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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Mishmi Takin Qaras Softshell > Test Report by Brian Hartman



NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Central Indiana
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


April 28, 2018


Manufacturer: Mishmi TakinIMAGE 1 IMAGE 2
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website:

Jacket Specifications:
Face Fabric: 86% Polyester, 14% Spandex
Fleece: 100% Polyester
Fabric Waterproof rating: 10,000 mm
Fabric Breathability rating: 10,000 g/m2
Durable water repellent (DWR) finish

Available Colors: Pirate Black, Dirty Yellow
Available Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
Size Tested: Medium, 40-42 in (102 - 107 cm) chest
Listed weight: 30.6 oz (868 g) based on Men's Large
Measured weight: 29 oz (822 g)
MSRP: $100.00 USA

Waterproof, windproof 3 layer 4-way stretch fabric
High loft fleece lining
Twin zippered, hand-warmer pockets
Pit zips for venting and temperature control
Adjustable attached hood
YKK dual color vision zippers
Velcro cuff adjusters
Hem cinch cord

The Mishmi Takin Qaras Jacket (hereafter called Qaras or jacket) is a waterproof, breathable, hooded softshell jacket, with emphasis on waterproof.  While hardshell jackets often sacrifice breathability for waterproofness, and softshells typically breathe well but are only water resistant at best, the Qaras is purported to be both waterproof and highly breathable which allows for a more comfortable body temperature during high-energy activities or in temperate climates.  The key factor in the performance of the Qaras jacket, in my mind, is Mishmi Takin's 3 layer design.  The outermost layer of the jacket is made up of 86% Polyester and 14% Spandex, which gives it its soft, stretchy feel.  The middle layer consists of a waterproof / breathable membrane that's laminated to the outer layer of fabric.  Last, the inner layer of the jacket is made up of a high loft 100% polyester fleece lining for moisture wicking and added warmth.

The jacket has two hand warmer pockets that measure 5.5 x 15 in (14 x 38 cm) in length.  It also has pit zips for venting to regulate body temperature during high aerobic activities.  The pit zips measure 14 in (35.5 cm) in length and include two YKK zippers.  The hood is permanently attached to the jacket and has three cinch cords to adjust its fit.  Two additional cinch cords are provided at the bottom of the jacket, where the hem is located.  These cinch cords should help keep wind and snow out on breezy days.  Finally the cuffs of the jacket are adjustable in diameter via Velcro straps.


The Qaras arrived at my house via USPS Priority Mail and when my wife first handed me the box I didn't even consider the possibility that a jacket was inside.  It seemed way too small and light weight to contain an insulated jacket so I assumed it was something else.  It wasn't until I opened the box and reached inside that I realized the Qaras had arrived.  

My first impressions upon seeing it were very positive.  The Qaras looked sharp in Pirate Black with Orange highlights.  The outer fabric was soft and stretchy, while the inside fleece felt smooth to the touch.  The jacket was in perfect condition and the fit and finish were impeccable.  The stitching was straight, the seams were tight, and the jacket looked to be of superb quality.  
I was also impressed by how sturdy the outer fabric felt.  After seeing and feeling the outside of this jacket I have no concerns whatsoever about the fabric snagging or tearing on a tree branch or briar, which happens more often than one would think.  The Qaras felt solid and durable and I have no reservations about taking it off-trail.

Moving on to some other key features of the jacket, the pockets are a big plus for me.  They are wide and incredibly deep which means they'll provide plenty of storage space for items I need to access quickly, or for the occasional time when I want to put my hands in my pockets while wearing gloves, which I sometimes do when wearing thin gloves and my fingers start to get cold.  I also really like the hood.  Even though I was not a fan of permanently attached hoods in my younger days, I have since grown to love them.  No hat, in my mind, comes close to the warmth of a well-designed, insulated hood.  A good hood protects one's head and neck completely on three sides, blocking it from wind and cold.  Having an integrated hood is also a necessity during hard rain storms, when sheltering down is not an option.  

As mentioned in the Product Specifications section of this report, the Qaras also has pit zips, adjustable wrist cuffs, and cinch cords at the waist.  I think the pit zips will come in really handy as the weather warms up next month.  Although unzipping the front of the jacket lets some heat out, it doesn't relieve arm pit sweating, because they're still covered up, and that's where the pit zips come into play.  I've had really good luck with them in the past and look forward to trying these.   


