FR Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra Jacket David Wilkes
- Dear editor,
Here is the text from my Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra Jacket FR. This jacket has been all I hoped it would be and more. Testing this has been a pleasure! You can find the HTML in the test folder at http://tinyurl.com/3vkqtfp
Thanks in advance for any edits, comments, and/or suggestions,
Intermittent daily wear at work, around town, and while traveling
2 night solo hike in the Ancient Lakes area (central Washington)
Two 3 day climbs of Mt Adams
Upon seeing this jacket my first impression was that it would be just about ideal for my Mt Adams trips as well as for cool nights in camp. And so far this has been a correct assumption.
The jacket has proven to be warm and comfortable for use when at work (outdoors and in air conditioned offices) and in the evenings. I also found it well suited for travel to San Francisco where I wore it on two chilly nights, on one I walked a few miles in a light rain. The jacket did well in the cool damp conditions and shed the light rain with no problems.
For backpacking I have found this jacket to be outstanding in regards to its comfort range as well as its warmth to weight ratio and its compressibility.
My first overnight outing with the jacket was in the desert terrain of central Washington state. While the days were warm and comfortable, the temperatures dropped as soon as the sun went down and it got quite chilly. On one of the nights I ended up staying up till well past midnight chatting and playing games with some guys in an adjacent camp. I found the jacket to do a great job at keeping the chill off while sitting around camp in the evening.
On my first trip up Mt Adams this year I arrived just as a cold front was coming in. I hiked up to 7300' (2225 m) and made camp just below the timber line. By the time I was making dinner the temperature was dropping and the wind picked up and so I put on my base layer, the Vajra jacket, gloves and a knit hat. I put a wind/rain shell over the Varja jacket when I ventured out into the worst of the wind, and I ended up sleeping in the Vajra jacket. It was cold in the morning so I got a late start to the summit hopping it would warm up and the winds would die down, but that was not to be. The temperatures remained a little above freezing and the wind continued to blow hard with even harder gusts. When I reached the false summit (11500' / 3500 m) I was exposed to the full force of the wind. My fingers and toes became numb almost immediately and being alone I chose to not risk continuing to the top. After a short rest in a sheltered spot I headed back to camp where I spent a second, but warmer, night before heading home the following morning.
The jacket did an outstanding job at keeping my core warm and blocking the wind. In the worst of the wind I felt a bit of a chill, but was warmer than I would have expected in those conditions. When not in use I found the jacket easy to stuff into my summit pack where its compressibility and light weight was appreciated.
On my second trip we camped higher up the mountain but experienced almost ideal conditions. Day time temperatures were relatively warm (60-70 F / 15-21 C) during the day and a little below freezing at night. On the summit we experienced light to moderate wind and temperatures a little over freezing. As in the previous trip the jacket was warm and comfortable.
I have had only two small negative comments to report. First is that twice I had the shell material snag in the zipper while attempting to close one of the hand warmer pockets. In one case this was a bit of a problem as it was very cold and windy and I had to remove my glove in order to fix the zipper so I could get it closed (I had my camera in that pocket and did not want to chance loosing it). The second item is the chest pocket. I have found it a bit small for some of the items I have tried to place in it, sun glasses, pen light, etc). The only good use I have found for this pocket has been for my MP3 player. I also am not real fond of the zipper being on the side rather than the top as I fear that if I forget to zip it, or maybe just partially zip it, the contents might fall out.
What I have been especially fond of is the wide comfort range of the jacket. I have found the jacket to be comfortable at a wide range of temperatures and comfortable under a day or multi-day backpack, with no binding, snagging, or chafing. I have brushed against branches, some with thorns, and other items without any damage to the shell, suggesting that this jacket is more durable than its weight would suggest.
To summarize my usage so far, I REALY like this jacket. It is comfortable, durable, and versatile. Light enough and packs small enough to become a standard part of both my day and multi-day packs in all but the warmest conditions. Being resistant to wind and rain extends its usefulness even further, and being comfortable in warmer conditions as well as during exertion making it unnecessary to remove/don the jacket as often. If I were to suggest any improvements to the jacket, it would be to make the chest pocket a bit larger and place the zipper on the top of the pocket. I would also include pit zips. However since pit zips would negatively impact the weight and possibly compromise the insulation value, I can understand why the manufacturer may have chosen to not include this feature.
Light weight, durable, comfortable, versatile
Small chest pocket with side zip, no pit zips.
- Hi David,
Nice report. (I have that same ice axe.) Just a couple edits for you.
See you in a couple months,
***It was cold in the morning so I got a late start to the summit hopping it would warm up and the winds would die down, but that was not to be. The temperatures remained a little above freezing and the wind continued to blow hard with even harder gusts.
edit: what was the low temps that you used it at? What rated bag did you use it with to sleep? Was it comfortable as part of a sleep system?
***I had my camera in that pocket and did not want to chance loosing it
EDIT: "losing" it
- Thanks for the quick edits. Sadly I ended up forgetting to put my thermometer in my summit bag and so never recorded the temperatures..I have a nice Kestrel weather meter that measures temp, wind speed, and alt/pressure, but it does me no good when I forget to bring it... :-(
At least this time I remembered to take pictures.
Changes made, originals deleted, report file uploaded.
Yeah, I really like my Black Diamond Raven ice ax. One of these days I really should do an OR on it.
>________________________________[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>From: Ray <rayestrella@...>
>Sent: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:56 AM
>Subject: [backpackgeartesters] Edit: FR Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra Jacket David Wilkes
>Nice report. (I have that same ice axe.) Just a couple edits for you.
>See you in a couple months,
>***It was cold in the morning so I got a late start to the summit hopping it would warm up and the winds would die down, but that was not to be. The temperatures remained a little above freezing and the wind continued to blow hard with even harder gusts.
>edit: what was the low temps that you used it at? What rated bag did you use it with to sleep? Was it comfortable as part of a sleep system?
>***I had my camera in that pocket and did not want to chance loosing it
>EDIT: "losing" it