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Gear Review

3 5

Not quite as good as the hype

I bought this jacket because I was excited about the increased breathability of the air-permeable DryQ membrane. Took it on a 1.5 hour fast hike in 30-35F weather, wearing only a light Smartwool base layer underneath. At the end of the hike, the base layer was pretty soaked, and the inside of the jacket had quite a bit of moisture built up on it at the chest, back, and sleeves (I was NOT wearing a pack). I repeated the same hike in the same weather with an older Arcteryx Gore XCR jacket with very similar results. The only advantage I can see that the DryQ jacket had is the inner face fabric absorbs some moisture rather than letting it condense on the surface.

I did another hike in 35-40F weather climbing a steep trail for 2 hours up wearing only a base layer, then as the sun was getting low I put on a thin fleece and this jacket for the hike down. At the end of the down hike 1.5 hours later, my layers were still wet as well as the inside of the jacket (see photo). I even had the pit zips open.

This is not a bad performing shell, but I can not see any advantage it has over proven Gore membranes such as Pro Shell. It's been a dry winter, so unfortunately I haven't had a chance to fully test its waterproofness. The front zip is the most difficult to zip of any WP zipper I have ever tried. You'll swear you have the fabric caught in the zipper. And often you actually will as the chin guard is not stiff enough and 1/2 the time I try to unzip the front it gets caught on the chin liner. All other zips are equally as hard to operate. The sizing is not very athletic - I'm 6'1" 175 lbs and the Large fits me well for arm and torso length, but I could carry a basketball inside of it. The hood is enormous - it fits easily over my ski helmet. The drawstrings do a good job of cinching it down to normal size though. I do like the interior goggle pocket - I use it to carry a small flexible water flask to keep it from freezing. And the hand pockets are just high enough to use with a pack waist belt on without being so high that it feels like your hands are up in your armpits.

Bottom line, for this price I would prefer to have a better-fitting jacket, better zippers, with proven Pro Shell fabric that as far as I have experienced offers the same level of breathable comfort. I'm returning this for an Arcteryx Beta AR instead.

Not quite as good as the hype
Responded on

Also, this jacket does NOT have the "highly breathable stretch side panels" - that is a mistake and refers to the Drystein jacket. It does have pit zips with WR zippers.