I live in South Carolina where average low temps in the winter hover right around freezing, and if we are “lucky” we may see three or so inches of snow once or twice a year. Winter gear isn’t always on the top of my gear list, but it always seems like you lack it when that snow or ice comes.
I have held out on purchasing any kind of down or insulated jacket. To be honest, I can be pretty rough on my clothing (ask my wife) and an expensive down jacket with hair-thin walls doesn’t exactly bring durability or longevity to mind. Also, South Carolina weather doesn’t really scream puffy-down-jacket either. However, in anticipation of some upcoming winter backpacking trips, I did my research and landed on what I think was the perfect choice considering all of my misgivings. The REI Revelcloud.
Weight: 13.2 oz (374.2 g)
Fill: PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation Eco
Shell: Pertex® Quantum Eco
Pockets: (3); two hand-zip and one chest pocket zip.
• PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation Eco is 70% recycled (from bottles)
• Outer layer: Pertex® Quantum Eco is 100% recycled polyester
• Shell is water resistant and wind resistant up to 50mph and has a water repellant finish
• Fabric is bluesign® certified
When I purchase clothing, my goal is to get a lot of use and wear time (much to the chagrin of my wife). I think that the Revelcloud should easily hit this wearability goal for me and here are a few thoughts on the jacket prior to wearing it in the field and why I think I will be wearing it so much:
The “Red Hot” and royal blue color way is a pretty flashy look, so if you are wearing the jacket as an outer shell, prepare for comments from others.
Zippered pockets! and three of them! If you are trying to shave every ounce off of your gear before you head out to the backcountry, then the additions of zippered pockets may not be your thing. But if you are like me and lose things easily, you have the security in knowing that if you did place your car keys in your pocket, then there is a good chance they are still there. Three pockets (two hand zip and one chest) offer a few good options to store your gear.
I am pretty excited about the Revelcloud. I do have a few concerns however:
• Durability: the outer material is super thin and I am concerned about rips.
• Wearability: this is my first foray into the realm of insulated jackets. Will I be too hot? Will I be too cold?
I’ve had the jacket for about a month now and I wear it nearly every day to work and outside of work. Temps have averaged in the low 40s for my morning commute and I’ve found that the Revelcloud is perfectly suitable for anything around that or below. While I haven’t worn the jacket as my outer layer during steady rain, I have found that in a light drizzle, the jacket is truly water resistant as advertised (at least for time the daily use for the past few weeks I have been wearing it). True to my prediction, the “Red Hot” color does attract many comments about the jacket.
Two slight areas for improvement so far:
• When I am a bottom layer without a high collar, the REI tag (which also serves as the hook to hang the jacket by) rubs against the back of my neck. If the tag wasn’t also the loop to hang the jacket by, I would have already removed it.
• When putting on the jacket, as I push my arms through the sleeves, the interior liner will balloon out slightly through the end of the sleeve. This hasn’t affected the functionality of the jacket yet, but can be slightly annoying. See photo below of example:
A three day 35 mile backpacking trip up into Great Smoky Mountains National Park offered a perfect chance to test out the Revelcloud jacket.
The perfect layer:
Cold weather hiking requires a certain skill/magic that few of us have truly mastered: knowing how many layers to hike in. I overheard the guide of a group of middle schoolers about to start a hike in Yosemite Valley say one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard: “Be bold, start cold.” Those of us who backpack and hike in cold weather know this to be true in theory, but in practice, this can be much more difficult. I found the Revelcloud to solve a lot of these problems. A couple of examples:
• Wind resistance: Our second day of hiking was pretty cold (low 30s), but the real kicker were the wind gusts that hit us on our 3 mile long hike on the Appalachian Trail just west of Clingman’s dome. The highest peak in Smokies offers little shield from these gusts and we were getting blown around a good bit. That day they had to be in excess of 50 mph, and the Revelcloud jacket kept me warm and comfortable at a considerable hiking clip.
• In the tent: I don’t regulate my temperature well when it comes to sleeping while backpacking. So when temps were in the teens, I happily donned the Revelcloud to supplement my 0 degree bag that night. Again, I was warm and comfortable all night.
• Comfortable in a variety of temperatures
• Water resistant
• Sleeves push through slightly when wearing
• Tag can irritate neck
The REI Revelcloud is a great insulated layer that I hope to be using for years to come. I found it to be versatile layer for a variety of conditions and something that I looked forward to wearing.
Thanks to 4alloutdoors for the opportunity to post my owner review.