POST: Field Report - Red Ledge Exile Softshell - Chuck Carnes
- Field Report - Red Ledge Exile Softshell - Chuck
Picture courtesy of Red Ledge
Unisex Exile Softshell
Initial Report: November 21, 2007
Field Report: January 29, 2008
The Red Ledge Exile Softshell has been a great, all
around jacket. I have worn it in all types of rain,
wind and even some snow. I have been thoroughly
impressed with the protection that I have received
from such harsh conditions such as freezing rain and
cold wind gusts. I will describe below, the trips and
activities that I have worn the Exile on.
My first trip that I took the Exile on was a one
nighter with my son on his Boy Scout trip to Camp Old
Indian. The temperature ranged from 30 F to 40 F (-1 C
to 4 C) at night and 75 F to 85 F (24 C to 30 C)
during the day. The elevation was about 1,600 ft (488
m) where our camp site was. I wore the jacket right as
the sun went down because that's when the temperatures
started to drop. I had a short sleeve cotton shirt on
under the jacket and I was warm with just the jacket
and the shirt. As the evening got colder I truly
expected to have to change into a long sleeved base
layer and possibly a second layer under the jacket.
But the micro fleece lining of the Exile and the
superior wind protection outer layer, kept me warm the
rest of the evening. At one point I did feel a slight
chill from the cool wind that blew occasionally but I
simply pulled the hood on and instantly I felt warm. I
didn't even have to have gloves on that evening
because the fleece lined pockets kepted my hands warm.
The following morning was very cold as we came out of
the tents and this time I had to put on a long sleeved
under layer under the jacket. This was all I needed to
get warm and not feel the cold air. This was the first
time that I needed to zip the jacket up completely,
put the hood on and cinch the draw cords at the inside
hem of the jacket. This gave me a great wind and cold
protection barrier and it kept my own body heat inside
We went on a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) loop hike later that
morning that was very easy and not much exertion at
all. I wore the jacket during this hike and felt very
comfortable wearing it. The temperatures rose to about
55 F (12 C) during the hike since it was still in the
morning and although it had wormed up a bit I
continued to wear the jacket throughout the hike. Most
of the time I left it unzipped and was able to keep my
body temperature regulated this way.
The second trip was a two night trip to Pisgah
National Forest. The temperature there ranged from 30
F to 40 F (-1 C to 4 C) at night and 60 F to 75 F (15
C to 24 C) during the day. The elevation ranged from
3,500 ft to 4,200 ft (1,067 m to 1,280 m). This was
the first time that I actually backpacked with the
jacket on. When we got there it was cold enough for me
to start out the hike with the jacket on. The
temperature was about 50 F (10 C). The wind was
blowing a good bit and we were under tree cover most
of the way so I was not feeling the warmth of the sun.
The jacket felt good while I hiked in a short sleeved
shirt. The hood was sort of bunched up behind my neck
because of the pack but it wasn't enough to bother me.
As I walked, my core body temperature started to
elevate and at that point I needed to unzip the front
to vent some of the heat. This worked for a little
while until I could feel the sweat on my arms start to
get clammy and stick to the fleece on the inside. This
was getting uncomfortable so I stopped and strapped it
to the back of my pack the rest of the way. After we
arrived at camp it was nice to be able to put the
jacket back on after my body temperature went down and
I started to get chilled. I wore the jacket throughout
the rest of the evening and actually used the chest
pocket quit a bit during my meal time. I was able to
place my lighter, my light, my spice bottle and other
smaller items that I usually need during my meals in
the chest pocket. It was easy and convenient to just
reach inside the chest pocket and get what I needed.
The next day and night of the trip went pretty much
like this one as far as the jacket goes, nothing
different in temperatures or the time that I wore it.
It was very nice having such a versitle jacket on this
trip since it kept me very warm and protected from the
wind. It wasn't bulky like some heavyweight jacket
would have been or even having to carry a separate
rain shell if I would have needed it. I can't say much
for the packability of it other than it doesn't
compact much at all. So I just strapped it to the
outside of my pack when I was not wearing it.
Other trips that I have worn the Exile on have been
several day hikes which have been during some of our
colder days that were as cold as 42 F ( C) during the
middle of the day. I like these days because I could
wear the jacket the entire hike and not have to carry
it. It kept me very warm and I never over heated due
to the colder temperatures than before. On one of
these day hikes is when I noticed that when the hood
is up on my head, it doesn't turn as my head turns.
And by this I mean when I have to turn my head around
to look behind me, I end up looking right into the
inside of the hood. This was a little distracting as I
had my dog with me and was constantly having to turn
around to make sure he was with me. I would have to
reach up with my hand and hold it back as l looked
around. Maybe a spring loaded barrel clasp at the rear
of the hood with draw cord would remedy this as this
would pull the sides back a bit to give room for the
head to turn and not see the side of the hood.
Other than wearing it on backpacking and hiking trips,
I wear it most everyday when it is cold. It is a great
looking jacket as the material is a little stiff and
it looks very good with everyday working clothes. It
has protected me from very cold wintery rain mixed
with snow and sleet. At times I have had to walk a
while in this weather to get to my car or go into a
building and I have counted on this jacket to keep me
dry and so far it has done it's job. I have had to
wash it twice and after both times it came out of the
dryer looking like new. I have followed the
manufactures directions each time I washed it. All of
the seams are still in good shape and I have not
experienced any unraveling of thread or edges, even
after the washings. I have gotten many compliments on
the looks of the jacket and I am proud to be able to
tell them that it is functional as well as good
looking. I will continue to wear it on a daily bases
as needed and will wear it on my upcoming backpacking
This concludes my Field Report.
Check back in March for my Long Term Report
Thank you Red Ledge and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity.
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EDIT: Change me
Edit: Think about changing me
Comment: Everything else
Sure with my GoLite Paradigm was as wind proof as the ones you guys have.
Blogging about BackpackGearTest.org, Firefighting, Linux, Hiking and more!
> morning and although it had wormed up a bit IEDIT: I think you mean "had warmed up a bit"
> pocket quit a bit during my meal time. I was able toEDIT: Change quit to quite
> colder days that were as cold as 42 F ( C) during theEDIT: Missing conversion.
> it. It kept me very warm and I never over heated dueEdit: This sentence sounds weird. Did you mean "temperatures like before"?
> to the colder temperatures than before.