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IR - Obermeyer Kestral jacket - Brian Hartman

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  • Brian Hartman
    Hi Kathy, Below is my Initial Report for the Obermeyer Kestral Jacket. The link to my HTML report is
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17 11:03 AM
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      Hi Kathy,
      Below is my Initial Report for the Obermeyer Kestral Jacket. The link to my HTML report is http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/IR%20-%20Obermeyer%20Kestral%20Jacket%20-%20Brian%20Hartman/
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1"  IMAGE CAPTION = "Courtesy of Obermeyer">>
      Manufacturer: Sport Obermeyer
      Year of Manufacture: 2012
      Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.obermeyer.com/">>
      MSRP: US $475.00
      Listed Weight: Not Listed
      Measured Weight: 2.8 lbs (1,280 g)
      Colors Available:  Baja, Bling, Black, Juice, Quarry
      Color Tested: Quarry
      Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XL, 2XL
      Size Tested: Small
      Fabric / Coating: EcoGenesis - 100% polyester mechanical stretch with 20,000mm / 10,000g laminate
      Insulation / Lining: Thinsulate; Cocona Baselayer - 52% Cocona polyester, 48% polyester
      Waterproofing: 20,000mm / 10,000g
      Fit: Alpine Cut
        External storm flap with hook and loop closure
        Internal windguard with fleece chin protector
        Fully seam sealed
        Zippered hand warmer pockets with key holder and d-ring
        Zippered chest pockets with detachable goggle cloth
        Wrist accessory pocket with water resistant zipper
        Zip-off hood with 2-way adjustment
        Adjustable internal hem drawcord
        Brushed collar lining
        Gusseted cuffs with adjustable closure
        Stretch fleece inner cuffs
        Helmet compatible hood
        Internal zippered electronic pockets
        RECCO rescue reflector
        Underarm ventilation with mesh gussets
        Powderskirt with gripper elastic
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2"  IMAGE CAPTION = "Storm flap">> The Obermeyer Kestral jacket arrived at my doorstep in great condition with four hang tags attached.  After giving it a brief once-over, my initial impression was that it was a great looking jacket (as seen in the photo above in Quarry gray color with black pinstripes) and it appeared to be a very well made.
      The Obermeyer Kestral Jacket (hereafter called Kestral or jacket) is a waterproof / breathable insulated jacket utilizing Obermeyer's green friendly EcoGenesis stretch fabric.  The entire jacket (shell, lining and insulation) is made of 100% polyester fibers.  Waterproofing and breathability are accomplished by adding the manufacturer's proprietary 'Hydroblock' microporous coating and 'Duroguard' DWR finish to the jacket which help give it its 20,000mm / 10,000g rating.  Hydroblock is a polyurethane coating that prevents water from penetrating the shell while still allowing body moisture to evaporate out.  It does this by reducing the size of the fabric pores such that water droplets are too large to enter but water vapor can still pass through.  For added protection, the Duroguard finish is applied as a hydrophobic coating to the exterior of the jacket to increase surface tension causing water to bead up.  As noted on Obermeyer's website,
      Duroguard also makes the fabric more durable and helps prevent stains.  The significance of the waterproof / breathability rating system is that manufacturers can use a standardized test to determine the waterproof / breathability rating of their clothing and then display their results for marketing purposes and to allow consumers to compare clothing based on their particular needs.  Finally, the jacket is fully seam sealed to prevent water permeation through any stitched areas where the fabric is sewn together.
      The Kestral has a full-length front zipper with a 1.5 inches (4 cm) wide exterior storm flap that is secured by six hook and loop closures.  The storm flap prevents water from seeping through the front zipper, which is not waterproof.  The front of the jacket is also protected against air filtration by an internal zipper windguard that measures approx 1.25 inches (3 cm) in width.  Moving to the top of the jacket, the top 8 inches (20 cm) of the windguard is fleece-lined on the inside as a chin protector.  As an added bonus, the entire inside of the jacket collar, which stands 4 inches (10 cm) tall, is fleece-lined.  The hood is fully adjustable via two drawcords on its lower left and ride hand sides that can be used to loosen or tighten it as necessary.  The hood can also be adjusted vertically using a drawcord that is located on the back side of the hood.  It is secured to the back of the jacket by a zipper and two hook and loop closures that
      hold it in place on the sides.  The hood is also fully detachable and is large enough to be worn with a helmet for ice climbing or downhill skiing.
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3"  IMAGE CAPTION = "Interior pocket">>  <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4"  IMAGE CAPTION = "Sleeve pocket">> The Kestral has five exterior and two interior pockets.  Starting with the exterior pockets, the two front hand pockets measure 7.5 inches (19 cm) deep by 11 inches (28 cm) tall.  These pockets are fleece-lined and are covered by storm flaps.  The right hand pocket houses a plastic D-clip for securing car keys or some other object.  Moving upwards, the right chest pocket is protected by a waterproof zipper and measures 6 inches (15 cm) by 6 inches (15 cm) while the left chest pocket is secured by a regular zipper and storm flap and measures 5 inches (13 cm) deep by 8 inches (20 cm) tall.  This pocket contains a detachable goggle cloth which I already know will come in handy when my glasses fog up or get dirty.  The fifth and final exterior pocket is located on the left sleeve and is protected by
      a waterproof zipper.  It measures 4 inches (10 cm) by 5 inches (13 cm).  Both interior pockets are mesh.  The right interior pocket has a hook and loop closure and measures 8 inches (20 cm) deep by 7 inches (18 cm) tall while the left interior pocket is zippered and is 5 inches (13 cm) deep by 9 inches (23 cm) tall.
