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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > GoLite Paradigm Jacket > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron

GoLite Paradigm Women's Jacket

Initial Report: Apr 17 2007

Field Report: Jul 3 2007

Long Term Report: Aug 27 2007

GoLite Paradigm Woman's Jacket
Image from GoLite website

Personal Information:
Name: Kathryn Doiron
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Height: 1.7 m (5' 8")
Weight: 68 kg (150 lb)
Email: kdoiron 'at' gmail 'dot' com
Location: Washington DC, USA

Brief Background: I started backpacking and hiking seriously almost four years ago. Most of my miles have been logged in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have recently finished 1200+ miles (2000+ km) of the Appalachian Trail. My style is to be as light as possible while not spending a fortune. My pack weight tends to hover around 25 lbs (11 kg) with two days of food and 16 oz (0.5 L) of water. I have recently starting getting into winter hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: GoLite
MSRP: US$150.00
Material: Trinity 3-Layer stretch polyester with DWR
Weight (as stated): 15 oz (430 g)
Weight (measured): 16 oz (450 g)
Colours Available: Avocado/Grease, Golden/Rust, Grape/Grease, Grease/Grape, Lip/Rust
Sizes Available: XS to XL

Initial Report:
April 17th 2007

I received the large sized avocado/grease coloured jacket. Based on the sizing chart I fell at the upper edge of the large range and opted to go with the large rather then an extra large. The fit of the jacket is a little tight across the chest area especially when I have another thick thermal layer underneath. While the jacket does fit, I would have liked a little more room for more layering options. The cut of the coat is semi-fitted. It scoops in below the chest then flares out some for the hips. There is plenty of shoulder space giving lots of arm movement. There are large pit zips with dual direction zippers and covered with a flap. The front zipper is also covered with a wind flap. The hood offers good coverage with a little beak above the face for more facial coverage. The hood can be tightened around the face with bungee cord and the back can be tightened by adjusting a Velcro like tab on the back of the hood. All the seams are taped inside and there are two hand pockets with matching internal pockets. In the left hand pocket is a mini pocket for an MP3 player. The hood can be tightened down around the face and the back of the hood can be tightened with a Velcro tab. On the top left side of the jacket just under the top of the zipper, there is a bungee cord loop sewn into the seam. This loop is only located on the left side and it use was not immediately apparent. I suspect it may be used for holding earphone wires in place.

After wearing the jacket around over the last few days, I find that the jacket is a nice fit. I find the hood pulls a little when I look down but otherwise seems to offer good coverage. Only with a good rain hike will I determine how good the coverage is. The tightening action on the hood is with bungee cord that feeds through a rubber grommet with a large hole and a slot. In order to lock the bungee cord in place I have to pull the bungee out then lift up to lock the bungee through the slot. I noticed that the zipper only zips in one direction, there is no bottom up unzip feature. This is a little bit of a shame as I do enjoy being able to open up the bottom when sitting for long periods of time. The coat does not bunch up uncomfortably when I sit so I may not notice. The zipper has the zipper pull on the left side of the jacket, the right side feeds into the bottom. As my last jacket was the opposite of this jacket, I find myself fighting with the zipper to undo it sometimes.

The outside of the jacket has a nice brushed nylon feel. It is soft to the touch and quiet. So far, with the little rain I have seen, the water beaded up on the jacket. The inside of the jacket is also soft to the touch, even the taping on the seams. There are no noticeable rough edges. The Velcro closures around the wrists have a soft rubber pull that is easy to grab to readjust the tightness of the wrist opening. The inner fabric of the pockets is a soft black mesh that is doubled. The outer pocket falls between the two layers. The MP3 pocket is small, I doubt I could fit my 60 GB iPod photo in there but I could fit something smaller. The pocket is about 2" by 4" (5 cm by 10 cm). The jacket is nicely designed and has nice zipper pulls that have rubber ends for ease of use. The outer hand warmer pockets seem to be set back a little further than on other jackets I have worn.

I expect to take the Paradigm Jacket on day hikes in the area as well as overnights further away. I will mostly be in the DC, Maryland and Virginia areas. I expect to encounter rain and hopefully lots of nice weather. I will also be wearing this jacket to work once the weather warms up to see how well the jacket holds up to wear over the long term. Also this will increase my chances of playing in the rain.

Field Report:
July 3rd 2007

Field Trips:

I have taken the Paradigm jacket out on two overnight trips out on the Appalachian Trail near Front Royal, Virginia, and one very short day hike out in the Canaan Valley in West Virginia. I have also taken to wearing the jacket to work on cooler mornings.