The Qaras had a single small hang tag with the company logo and phrase 'Dare To Explore' on the front.  Written on the hang tag was a short statement that described where the name Qaras came from.  No specs or product details, just a short statement.  I found it to be simple and refreshing, in comparison to the many highly detailed hang tags I see, so I'll share: Qaras was "named after a 19,000 ft snow covered peak in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.  Qaras comes into its own when it is cold and wet around.  The waterproof, windproof fabric easily handles winter showers or wet snow while the high loft fleece lining keeps you super warm."


Care instructions were printed inside the jacket and were as follows: Machine was in cold water on gentle cycle.  Wash with like colors.  Do not Dry Clean, bleach, or
use fabric softeners.  Tumble dry on low.



I found the Qaras jacket to have a slim, comfortable fit.  Based on the sizing chart on Mishmi Takin's website and how the jacket fits me, I recommend choosing one size larger than normal to make sure it's not too small.  The Qaras was easy to slip on and I really liked the stretch in the fabric, which made it easy to move around with no restrictions.  I wore the jacket on a short walk around my neighborhood with temperatures in the low 50s F (11 C) and it felt very comfortable.  I look forward to wearing it on upcoming backpacking trips this spring and summer.


The Qaras jacket is lightweight, comfortable and it's purported to be waterproof, windproof and breathable.  It is very well designed, meticulously sewn and I look forward to testing its durability and effectiveness at keeping me warm and dry while backpacking.

This concludes my Initial Report for the Mishmi Takin Qaras jacket.  Please come back in two months to read my Field Report
and find out how well this jacket performs on the trail.  In the meantime, I would like to thank Mishmi Takin and for the opportunity to test this jacket.


August 4, 2018



During the past two months I hiked approximately 27 mi (44 km) and wore the Qaras jacket whenever temperatures were cool, or rain was predicted.  My trips included two overnight backpacking excursions and several day hikes.  I also wore the Qaras around town during heavy rain showers.  My first overnight trip was to the Hoosier National Forest where I spent two days hiking on mostly established trails.  Temperatures ranged from 66 to 76 F (19 to 24 C) with light winds and cloudy skies.  The terrain was hilly, and the usually hard-packed dirt trails were muddy from rain.  I hiked 12 miles (19 km) through mature forests and the occasional open area.  Elevations ranged from 550 ft (168 m) to 790 ft (241 m).  My second overnight trip was to Southeastern Indiana (IN) near Oldenburg where temperatures were 72 F (22 C) during the day and in the mid 60s F (18 C) at night.  I hiked approximately 6 mi (9.7 km) on this trip.  The day hikes that I went on were all in Central Indiana and I purposefully chose evenings or weekends when heavy rains were predicted so as to further test the jacket.

Location: Hoosier National Forest
Type of trip: On-trail hiking
Distance: 12 mi (19 km)
Length of trip: Two nights
Backpack weight: 31 lb (14 kg)
Conditions: Overcast with intermittent rain showers
Precipitation: 0.3 in (0.76 cm)
Temperature range: 66 to 76 F (19 to 24 C)

Location: SE Indiana
Type of trip: Off-trail hiking
Distance: 6 mi (9.7 km)
Length of trip: Two nights
Backpack weight: 34 lb (17.7 kg)
Conditions: Mostly sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature range: 65 F to 72 F (18 to 22 C)

Location: Various parks in Central Indiana
Type of trip: On-trail hiking
Distance: 10 mi (16 km)
Length of trip: Multiple day trips
Backpack weight: 9 lb (4 kg)
Conditions: Hot and humid.  It rained on all my day hikes.  It was also very hot, which was unfortunate, since the Qaras is a lined jacket.
Precipitation: as much as 0.4 in (1.0 cm) on at least one day trip
Temperature range: Varied from 84 to 92 F (29 to 33 C)


During Field Testing I mainly used the Qaras as a rain jacket since temperatures never dropped below the mid 60s F (18 C).  The only times I used it for warmth was during early morning or late at night.  A side benefit to wearing it after dark, as confirmed on all of my trips to wooded areas, was that mosquitos can't bite through the fabric.  My overall impressions of the jacket during testing were positive as it provided decent protection against rain, dried quickly, and was very durable.


