|Guest - Not logged in|
Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > ExOfficio Storm Logic Jacket > Test Report by Jennifer Pope
Initial Impressions & Product Description (back to top)This is a fairly thin jacket classified as a thermal layer by ExOfficio.
This jacket is made with ripstop fabric and has been treated with durable water repellent (DWR). It is supposed to be able to handle wind, rain and storms. I will certainly be able to test if that is true. The jacket is 'slightly puffy' and just based on how the jacket feels on, it's somewhere in between a winter coat and a lightweight jacket. The jacket has a bit of a shiny finish but it's not as drastic as it seems in pictures. I am testing the 'wine' color which is a dark shade and not loud at all. The detailing and lining is all a medium gray and I feel the colors complement each other well.
The cuffs are constructed in a way I'm not familiar with. Instead of the elastic being around the outside of the cuff so you see the gathered fabric, the elastic is hidden on the inside so the fabric of the arms just appears to end at the wrist. The elastic just tightens the wrist slightly and it is not tight against my wrist at all. The back of the jacket dips down just a bit in the tail area for extra coverage. I think this looks more flattering and should keep my back covered when I bend over. There's an elastic cord all around the bottom edge of the jacket which can be tightened and then secured with a cordlock on each end. The extra 'tails' of the cord then feed into the exterior hand pockets so they don't hang out--genius! The collar is a little taller than normal and it stays flipped up if I put it in that orientation. It also lays flat nicely when I slip it down. It's lined with the tri-cot fleece which is soft and comfortable. The rest of the jacket is lined with the slippery material. I would prefer the fleece material in the arms as well. I prefer that on my bare arms over the slippery material.
The collar covers my whole neck.
This jacket has pockets galore. There are seven total pockets plus the stuff pouch to turn the jacket into a neck pillow or lumbar support. The inside pockets, two on each side of the jacket, are intended for sunglasses, a boarding pass, passport/keys and a cell phone. The passport/key pocket and the cell phone pocket are both zippered with cute mini metal YKK zippers. The passport/keys pocket has a clip on a thin ribbon to hold keys. It seems a little flimsy unless I only attached one key to it. I don't really have a use for that. The cell phone pocket is cavernous. I can actually fit my iPhone AND my Kindle inside together with still a bit of extra room. I wish this pocket were lined with the fleece material. On the opposite side of the jacket are the sunglasses and boarding pass pockets. Initially I thought the sunglasses pocket seemed a bit small but when I put my glasses inside they fit perfectly. My larger glasses fit just right and my smaller pair had a bit of extra space. This pocket is lined with the fleece material which should keep the lenses of my glasses from getting scratched. Below that is the boarding pass pocket. I will be traveling by plane during the Long Term test period, so I will test how convenient it is to use for that purpose. This pocket is actually a bit oversized for this purpose too. It is the exact size of my Kindle and I imagine it could comfortably hold things like a small paperback a few energy bars, etc. pretty easily. And just in case I might accidentally put my cell phone in the sunglasses pocket by mistake all of the pockets are embroidered with a little symbol for the item that is intended to be stored in each one. This may seem a little overkill but it is tastefully done and the symbols are not obtrusive.
Interior pocketsThe outer pockets are two hand-warmer pockets. These are lined with the fleece material, which will be nice in the cold. There is also a pocket on the bottom of the left arm. This might be handy for lip balm or gum. It's just barely too small for my iPhone but I would guess any phone slightly smaller would fit. All of the exterior pockets are zippered.
My size measurements were right on the border between Small and Medium. But my waist and sleeve measurements were solidly Medium so I decided to order the Medium so I would have room to layer underneath the jacket if I wanted too. The jacket is a little roomy with just a t-shirt on but not too big. The shoulders fit perfectly, so a Small may have been too tight across my back. The fit is definitely more modern as the jacket nips in at the waist rather than being boxy. The arms are a bit long, but I hate exposed wrists on a cold day, so I actually prefer that.
The fit in the shoulder is snug.
So far the pillow seems a little gimmicky more than essential. There weren't instructions on how to convert the jacket to pillow-mode, so I folded the arms back (so the lining was on the outside) and then rolled the jacket inside the large pocket (which is located on the inside of the jacket in the lower back area). This seemed to work pretty easily. The pillow closed with three hook and loop closures. It looks a bit like an over-stuffed sausage and I think the pouch should be a bit larger. The closures are very strong though and they hold tight. On the ends of the pillow are tabs, one with a button and the other with three button holes. I assume these are so you can attach the pillow around your neck so it doesn't fall off during an airline flight or other trip. Choosing a button for this task seems odd, I would prefer another mechanism. During my in-home couch use, the pillow seems comfortable enough. And there's a hidden embroidered "ExOfficio" that is now visible in pillow-mode so everyone else on your flight knows what brand that crazy jacket that turns into a pillow is.
Converting the jacket into a pillow
Field Conditions (back to top)Short hike along Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, USA. Approximately 1 mile (1.6 km), 45 F (7 C), overcast with gusty winds off the lake.
