartz, Laser
Red/Cinder, Maritime, Vapor/Lagoon
Warranty: (Quoted from hang tag) "All Red Ledge products are fully
warranted to the original owner against defects in material and
The Elite Parka (hereafter called the parka or coat) came with a
hang tag attached to it. The tag has the model name and number,
size, color and suggested retail price on the outside. It also has
the warranty information on it. Inside of the tag is an insert
telling about the seam sealing process used in the construction of
Surprisingly there is no mention of the 2.5 Layer water-proof
breathable fabric that the parka is made of. The fabric is nylon
with a polyurethane membrane on the inside face.
The parka has a hood that rolls up and stores inside of the collar.
It has a reinforced brim that I think I will like. A drawstring run
around the opening and can be tightened to close the hood by pulling
a cord on either side of the parka below the collar. Another
drawstring accessed at the back of the hood adjusts it tighter to
the head. To the right is a picture of the hood taken out of the
The collar is lined with very soft Micro-tricot fleece. Attached to
the collar are a nylon hang loop, and two sewn-in tags. One has the
Red Ledge name and logo. The other tag has materials and washing
instructions. It is suggested to machine wash cold, gentle cycle
with mild detergent, and to line dry.
On the front of the parka are two pockets access by water-proof
welded zippers. The large pockets are made of mesh. It seems as
though I can get some add ventilation by unzipping these pockets.
A conventional style YKK zipper runs down the front of the parka. It
is protected from the elements by a flap both inside and outside of
the coat. A snap at the bottom helps to keep the parka closed.
Inside of the coat at the bottom is a drawstring, running through
two cord-locks, that can be adjusted from either side of the parka
inside of the body. It allows the coat to be tightened in windy
The sleeves end with a contoured cuff. They are longer at the back
of my hand than at my palm. The cuffs can be adjusted with the use
of Velcro closures. Under each sleeve is a 21" (53 cm) "pit-zip".
These zippers are used to ventilate the coat. The zippers have a
double shield as seen in the picture to the right. I have already
had problems with the zipper snagging on the inside shield. All of
the zippers have pull strings attached to them.
From my inspection of the parka, it seems to be very well made. The
stitching is all very nice. Every line of stitching has been seam-
taped on the inside. I will be surprised if this coat leaks.
I will take this coat along with me for all of this years hiking. We
will be in the Bristlecone Pine Forest at the end of May, and will
climb Mount Shasta in June. I have planed trips to San Jacinto in
July, a four or five day trip in the eastern Sierra in September,
and the southern half of the John Muir Trail in October. I do a lot
of over-nighters during the year also.
I always carry rain shell pants and coat on each trip. Not only do I
use them for protection from the elements, but also put them over a
fleece, or my down sweater to create a warm package.
Things I will be checking out will include the following.
Obviously, how well does the 2.5 fabric keep out moisture? If I have
to hike for five hours in a down-pour, is it going to keep me dry?
Will the waterproofing remain for the whole season of being stuffed
repeatedly into my packs? Will the seams stay sealed?
I am a hard sweating hiker. Will the breathable nature of the 2.5
fabric be able to keep up with me? It has pit-zips which should help
a lot, but are they easy to access? Will they snag? That has made me
retire a rain shell, and an arctic shell in the past.
How well do all the zippers work? Can I get them on fast when I need
to? Shasta will see the necessity of gloves. Will I be able to work
the zippers with them on?
Spring hiking means pushing through over-grown trails. Will the
Elites prove durable in the long run with this normal spring-time
abuse? Will they work in winter conditions?
Will they pack down compact? I try to keep volume down as much as
weight. So this will be looked at.
I would like to thank Red Ledge and BackpackGearTest for the
opportunity to test this parka.