Weather Resistance: One of my goals during this test period was to be in as many rain storms as possible to see how this jacket held up to water.  I was especially curious to see if it would wet through or if rain would get in through the zippers or seams of the jacket.  What I found is that the fabric did a good job of shedding rain and it truly appears to be waterproof.  However, after about 25 minutes in light rain or 5 minutes in a downpour, water got in through the jacket seams and wetted the fleece lining.  


It was somewhat hard to capture on film, but as seen in the photo to the right, all of the jacket seams, including the back seam, shoulder seams, and hood seams, are saturated with water.  I suspect the seams inside the jacket, behind the fleece lining, aren’t taped or sealed because water infiltrated pretty much all the seams including the back, shoulder, and hood seams.  Even though water got inside the jacket, it didn’t dampen my spirits or put me in a soggy mood, because I never felt wet or cold.  The fleece lining kept me warm and I never felt soggy, which is right on par with my experiences with good quality fleece.  Once the rain stopped, the fleece dried within a few hours.  At no time did rain enter through the pocket zippers and only a small amount of water entered through the front zipper, but it ran down the wind flap and out the bottom of the jacket without ever touching me.  The hood allowed water to enter through its seams, just like the jacket, but once again, because of the fleece lining (and warm weather) I wasn’t bothered at all.

Warmth: It wasn’t cold enough for me to test the low temperature limit of this jacket.  However, the fleece lining performed wonderfully on mornings and nights when temperatures were in the mid 60s (18 C) and I needed just a little extra warmth.  Hopefully I’ll have opportunities during the next few months to see how well the jacket handles cold weather.

Ventilation / breathability: The Qaras provided good ventilation via its pit zips, and it did a great job of releasing moisture and water vapor through the inner and outer jacket fabrics.  Several times I found myself thinking I should be sweating because of the hot temperature or high humidity in the air combined with my activity level, but that wasn’t the case.  When the fleece lining did get wet from sweat or when water came in through the seams, it dried very quickly.  Overall, I would rate the breathability of the jacket as very high.  Even there were times when I sweated while wearing the jacket, no fault of its own due to the higher temperatures I tested in, I never felt clammy or sweaty.  A good jacket, in my mind, makes the best of bad situations, and the Qaras seems to do just that by making me feel comfortable even when I shouldn’t be.

Comfort and fit: I really like the soft, smooth feel of the inner and outer jacket fabric.  The smoothness of the fleece lining, in particular, made it easy to slip the jacket on and off whenever I wanted.  Regarding fit, the waist is fine, but the chest is snug, and the underarms are still tight, despite the fact that I upsized the jacket from a small to medium.  Unfortunately, this means I can’t wear anything more than a thin shirt under the jacket because it is too tight.  That’s a shame because I like everything else about the jacket.

Durability: I have had no issues with the jacket’s durability.  It has held up well to tree limbs, branches, and pack straps, and all the seams have remained tight and in-tact.  In addition, the zippers and tension cords continue to function as normal.  The jacket also doesn’t have any scrapes or tears despite me going off-trail, through briars and other nasty vegetation, on at least one of my hikes.  That says a lot to me about the ruggedness of the fabric.  And a special kudos to spandex, which is incorporated into the Qaras and seems to make all of my outerwear better, by virtue of its ability to stretch.  I will continue to monitor the jacket during the next two months to see if continues to be as durable as it has been so far.

Finally, I found the pockets useful for storing almost anything and I like the fact that they’re zippered, so nothing can fall out.  Although I already mentioned it in my Initial Report, it’s worth noting again that the pockets on the Qaras are wide and incredibly deep; in fact, I would describe them as cavernous when it comes to the sheer number of things they can hold.


Mishmi Takin has a saying on their homepage, “We breathe when others don’t”, and the Qaras jacket certainly lived up to that claim during the past two months, especially given the tough testing conditions.  The Qaras is an insulated jacket and this summer, like most in the Midwest has been hot and humid with just a few cooler days mixed in.  Here’s to hoping for some cooler weather, for my sake, during the next few months.

This concludes my Field Report for the Mishmi Takin Qaras.  Please come back in two months to read my final report for this jacket.  In the meantime, thanks to Mishmi Takin and for the opportunity to test this jacket.



