FR - Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra Jacket - Brian Hartman
- Hi Ray,
Below is my Field Report for the Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra jacket. The link to my HTML report is: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/FR%20-%20Sherpa%20Vajra%20Jacket%20-%20Brian%20Hartman/
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have only had a few opportunities to wear the Vajra jacket during this Field Testing period due to the ongoing heat wave throughout the country and here in the Midwest. By mid June temperatures were already in the 80's F (27 C) and July has been one of our hottest months on record with daytime temperatures averaging 90 F (33 C). I wore this jacket on a multi-day backpacking trip in early June and also had the opportunity to test its DWR coating during a day hike, when an afternoon thunderstorm dumped heavy rain. But as the month progressed it quickly became too warm to wear. However, even when I wasn't wearing the Vajra jacket, I still stuffed it in my backpack and used it as a camp pillow at night.
Location: Oldenburg, IN
Type of Trip: Off trail
Distance: 8 mi (11 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days
Backpack Weight: 32 lb (15 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Partly sunny with moderate breeze
Temperature Range: 62 F to 75 F (17 C to 24 C)
Location: Strawtown Koteewi Park, Noblesville, IN
Type of Trip: Maintained trail
Distance: 6 mi (9.5 km)
Length of Trip: 1 days
Backpack Weight: 18 lb (8 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy with heavy rain
Precipitation: 0.75 in (1.27 cm)
Temperature Range: 71 F (22 C)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During Field testing I wore the Vajra strictly as an outer layer with a lightweight T-shirt underneath and it performed wonderfully. This jacket is extremely lightweight, dries quickly, and seems to be fairly durable.
<<IMAGE 1>> Warmth: During my outings, the jacket had no cold spots and was comfortable up to 65 F (18 C) while sitting or standing still. I was not able to test the low temperature rating for this jacket due to current weather conditions so I am looking forward to cooler weather when I can continue this testing.
While backpacking during the early morning hours in Oldenburg, IN the Vajra jacket did an exceptional job of blocking the wind against my torso. The Lycra bands which are sewn into the waist, cuffs and collar of the jacket did an excellent job of trapping my body heat and preventing cool air from coming inside the jacket. Throughout this trip, whenever I put on the Vajra, I immediately felt warmer. By comparison, I could really feel the cool air against my exposed skin but my torso and arms were plenty warm despite the windy conditions. When compared to my fleece jacket, the Vajra seemed to provide comparable warmth at a fraction of the weight. At 14 oz (1 kg), the warmth-to-weight ratio for this jacket is exceptional.
Weather Resistance: In addition to wind protection, the jacket did a fairly good job of shedding rain and proved its ability to insulate when wet. While day hiking at Strawtown Park, the skies opened up and it poured for 25-30 minutes. For several minutes, water beaded up and dripped off the outside of the jacket. Eventually, however, it wetted through and by the time I made it back to my car and took off the jacket, my t-shirt was soaking wet. It didn't surprise me that the jacket eventually soaked through as its only protection is the DWR coating. My main interest was to see how well the jacket insulated when wet and whether I would become chilled while wearing the rain soaked jacket. I did not. The Vajra jacket did a great job of maintaining my core temperature despite the fact that it was completely soaked.
Comfort and fit: Throughout my testing, the Vajra jacket was soft and comfortable to wear. The smooth interior surface of the jacket made it very easy to slip on over a T-shirt. There was never any bunching or grabbing of fabric like fleece has a tendency to do. The collar area was comfortable whether zipped or unzipped, and I did not have any trouble with the zipper poking me in the chin. I also did not notice any rubbing or chafing of the seams against my body or face. Unfortunately, the jacket was a little tight across the chest and shoulders and so it restricted my motion. I wish there was a little extra room for times when I would like to wear additional clothing underneath the jacket. As it stands, I am able to move my arms around while wearing the jacket over a thin base layer but I cannot add additional clothing beneath it without binding.
<<IMAGE 2>> Durability: So far I have had no problems with durability. While backpacking off trail there were several opportunities for the Vajra to get torn on briars and tree branches. Luckily I did not snag the fabric or tear a seam. The jacket shows minimal signs of wear from my pack straps and I will continue to monitor this situation and see if anything further develops. Other than one loose thread near the zipper, the stitching is still tight and the material edges have not frayed. Despite wearing the jacket in intense sunlight and getting caught in a downpour, the jacket has shown no signs of fading or other color changes. Despite sending it through the washer, it has not shrunk. The main jacket zipper as well as the hand and chest pocket zippers, still operate as they did when the jacket was brand new. Although I did not wear the Vajra on my last two outings, I stuffed it in my pack anyway for use as a camp pillow. Despite
being jammed into my pack and slept on multiple times, the Vajra appears no worse for wear.
Performance: The design of the jacket is well thought out and it has performed well over the past couple of months. I have found the outer pockets useful for storing small items and they are just high enough to avoid being covered by the waist belt on my backpack. I also appreciate the fact that the hand pockets are lined. This will come in handy once winter approaches. Due to the snug fit of the jacket, I have not been able to use the internal mesh pockets for storing anything.
In conclusion, I am very pleased with the Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra Jacket. I have found it to be a versatile piece of clothing. It is warm and comfortable with no exposed seams to rub on my skin. It is lightweight and compressible. Its compressibility makes it an efficient piece of backpacking gear, saving weight while fitting into the smallest nooks in my pack. Using the Vajra jacket in place of my pillow has provided both weight and space savings. It is also well made and durable. Unfortunately, it has a slimmer cut than I would prefer in the torso and shoulder area but this should allow it to fit very easily under my outer layers.
Overall the Vajra is a wonderful three season jacket but it is definitely too warm for peak summer use. As cooler weather approaches, I plan to evaluate the long term durability and true warmth capability of this jacket. I am anxious to determine its minimum temperature rating.
This concludes my Field Report of the Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra Jacket. Please check back in two months for further field testing results and my final report on this item. Thanks to Sherpa Adventure Gear and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Hi Brian,
Nice job even though the weather is not cooperating. I have a few edts for you, then you can upload it to the folder. Delete your test version please.
See you in a couple months,
***Location: Oldenburg, IN
EDIT: need the state spelled out at least the first time and put (IN) after it so readers know what the next use is for.
***Length of Trip: 1 days
EDIT: 1 day
***Temperature Range: 71 F (22 C)
EDIT: just "Temperature" unless you are going to add something to make a range.