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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Craghoppers Compresslite II Jacket > Test Report by joe schaffer

Craghoppers CompressLite II Jacket

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - October 16, 2017
FIELD REPORT - December 23, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - March 1, 2018
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 69
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79 kg)
CHEST: 40 in (102 cm)
WAIST: 34 in (86 cm)
SLEEVE: 30 in (76 cm)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: jacket frontCompressLite II Jacket

Manufacturer: Craghoppers, Ltd. 
        no specs or features listed

    Hang tag:
       ClimaPlus advanced synthetic fill
       water resistant
       wash & wear
       zipped pockets
       adjustable hem
       warmth rating 4 (of 7)
       wash & wear

    Colors: Black

My Specs: 
        Weight (inc. stuff sack):  19 1/8 oz (543 g)
             Hood-to-hem: 40 in (102 cm)
             Hem circumference: 49 in (124 cm)
             Sleeve: 33 in (84 cm)
             Tail drop: 1 3/4 in (5 cm)
        Stuffed: 5 x 10 in (13 x 25 cm)

MSRP: $85 US

Received: Men's XL, Black, October 12, 2017

My Description:
   The jacket is a synthetic quilted, hooded top layer with two zippered external side pockets. Hood has no drawstring. Zipper has no cover. Sleeves have elastic cuffs, not adjustable. Hem has a slight tail drop and cord-lock adjusters each side, with elastic cord. Each side of the jacket near the hem has a snap-loop inside, the purpose of which my wee brain cannot divine. Stuff sack has cord-lock closure with elastic cord.

    FIT: The website's size button for this product didn't work. Given the number of sizes available I took a guess. I'm never an XL, but that's what I ordered and it fits decently, though not great.
    Sleeves are a little long, which is often the case for me when the shoulders are right. Too-long sleeves is a good thing in wind, so I'll not be critical of this as a fit issue. Cuffs do not close tightly, which would cause me irritation.
    Shoulder movement is unrestricted. I would not want this dimension smaller.
    It's a little loose around the midriff bulge, but just right at the hip.
    The hood seems large, but may well accommodate a sock hat underneath. With no drawstring, I'll be testing for whether it stays in place or blows off or slops over in my eyes.

     FILL: It is what it is, but seems appropriate to note user preference. I prefer synthetic fill (when I'm likely to get wetter than tolerable in a wool shirt). Down breathes better and is lighter and smaller. But down is dead weight wet and takes forever to dry until it can be worn again. I never carry down clothing. I'm happy to be testing the comfort claims of this hollow-core synthetic fiber. I'm certainly satisfied with the comfort, weight and bulk of this garment if it lives up to product claims when in the outback.
    COMFORT: I wore it in a 67 F (19 C) house for several hours after getting it. I felt remarkably comfortable with a long sleeve cotton tee underneath. Next day I wore it indoors over a long sleeve cotton hoodie and short sleeve cotton tee. I expected to get too warm and probably dampish, but it only felt good the whole time. I'm looking forward to getting in the wind and wet (did I really say that!) to see how it feels then. I'm surprised I can wear this jacket inside and remain comfortable.

    WEIGHT: This may be the lightest hooded jacket I have that is warm, breathable, water resistant and windproof--if it tests as such.

    COMPRESSIBILITY: A green little tag on the right pocket directed my attention to the stuff sack inside. I'd rather it stuff into a pocket than a separate sack. I worked a bit at getting the jacket to fit in the sack. I'm not good at keeping hold of stuff sacks; and where the explicit priority is to get light, I'd think a strategy that eliminates a separate stuff sack would be a forethought. Given that it stuffs about half-again as big as a Nalgene bottle, I'll rate it as impressively small, re-evaluating for field performance.

    POCKETS: Two zippered pockets are appropriately placed for me and large enough I can get a big fat gloved hand stuffed in.The front side of the pocket is lined with fleece, which feels better than the 'hard' nylon back side and doesn't seem as prone to snagging.

    ZIPPERS: The front zipper is not covered, though it looks pretty tight. It has a finger loop attached to the pull. The side pocket zippers are not exposed and have finger loops. Zippers work smoothly.

    CORD-LOCK ADJUSTMENT: I'm not keen to having loops of cord sticking out each side of the jacket when I tighten the hem. The elastic cord seems like a good idea, but lacks enough strength to hold well.

    STUFF SACK: The elastic cord on the stuff sack does not have strength to pull the sack shut. This is partly due to the sack being a little too small to suit me--I don't like mashing insulated products to their smallest possible increment. The sack lists downproof among the product attributes. It may well be, but as there is no down in the garment, this claim causes me to believe the stuff sack was tossed in as an afterthought, having forgotten to design a (yes, really big) pocket to hold the jacket. I'm not going to be able to keep the sack from pulling out with a wet glove, and I don't like having to chase stuff down in the wind. I've probably done about all the testing I'm going to do on the sack.