October 2, 2018


During Long Term Testing, I wore the Mishmi Takin Qaras jacket on three multi-day backpacking trips.  The first of my overnight trips was to Southeastern Indiana (IN) near Oldenburg where temperatures were 74 F (23 C) during the day and in the mid 60s F (19 C) at night, with a cool breeze blowing through the forest.  I only hiked 4 mi (6.4 km) on this trip as most of my time was spent fishing and lounging around camp. 

My second overnight trip was to the Hoosier National Forest where I spent two days hiking on mostly established trails.  Temperatures during that trip ranged from 72 to 76 F (22 to 24 C) with partly cloudy skies.  I hiked 10 miles (16 km) through mature forests, over terrain that was quite hilly, with elevations ranging from 550 ft (168 m) to 790 ft (241 m). 

My third trip was to Southeastern Ohio and Northern Kentucky, along the Ohio River.  While there, I visited the birthplace of Ulysses S Grant and read about the Underground Railroad.  I also saw some neat old towns including Maysville, KY that was settled in 1787.

In addition to my overnight backpacking trips above, I wore the Qaras on several rainy day hikes in Central Indiana.

Location: SE Indiana
Type of trip: Off-trail hiking
Distance: 4 mi (6.4 km) 
Length of trip: Two nights
Backpack weight: 28 lb (12.7 kg) 
Conditions: Mostly sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature range: 66 F to 74 F (19 to 23 C)

Location: Hoosier National Forest
Type of trip: On-trail hiking
Distance: 10 mi (16 km)
Length of trip: Two nights
Backpack weight: 32 lb (14 kg)
Conditions: Partly cloudy
Precipitation: None
Temperature range: 72 to 76 F (22 to 24 C)

Location: Southeastern Ohio and Northern Kentucky
Type of trip: On-trail hiking
Distance: 15 mi (24 km)
Length of trip: Three nights
Backpack weight: 35 lb (16 kg)
Conditions: Overcast with continuous rain showers the first two days then sunny skies
Precipitation: 0.5 in (1.3 cm)
Temperature range: 65 to 74 F (18 to 23 C)


The Qaras performed well during Long Term Testing.  I wore it over my wool crew top on cool mornings and around camp during the evenings when temperatures dropped, and the jacket always kept me warm.  Even when cool breezes invaded camp and lowered the wind chill, the jacket kept me warm.  I attribute its wind stopping prowess to the fine weave of its polyester exterior, which blocked even the strongest winds, so I never felt chilled.  Unfortunately, the weather never got cold enough for me to test its low temperature limit, but I suspect it would do quite well in temperatures in the mid to upper 40s F (8 C).  Below that I would have to test to see exactly how cold it could go and still be comfortable to wear.

I also wore the Qaras on several rainy days, fully expecting the seams to leak like they had done during Field Testing, and they did.  But despite water coming in through the seams, I never felt cold.   I attribute that small miracle to the fleece lining which always felt soft and warm, even when wet, and dried very quickly as soon as the rain stopped.  When it rained hard the hood did a good job of keeping rain off my face yet it wasn’t so big that it drooped over my eyes or blocked my vision.

The Qaras breathed well, even when it was warm and humid outside.  The jacket did a good job of regulating my body temperature so that I never felt sweaty while wearing it.  This jacket seemed to do a much better job of letting moisture escape then my 3-layer waterproof jackets.  And that’s reasonable to believe given that it’s a softshell.  Speaking of softshell jackets, I would be remiss if I didn’t again say how much I liked the stretch fabric.  It made it easier to get the jacket on and off, and it made the jacket more comfortable to wear.  In addition, the stretch fabric works great in the woods, as it simply shrugs off tree branches and prickly bushes.  It also smooth and quiet, and it doesn’t ever look bad, even the next morning, after I rolled it up into a ball and used it for a pillow the night before.




The Qaras is a nearly perfect softshell.  It just needs more fabric in the arm pits and upper arms, so they aren’t so tight, and seam sealing so the jacket is truly waterproof.

This concludes my Long Term Report.  Thanks to Mishmi Takin and for the opportunity to test this jacket. 

Read more reviews of Mishmi Takin gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman

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