Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Favorite Gear - Outdoor Research Chaos Jacket

A good puffy jacket is an essential piece of gear for mountaineering. Mine is kept in the top of my pack and goes on whenever I stop in cold weather and goes back in the pack once I start moving again. It’s also called upon to serve as an extra layer of warmth for unexpected storms or bivy’s.

Waterproofness is not usually a requirement for a puffy jacket because if it’s cold enough to need one any precipitation you might encounter will probably be in the form of snow rather than rain. The OR Chaos jacket has a water resistant shell that’s capable of shedding even warm slushy northwest snow. The filling is synthetic, which is my preference for use in the Cascades where it’s often wet. This works better than down which becomes a useless waterlogged sponge when wet.

There’s a large mesh pocket inside that’s sized to fit a 32oz Nalgene. This is great for keeping a waterbottle from freezing or defogging goggles. The fleece lined hand warmer pockets are cozy for warming bare hands.

My favorite feature of this jacket is the fit. The OR Chaos jacket was designed with climbers in mind, and as such is sized to fit a person with normal proportions, who happens to already be wearing climbing clothing.

In the past I’ve purchased jackets that were a size or two too big so that they would fit over my normal clothing. Typically the hoods are not large enough to accommodate a climbing helmet without stretching the jacket to the point you have to move your whole shoulders just to turn your head. The sleeves generally end up being a couple inches too long and the body often leaves me wondering who else I could get in the jacket with me.

When I put this jacket on over my normal fleece and Goretex the sleeves are just the right length, and there’s no extra maternity section in the front. The hood easily fits over a climbing helmet and still allows me to turn my head with normal motion.

The only downside I’ve found so far is that when I put this jacket on at rest breaks it’s often so cozy I just want to settle in for a long nap. : )

No comments:

Post a Comment