Gear Pick: An All-Weather Jacket for the Rainy Season

Originally published in The Aspen Daily News on August 8, 2014

It’s August, and that means afternoon rainstorms are pretty much a sure thing in these mountains.

Daily rainstorms may be good for our water reserves, but it can be frustrating when you’re trying to squeeze in an afternoon hike in the middle of the week. That’s why I consider a good rain jacket – like Marmot’s Rincon – a necessary investment for living in the mountains.

The jacket’s shell has what Marmot calls a “PreClip Dry Touch coating technology,” which makes the jacket waterproof, while still being breathable – a combination that’s hard to find.

In general, when you’re buying a rain jacket make sure to check the label to ensure the jacket will indeed keep you dry. A jacket can be water resistant, water repellent or waterproof. Water-resistant fabrics shed water, because of their tight weave or because they’ve been treated, but will soak through in a heavy rain. Water-repellent fabrics are more effective, and are either very tightly woven or coated with a finish that causes the water to make little beads when it hits the fabric rather than soaking through. The finish may wear off over time, however, or come off in dry cleaning. Waterproof fabrics can’t be penetrated by water and should keep you dry, even in heavy rains.

The Rincon jacket is waterproof and it’s designed to keep everything above your waist dry. There’s a Velcro seal and elastic chord just below your chin to tighten the face opening and ensure your head stays dry when the hood is raised. There are also Velcro seals around the cuffs so water won’t get up your sleeves, and the jacket has two deep pockets with water-resistant zippers for items as big as your cell phone.

The best part of the jacket is that it’s designed with ventilation, so if you’re hiking in a rainstorm sweat vapor works its way outside the jacket, while keeping water from coming in. To be frank, I don’t know how the technology works exactly, but I do know it’s worked for me.

The Rincon jacket has kept me warm when I was caught in a hail storm, dry during city deluges and comfortable during sun showers while hiking around the mountains. I’ve even worn it as a makeshift ski jacket during spring ski season. (The material is not only waterproof, it’s wind-proof too!)

The jacket is light enough for most outdoor activities, except maybe running. It comes in black, white, bright green, blue and purple. It starts at $140. I consider that a steal for how often I use it.

Get Your Own
Available online at marmot.com, starting at $140

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