REPOST - FR Outdoor Research OR Celestial Jacket - Andy Rad
- Contents of Field Report is below
I'm OOP from July 3rd to 23rd, with only a day or two between
trips. If this reviewed prior to the 3rd I'll correct and push.
Thanks for your time in reviewing.
Field Report July 1st, 2007
Locations and Conditions
Field test period provided the opportunity for using the Celestial
jacket on 4 different backcountry trips. Additionally, I used the
jacket while commuting to work on my bike, and this turned out to be
the most controlled test conditions to evaluate the breathability.
Total days in the field was 10 and dozens of times commuting on the
Wet conditions in the last two months haven't manifested as they
generally do, as we are having a drier than normal spring.
Nevertheless, using the jacket as a wind breaker and riding my bike
has been a pleasure. Temperatures while using the jacket were from
slightly below freezing to 60 F (16 C). Locations have been from
lower elevation desert to high mountain snow covered camp sites.
Trip #1: Owyhee Desert area south of Boise, Idaho for 2 days in late
April. Climate was dry, moderate winds, and temp dropped to about
40 F (4 C). Jacket was used as a wind breaker in the evenings.
Trip #2: Eagle Cap Wilderness Oregon, Imnaha River drainage, 3 days ,
the second week of May. Elevation was 6600 ft (2000 m), camp was
among snow patches, day hiking was over snow, thus very heavy due and
frost at nights. Jacket used primarily as shell a over insulation for
Trip #3: Wolf Mountain Boise National Forest, for 2 days in mid May.
Climate varied from clear skies, to overcast, and then afternoon
showers. Temps were from 26 F (-3 C) at night to 68 F (20C).
Elevation topped out at 8800 ft (2600 m) with camps at 6000 ft (1800
m). Camps were in valleys surrounded by water, thus very heavy dew
in evening/mornings. Jacket was used during showers and in the
evening/morning as a shell over insulation.
Trip #4: Eagle Cap Tombstone Lake loop for 3 days the 3rd week of
June. Skies were mostly sunny with no precipitation. Temps were
from light frost to 68 F (20C). Elevation was from 5600 ft (1700 m)
to 8800ft (2600 m). Camps were in lower elevation next to high
moisture surroundings. Jacket was used as a wind breaker on the
hiking ridges and for warmth in camp over insulation layer. I also
slept in the jacket as I woke up cold during the night.
I must state, that I've become a believer in two-layer Gore-Tex. In
my application to test the Celestial jacket, I commented that I've
never been pleased with two-layer Waterproof/Breathable fabrics. My
experience is that they are less breathable than three-layer and the
inner surface is wet to the touch when I'm overheating/perspiring.
Three-layer waterproof/breathable fabrics tend to have an inner layer
(often a tricot knit) that dissipates the moisture across the
fabric's inner surface, and appeared to breathe better than my two-
layers. I'm pleased to report that the Gore-Tex Paclite fabric has
done a good job of dissipating moisture. The best controlled tests
were while riding my bike. I tried several different jackets, and
found that the Celestial jacket's inner surface was dry to the touch
in comparison to my other two-ply waterproof/breathable jackets. The
Celestial compared favorably with my three-ply Gore-Tex jacket.
Exposure to showers has been limited to one occurrence, and the
jacket kept the moisture out. During the month of July, I will be in
the back country at least 11 days while traveling through the
Beartooth Wilderness and Glacier NP. I fully expect to get several
opportunities to fully test the jacket's water shedding and
The torso zip is great for venting and configuring over the pack's
waist belt. In some respects, I do miss traditional pit zips,
because my arms still heat up. Given the choice, I would pick the
torso zip, because of the versatility. It is nice to have a jacket
where I can unzip the torso from bottom up and place the front over
the hip belt as in the earlier photo. I use a waist/fanny pack
carried in front with my larger camera and having the ability to pull
the front of the jacket over the camera in light rain is appreciated.
I wear glasses, and a good visor is appreciated. My preference is to
wear a ball cap under the hood as this gives me the opportunity to
look up hills and keep my glasses dry. The integrated hood on the
Celestial jacket is ample to protect my glasses if the hood is pulled
down a bit. This works for a while, but then the hood works its way
back up and my glasses are exposed when looking around. The hood is
of generous size and fits such that my vision is minimally impaired
when turning my head from side to side. Thus far, I've been pleased
with the hoods fit. When sleeping with the jacket the visor is
annoying, but I found that I can double it back a couple inches and
it works great.
The water resistant zippers, do a good job of keeping rain shower
out, but are a nuisance when trying to bring the two sides together
for zipping. This is typical for this style of zipper, as I have
several other pieces of gear that utilize them, and they all behave
similarly. It is inherit to this style of tight fitting zipper with
opposing gaskets sealing out the elements, as there is simply more
Once noticeable attribute of this jacket compared to my other light
weights is the generous fit. There was no trimming of the body or
shortening of the length to achieve the reduced weight. I have come
to appreciate the fit, in rain showers, comfort, and when I resort to
sleeping in the jacket on cold nights.
The next couple months are busy with backcountry excursions in Idaho
and a couple weeks in Montana. This will provide ample opportunity
to test the jacket's water tightness, breathability, and durability.
Oh, and did I mention this is one classy looking jacket. My jacket
is burgundy and I have received numerous complements on the design
and color. I had a couple fellow backers indicate it looks too good
to be outdoors, and take the risk of damaging it.