Casual wearings around town in Connecticut and California in 25 to 60 F (-4 to 16 C).
Shoveling snow in a really wet snow storm. 35 F (2 C), gusty winds.
2 day hikes on Wintergreen Lake, Connecticut, USA. Approximately 3 miles (4.8 km), sunny and approximately 40 F (4 C).
Sailing in San Diego Bay, California, USA. Sunny, very windy and 50 F (10 C).
Day hike on the Sacramento River Trail in Redding, California, USA. Approximately 1 mile (1.6 km), sunny and 50 F (10 C).
5 flight legs ranging from 1 hour to 6 grueling hours with two toddlers.
Lake Winnipesaukee in late Fall and the foreboding sky
ObservationsAs the reader may have noticed the Field Report period for this test was twice the normal length. Unfortunately for this test, New England has had an exceptionally mild winter. This has meant that this jacket didn't get much use in the first two months of this test. In order to fairly evaluate the jacket, this field report covers four months of wear. The long term report will remain the regular 2 month time length.
The first time I wore this jacket it wasn't particularly cold out but there was a cold wind gusting off of the lake I was hiking around. When I initially started walking I had the jacket zipped up and I did not feel the wind at all. It kept me quite warm inside the jacket. After walking for a bit and warming up, I was able to unzip the jacket and still feel comfortable.
I wore this jacket during a freak snow storm at the end of October. The snowfall was very, very wet and basically melted on contact with the jacket. For most of my time in the snow I was shoveling snow so I was definitely getting my heart rate going. The jacket got quite wet but the dampness did not seem to seep through and get my clothing wet. And although I was working hard, I didn't get overly sweaty and I kept the jacket fully zipped the whole time. I usually find that if my feet stay warm the rest of my body tends to stay warm too (and I was wearing thick socks and waterproof boots). Although the jacket was quite wet, it did dry pretty quickly in my warm but dark basement hung on a drying rack. By the next afternoon it was completely dry (and possibly before then, that's when I happened to check it).
I find the jacket quite comfortable to wear. It feels cozy to me. I like the elastic in the wrists, it keeps cold air out nicely but it isn't tight at all so I can actually fit full-sized winter gloves inside the jacket cuff. On a typical hike or just for daily use I just wear a thin pair of knit gloves or occasionally thinner fleece gloves. All of these options work nicely with this jacket. And I have plenty of pockets to store my gloves in if I go inside or want to take them off temporarily. One thing I don't like is that the jacket is lined with a silky material similar to the outside of the jacket. Occasionally, I wear the jacket with short sleeves and I don't like that silky material directly on my skin. Usually that fabric is cold, and I just don't find it comfortable. I would prefer some kind of fleece lining.
I have found the jacket to be warm enough down to almost 30 F (-1 C) if I'm wearing a baselayer and a midlayer (like a thin fleece) under it. The jacket does have a collar that stays standing up nicely to block the wind, but if it's actually windy out there's enough space between the collar and my hat that I need to wear a scarf or something around my neck at least until I get warmed up. On a regular day without wind, the collar provides enough protection against the cold air. The only other area where I have a problem with cold air is around the shoulder seams where the arms are attached to the torso of the jacket. If I'm only wearing a baselayer under the jacket I can feel a bit of cold air seeping in through that seam. Usually I only notice this when I first go outside or when I'm stopping to take a break. Anywhere below around 30 F (-1 C) and I start feeling cold. I would need a longer jacket that covers part of my legs and rear and a thicker coat. This is pretty much exactly what I expected out of the jacket.
I've used the jacket quite a bit in pillow-mode. Converting it to a pillow at home was pretty simple when I laid the jacket out on the floor. Converting it for the first time in an airplane with only a teeny tiny personal space was more difficult. Initially, I just tried to stuff the jacket into the pouch, but that didn't work very well and I had a hard time securing the hook and loop closures and then ended up with a lumpy pillow. I did get it straightened out a bit so it was comfortable. In pillow-mode there's a button and three button holes so the jacket can be made into a neck pillow and worn around the neck. Without the button fastened the pillow stays more in a tube shape. I find the neck pillow a little odd; it feels a little claustrophobic to me since it basically has the same girth all the way around the pillow and near my face. I prefer to just use it as a pillow "tube" and lean it against the side of the plane (when I get the window seat). I'm also not crazy about using a pillow made out of that silky material (that the jacket is lined with). It makes the pillow slippery and cold.
I didn't find air travel particularly useful with this jacket. I intended to wear it throughout the airport but by the time I got my bags checked I was already much too hot to keep it on. In the winter it seems that public places (like airports) compensate for the cold weather outside by making the indoor temperature really, really warm. I couldn't keep it on. I shoved the jacket into the crisscrossing bungee cables of my backpack for airport security and walking through the terminal (you can't wear a jacket through security anyway). So while my boarding pass did fit nicely in that pocket, it only stayed there for about a minute until I took the jacket off. I think after the test period ends I will probably put my jacket in my checked luggage as soon as I get inside the terminal and use a regular travel pillow on my flights. Although, if I'm packing especially light, or if I'm not checking luggage, I would likely use the pillow feature of the jacket.