Day Hike:

This short day hike was about 3 miles in the Canaan Valley and the weather was cold, about 40 F (4 C). The jacket kept me warm when the wind was not blowing hard, but I did notice that a hard, cold wind would eventually cut through the jacket and caused some chilling. The terrain was relatively smooth with an elevation gain of about 1500 ft (457 m). While the temperature dropped a little with elevation gain there was no snow to be had.

Overnight #1:

The first overnight hike was under dry conditions with the temperatures around 65-70 F (18-21 C). Total elevation gain was 1000 ft (304 m) with a distance of 6 miles (9.6 km). While there was little leaf cover as the leaves were just barely peeking out, the weather was still quite warm. The jacket kept me warm, there was little heat and sweat build up. When I got to camp, I pulled on a long sleeved shirt, then a thermal top. The jacket is a good fit, not too loose but with the thermal top, it was a little snug.

Overnight #2:

The second overnight hike saw some rain fall. The jacket did receive some rain, there was some water absorption into the top layer. Mostly it was drizzling and dripping from the trees. Total elevation gain was about 1500 ft (457 m) with a distance of 12 mi (19.3 km). The jacket was able to shed the rain nicely. I did not notice any rain seeping through the jacket and I remained comfortable during the 3-4 hour hike into the shelter site. At first I wore the jacket like a jacket, as the hike progressed and the heat started building up, I unzipped the pit zips. They allowed for good air flow and the pack straps didn't block the air flow. I did become too hot to comfortably wear the jacket so I pulled it off and draped it over my pack and continued to wear the hood for head coverage. I find that the hood does not seem deep enough, I like to have a deeper hood to hide my face and glasses under.


The jacket has proven to be quite comfortable to wear with and without a pack on. The pit zips have a protective outer flap but no inner flap to protect the skin. The zipper is plastic and does not feel cold against the skin like a metal zipper does, but the zipper head is metal and I do feel that touch me every once in a while. Other than the occasional cold touch of metal, I have not noticed the lack of a protective inner flap over the zipper. The pit zips are nice and deep, and the zipper is easy to pull up and down with one hand. I use the other hand to hold onto the cuff to stabilize the sleeve.

The jacket performs very well in drizzle and light rain. The water beads up on the surface of the jacket and slowly is absorbed by the top layer. The jacket is still capable of repelling water even when the top layer is fully wet. I did not notice any water seepage into the jacket during the light rain I encountered. I would like to see how the jacket performs in a heavy rain fall. I was a little disappointed by the depth of the hood. I prefer a deeper hood or a bigger peak on raincoat hoods. I found that when I had the jacket on with a pack, the pack restricted some movement and caused the hood to pull away from my face when I leaned forward or looked down. I do notice this restriction to a lesser degree when I am not wearing a pack which leaves me to believe that the hood is a little tight.

I have not yet had a chance to wash the jacket. It does pick up body odours but it hasn't needed a wash yet. I will likely be tossing it into the wash after the next trip regardless if it needs it simply to determine how well it washes and how long it takes to dry. The jacket did take some time to dry out after the rain I encountered. I wouldn't normally notice except that I got the inside of the coat wet when I draped it over my wet pack.

I still find that the pockets of the jacket are set further back then I am used to. I have gotten used to the zipper zipping from the other side but the pockets are set to the side of the jacket, not near the front. The inner pockets have been very handy for small items and keys. The small mp3 pocket just isn't the right size for my iPod Photo, but it is the perfect fit for my cell phone. The phone fits into the mp3 pocket nicely and keeps the phone from bouncing around with my keys.

Long Term Report:
August 27th 2007

Due to the heat and humidity of summer in the DC area, I have been unable to wear the jacket during the long term testing phase. I was having a little trouble finding cool enough weather to wear the jacket in near the end of the field testing phase at the end of June. I will get more wear out of the jacket over the fall and into the winter and will append any new observations to the bottom of this report. At this time the jacket is in great condition and has held up nicely to a trip through the washing machine as well as being wadded up in the bottom of my book bag for one month, although it was badly wrinkled. On previous occassions I have noticed that after some wear, the wrinkles fade then mostly go away.

This concludes my report series on the GoLite Paradigm Jacket. I hope you have enjoyed reading this test series.

Read more gear reviews by Kathryn Doiron

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > GoLite Paradigm Jacket > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron

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