When is a raincoat not a raincoat? Well, when it’s the Cotopaxi Tikal Active Shell, of course! I’ve had my hands on the Tikal for a little while and it has been making me want it to rain! Or even snow. I’ll take what I can get because I’m fascinated by how well the Tikal works. This ultralight, super breathable active shell has incredible four way stretch that makes it my go to jacket for just about anything mother nature can throw at me. The first day I wore it, it was raining. Hard. Being skeptical of how waterproof it would be, I went outside and just stood in the rain, waiting for it to start leaking through. But it never did. Instead I was intrigued by the water bead up on the coat and instantly fall away. It really is waterproof!
My next test was to see how the Tikal held up to a slow jog around my cul de sac. Not only did the water continue to stream away, the well designed visor and cinch cords kept the rain out of my face better than any of the other jackets I currently use when running. Unlike many of the others I’ve tried, the Tikal was also very quiet and not crinkly sounding at all.
Looking at the full specifications from Cotopaxi’s website, I think there are not many features that you would want to add.
- Fully taped, 2.5-layer waterproof shell fabric with four-way stretch
- Three-way adjustable hood with laminated visor
- YKK Vislon® center front zipper
- Perforated underarm panels vent heat with less bulk than pit zips
- Two zippered hand pockets with Framis trim detail
- Weight: 283 g (10 oz)
The jacket that I have been wearing previously has zippers to close the underarm vents and chest vents. Although good in theory, I often find myself either trying to put my keys in my chest vent or contorting myself into awkward positions while trying to unzip them while wearing the jacket running or, even worse, when hiking.
Fortunately, Cotopaxi solved that easily for me by perforating the underarm vent panels instead. As their specifications state, this also means that there is far less bulk and helps to keep the jacket a measly 10 ounces. At first I was concerned that they would leak and be a way for water to drench me. But I have found that they let out more moisture than they let in. When combined with the breathable material of the jacket itself, I discovered that I was much drier after my runs in the rain than I was with my other coat.
Another design aspect that I like is that they actually kept the zippered hand pockets when designing the Tikal. I find that you often have to opt for a lightweight jacket OR you can have pockets. Sometimes I’ll find a lightweight jacket that does have pockets, but they are designed in such a way that they simply aren’t function: pointing towards your back, moved further up the side, or moved towards the front and chest area. None of those work for me. But Cotopaxi positioned the pockets slightly towards the front of the Tikal and incorporated very easy to pull zippers that make them easy to open.
Beyond the coat itself, I am extremely drawn to Cotopaxi’s mission and brand itself. According to their mission statement on their website, they aim to “create innovative outdoor products and experiences that fund sustainable poverty alleviation, move people to do good, and inspire adventure.” Like many, I have become more and more aware of the brands and products that I am choosing for my family beyond where I purchase them. With a young daughter at home, I want to opt for products that are helping to make the world a better place for her and future generations. Although I was previously unfamiliar with the Cotopaxi brand itself, it is certainly on my radar and first stop as I look to purchase outdoor gear. I like wearing brands that I can be proud of and whose mission is in line with my own. Cotopaxi is a brand I’m proud to wear.
Overall, I am really happy with the Tikal and have been having a blast using it on my adventures as well as my daily life. I’m going to be especially focused on the durability of the Tikal as I continue to test it and plan to wear it for many more road and trail runs as well as snowshoeing now that winter has finally decided to grace New England with its presence. Stay tuned for the next chapter to my review of the Cotopaxi Tikal Active Shell!