      For improved ventilation, the Kestral jacket has underarm zippers with mesh gussets.  They provide a convenient way to release excess body heat and perspiration while doing strenuous hiking.  When fully unzipped each opening measures 14 inches (35 cm).  For decreased ventilation and / or to prevent cold air from entering the jacket, the Kestral has gusseted cuffs that are fully adjustable via hook and loop closures.  The inner cuffs work very well in providing enough stretch to seal off any air flow coming up the sleeves.  Another place where cold air tends to enter most jackets is at the waist line and so Obermeyer has incorporated a powder skirt into the Kestral.  The powder skirt has an elastic waistband that helps prevent cold air flow (and snow) from entering the jacket around the waist.  The jacket also has an adjustable drawcord located at its lower hem to help seal out cold air as well as snow.
      As a safety measure for those hiking in avalanche prone areas, the Kestral is fitted with a RECCO rescue reflector.  The reflector is a small device that is sewn into the right shoulder of the jacket.  When used in conjunction with RECCO's radar detectors which are standard issue for most search and rescue teams, it helps locate an avalanche victim under several feet of snow.  Last but not least, Obermeyer's name is printed on the left chest pocket of the jacket as well as on the lower back.
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5"  IMAGE CAPTION = "Cuffs">> <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 6"  IMAGE CAPTION = "Underarm ventilation">> <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 7"  IMAGE CAPTION = "Powder skirt">>
      As mentioned earlier, four hang tags were attached to the jacket zipper upon its arrival.  The first was from 3M with details regarding Thinsulate; the second hang tag was from Obermeyer and it provided a brief background on the company as well as a sizing chart; the third hang tag was also from Obermeyer and it aptly described the advanced design and construction features of the Kestral; the final hang tag was from RECCO and it briefly described their avalanche rescue system.
      Care Instructions for the Kestral are listed on the jacket's collar tag.  Obermeyer also provides detailed instructions on their website regarding how to properly wash and care for the jacket.  Of particular note is that the DWR finish can wear off or become masked by dirt over time.  When this happens, washing can help restore the effectiveness of the finish and /or a new coating of DWR can be applied at home.  My experience is that it is pretty easy to know when either of these procedures is necessary as water no longer beads up on the outside of the jacket.
      Warranty: Obermeyer offers a lifetime warranty against defects in the materials or workmanship of all of their products. The warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, misuse, accidents, fading or the natural breakdown of materials over time.
      As someone who does most of his shopping online, I must say that Obermeyer's website is very well laid out and easy to navigate, which is not an easy feat to pull off while still providing the wealth of information they do about their product line.  They have done a great job of describing each article of clothing and I really like that they provide large, detailed product photos and allow those photos to be rotated 360 degrees to provide a full view of their clothing from all angles.  While on the website I also spent some time reading about the history of the company and its founder, Klaus Obermeyer and found it quite interesting.  In this age of large corporations, it was inspiring to read Klaus' story and how his dream evolved into the company it is today.
      I have been wearing the Kestral jacket around town for the past few days and also went hiking at a local park this weekend.   When I went on my hike, it was sunny and the temperature was just above freezing at 34 F (1 C).  My initial thoughts after this brief examination of the Kestral are as follows:
      I really like the materials that were used in the construction of this jacket.  The shell is made with a very tightly woven polyester fabric that feels smooth to the touch and durable.  It also has some stretch to it which I noticed after moving around for a few minutes.  I think the stretch 'factor' gives it a better fit and will allow me a larger range of motion while backpacking.  Based on these factors, I am not too concerned about how this jacket will hold up in the field.  From my initial exam it appears to be very durable and so I am not too concerned about snagging it on a branch or wearing down the shoulders or waist fabric from my backpack straps.  I also really like that the fabric drapes well and isn't overly noisy as I move my arms back and forth while hiking.
      In regards to construction, the Kestral's stitching is impeccable and I wasn't able to find a single loose thread or blemish.  The zippers are solid and slide readily back and forth.  The hood is generously sized and appears to be securely fastened.  While hiking it was very easy for me to adjust the hood and as a quick test I was easily able to remove it once back to my car.  Although the Kestral does not have thumb inserts in the cuffs akin to some other winter jackets, it still has very nice inner cuffs that are stretchy enough to prevent cold air from getting up my sleeves.
      As stated in my bio, I am a mid weight hiker and so I am not all that concerned about carrying a few extra ounces for the sake of comfort or convenience.  In this regard, I must say that I really like the fleece-lined hand pockets.  They are a joy to use and well positioned so as not to interfere with my pack straps.  In addition, they are plenty large to carry whatever I need.  I can see myself using the sleeve pocket for various small items I may need to access readily while on the trail.  Based on my initial hike this morning in 34 F (1 C) weather, the Kestral was plenty warm with a long sleeve shirt underneath so much so that I found myself trying out the underarm vents.  They were easy to open and did a great job of venting some of the heat I had built up during my hike.
      I first became familiar with Obermeyer products a few years ago when I tested one of their shell jackets.  I was impressed with the design and the quality of their products back then and so I came into this test with high expectations for this jacket.  So far the Kestral does not disappoint.  It has a stylish design, a ton of great features, and, if it is as rugged as it appears, it will be a sure winner.  One last note is that I had the opportunity to talk with Obermeyer's customer service department and they are outstanding.  As a regular 'Joe' calling up asking questions about their products, they were extremely knowledgeable and friendly.  This concludes my Initial Report for the Obermeyer Kestral jacket.  Thank you to Sport Obermeyer and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this jacket.  I am really excited for the thermometer to drop a few more degrees and the snow to start flying.
      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.

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