I haven't needed to wash the jacket yet. Even hiking with 2 messy toddlers with what seems like constant runny noses, the jacket still looks good. I do plan to wash it during the long term test period to see how it holds up. All of the zippers continue to run smoothly and no other maintenance issues have come up.
I think the plethora of pockets are a little unnecessary. I can't imagine how bulky it would be if they were all filled. I have filled a few pockets simultaneously and that made it feel a little weighed down. I wish all of the pockets were lined with the soft material like the pocket intended for sunglasses--especially the cell phone pocket.
Field Conditions (back to top)4 Day Hikes in Connecticut -- 40 to 50 F (4 to 10 C), all approximately 3 miles (4.8 km).
10 days in London and Paris -- walking around 10 miles each day (16 km), temperatures around 50 F (10 C), some cloudy days, some sunny days and brief rain.
2 6.5 hour flights and 2 1 hour flights (one redeye).
Neighborhood walks, park play dates, and every day wear.
Observations (back to top)I wore this jacket for most of February and March except for a brief warm-spell. This included a handful of day hikes (repeats of the hikes completed earlier since these trails are a few short minutes from my house). If my memory serves me correctly, we only had one final snow storm in Connecticut during the final two months of testing that left a substantial amount of snow. I was outside during part of the storm in the jacket and it got quite wet. I wanted to confirm what I suspected earlier in my testing, that although the jacket gets quite wet, I am not wet under the jacket. I think this is definitely true. The picture below shows how wet the jacket was right after I took it off. The dark areas are where the jacket got really, really wet. I inspected the clothes I was wearing underneath and I was still totally dry. The jacket was also dry in only a few hours time. I was impressed with the jacket's performance under these circumstances. I should also mention this jacket does not get this wet in a typical snow storm with light, fluffy snow. This was a really wet, heavy snow that just stuck to the jacket as it fell. In other snow storms the snow did just fall right off for the most part.
The jacket after being outside in a very wet snow stormBefore I took this jacket on our 10 day jaunt to Europe, I decided I should wash the jacket. I noticed that around the inside of the collar there were some oil markings where the jacket rubs up against my face when it's fully zipped. ExOfficio gives the following washing instructions for the jacket on their website:
Machine wash cold; gentle cycle; use non detergent soap recommended; rinse thoroughly; no bleach or fabric softeners; tumble dry low; iron low setting; do not dry cleanI washed the jacket as recommended, except I used Woolite, which now I realize is gentler than regular detergent, but is still a detergent (but note that all my experiences noted above about water- repellency were pre-washing). The jacket came out nice and looked as good as new.
I previously complained about the sleeves of the jacket being lined with the slippery fabric rather than the microfleece that lines some parts of the jacket. I'm still not a fan. When I start to sweat inside the jacket the sleeves stick to my arms and I don't like it. I don't like wearing the jacket unless I have long sleeves on (which is most of the time when I'd wear this jacket anyway).
Unfortunately I've gotten a few snags on this jacket. The first snag came mid-March. I'm not exactly sure how it happened because I didn't notice the actual snag. It's just a single thread pulled out. I will just cut off the thread and the jacket is fine. The second is an actual rip, unfortunately. This happened when I got caught on a chain link fence. As I moved past it I felt resistance and stopped, but it was too late, there's a hole. This just happened in the last week and I haven't decided exactly how to fix it. It did happen while we were in Paris, so I didn't really have any means to fix it and I continued to wear the jacket for another day and half and the hole did not get any larger.
The small snag on the left and the small tear on the right.
I used this jacket in pillow-mode for 2 6.5 hour flights. The first was a red-eye so I was attempting to sleep for most of the flight. It didn't work out very well for sleeping. The pillow has a button and button hole so it can be secured around my neck and stay in place. I really didn't like to use it like that. It feels constricting and just weird. I prefer to use it as a long pillow tube so I can hold onto one end of the pillow with my arms and lean against the pillow with the side of my head. I did manage to sleep for a few hours on the plane this way. I don't actually fault the pillow for my lack of sleep; I think it's hard to sleep on planes (even with a sleeping pill!). But I can say that it's not the perfect airplane pillow that I've always been searching for. I do think it works at least as well, even probably slightly better than my travel neck pillow and it's nice to not have to bring (or remember) a separate pillow. We travel lightly.
The jacket after climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris (284 steps up and then down again).
There are a lot of pockets. I use the outer pockets the most. I'm glad they have zippers which keeps everything safely inside (even on a crowded subway with wandering hands nearby). I only use the interior pockets if I need to store something that I won't need easy access to. I don't like to unzip my jacket when I'm outside--don't want to let cold drafts in!
This concludes this report. Thank you to ExOfficio and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this item.
Read more gear reviews by Jennifer Pope
Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > ExOfficio Storm Logic Jacket > Test Report by Jennifer Pope