Field Conditions:
1. Oct 20-27, 2017: Emigrant/Yosemite Wilderness, California. 6 nights. 31 mi (50 km) mostly trail; 4,700-8,100 ft (1,400-2,500 m). 37-80 F (3-27 C). Calm to windy. Dry.
    2. Dec 13-18, 2017: Pinecrest, Stanislaus National Forest, California. 5 nights. 12 mi (19 km) trail and XC; 6,000 ft (1,800 m) Leave wt 46 lb (20.9 kg) return 39 lb (18.7 kg). 32-60 F (0-16 C), dry, sunny days, chilly evenings with no campfire three nights.

    1. Em/Yos:  I wore the jacket on three evenings for several hours. Winds were brisk enough that while temps were in the 40's F (7 C) the evenings were still quite cool. I thought the jacket did a great job of blocking wind. The mfr rates it as medium warm, and I would say that claim is accurate. Without the jacket I would have been quite uncomfortably cold, and with it I was fine. I had the hood on and it did a good job of keeping the wind off my head whenever it was on. I had my hat on so the hood did not get in my eyes, but it also did not stay put all that well. I would prefer a drawstring.
    For purposes of the test I did use the stuff sack. I wouldn't say it's a pain to stuff the jacket in, but it hurts my feelings towards my gear to mash it that tight. (My deal with my gear is that I will be exceedingly kind to it and it will not let me down in the woods.) The longest it was in the sack is 32 hours, and the jacket seems to have recovered from that torture. Smashing the jacket to a small pill is good for packing, yet at the same time it becomes so hard it won't squish into corners and crevices. I prefer to fold it in a plastic grocery bag and then let it take the space it wants in the pack.
    2. Pinecrest: The first three nights I did not have campfire. I find that over a wool shirt and synthetic shirt the Craghopper keeps me comfortable into the low 40's F (5-6 C) even for extended sedentary periods such as reading or contemplating the most opportune time to begin thinking about doing something. I didn't wear it around campfire as I didn't need it and don't care to risk it to the wrath of the cinder gods.  (The jacket will not fit under my thrift-store wool shirt.) It feels very light on me and I almost tend not to notice wearing it. The hood will not stay over my broad-brim hat very well and frequently flops off my bare head. When hatless at night the headlamp usually keeps the hood above my eyes, but daytime the hood falls over them. My feeling about the hood at this point is that it is too large and too floppy not to have a drawstring.
    Two nights I slept in the jacket; one night I used it as a pillow; and two nights I pulled it over the top of my mattress. I hadn't bothered to bag the jacket for use as a pillow and of course it slid apart to become not very useful in that regard. It's very comfortable to sleep in or on, though of course the hard nylon can feel cold when touched by bare skin, such as happens when my shirt pulls up as I thrash about under my sleeping bag used as comforter. But of course the mattress without being covered is cold too.
    The elastic wrist cuff is big enough that no tension is applied to skin and no kind of irritation results even after long hours of wearing. It also allows the cuff to be rolled back a couple inches when I don't want the sleeve hanging over my hands.

Field Conditions:
    3. Dec 29-Jan 2, 2018: Pinecrest, Stanislaus National Forest, California. 4 nights. 4 mi (6 km) trail; 6,000 ft (1,800 m) Leave wt 44 lb (20 kg) return 40 lb (18 kg). 32-60 F (0-16 C), dry, sunny days, chilly evenings; campfire.
    4. Feb 7-9: Pt. Reyes National Sea Shore, California. 2 nights backpacking/14 mi (22.5 km)/7 hours. Hot days. Warm and dry night at 1,025 ft (310 m) Sky Camp; cold and dewy night at 50 ft (15 m) Coast Camp.

I'm finding this jacket remarkably warm and comfortable. The hood will stay over my hat when I bend the sides of the hat up. Coast Camp was pretty chilly at night (no fires, so not heated up at bed time) and I pulled the jacket over the foot of my sleeping bag. That worked great to keep stubbornly cold feet warm. It's cushy enough for a pillow, but it won't stay in place or folded together.
    The only complaint I have with the jacket is that the pocket zippers seem to snag often.

Surprisingly light jacket for as warm as it is.

Quick shots:
    a) light
    b) packable
    c) breathable
    d) not a best fit
Thank you Craghoppers, Ltd., and for the opportunity to test this product. This concludes my report.

Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Craghoppers Compresslite II Jacket > Test Report by joe schaffer

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