Name: Fuzzy Monkey (David)
Date of Review: January 1, 2012
Photo Album – REI Ultra Light Rain Jacket
Background: I successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007. I successfully thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010. I’ve also have numerous other backpacking trips under my belt. The weather conditions I’ve dealt with range from the desert heat to the snow-packed mountains. I have had to deal with thunderstorms, hail, extreme winds and most things in-between. The REI Ultra Light Rain Jacket is one piece of equipment I chose to carry with me during my 2007 Appalachian Trail hike and the reason for this review.
Disclaimer: Readers should be aware that I am currently employed by REI, but have NOT been paid to write this review. Readers should be aware that I was NOT employed by REI at the time I purchased and used this item.
Manufacturer: REI Recreational Equipment Inc.
Item Number: 746-581
Description: Gold Rush (color) Ultra Light Rain Jacket
The jacket came with a stuff bag when initially on the market. The jacket features a removable hood that zips on and off. When not in use the hood can be rolled up and three Velcro buttons hold it in place. This rain jacket also features arm pit vents that zipper open. There are two small zippers under each arm. The front chest pocket has a vertical waterproof zipper and features speaker or headphone access through the inside. Other features include waist drawstring and hood drawstring. The jacket was available in several different colors when it was on the market.
I specifically used this rain jacket for my 2007 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike. It became a noticeable piece of gear in many of my photos. When I first looked at rain gear, I was really hesitant about purchasing and using it. When I’m hiking, I end up sweating a lot. So having rain gear on builds up the heat and contributes to me sweating even more. So I rarely wear it when I’m hiking. One of the big reason I did end up wearing this was to shield myself from the wind, which this particular rain jacket did an excellent job.
Another method or hiking style in which I used this was just to wear the jacket with nothing else underneath. Say for instance I wanted to keep my base shirt dry for the evening at camp. If I knew it was going to rain all day, I would just keep my dry shirt in my pack and just put on the rain jacket during the day. Since I was able to build up enough heat while hiking, I didn’t worry about staying warm. The drawback to this is when I stopped for breaks I got cold, but I also carried a fleece jacket for warmth.
One additional use most people do not think of is that a rain jacket can also be used as a pack cover. I found this out during my AT hike. I had put my jacket over my pack to let it dry. During the day while I was hiking it started to rain and instead of stopping to put on my pack cover I just continued on with the rain jacket over my pack. It was summer so it was warmer and this may not be ideal in all situations. I just thought I’d mention it here, as it’s always those little tips and tricks that learn after many miles and months of hiking. Little did I know that it turned out to be a pretty good pack cover.
Overall this is a great piece of equipment and worked well for my particular trip and for my particular hiking style. I still have the jacket and use it occasionally for hikes around home.
Fuzzy Monkey likes:
- Great shell for wind
- REI’s 100% Satisfaction Guaranty
Fuzzy Monkey dislikes:
- Holds the hiker stink
- Underarm zippers too small (hard to grab with cold wet fingers)
- Cuff Velcro straps (don’t hold well)
Fuzzy Monkey Approved: Yes