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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Mishmi Takin Virunga Hardshell > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes
Mishmi Takin Virunga
Review by Coy Starnes
The Mishmi Takin Virunga in a pouring rain - dry so far
Tester: Coy Starnes
Weight: 250 lb (113 kg)
Height: 5' 11" (1.8 m)
Chest: 44 in (112 cm)
Waist 40 in (102 cm)
Torso: approximately 20 in (51 cm)
Location: Grant Alabama USA
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy backpacking, hunting, fishing and kayaking. I enjoy hiking with family and friends but also hike solo occasionally. Most of my hiking has been in the Southeastern US. I hike throughout the year but actually enjoy late fall or early spring the most, with some winter hiking mixed in. I don't like the hot and humid weather of summer unless I can escape to the mountains where it is cooler. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability to a degree. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food and water.
Item: Mishmi Takin Virunga jacket
Manufacture: Mishmi Takin
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Size tested: XL
Listed Weight: men’s large 15.5 oz (439 gm)
Measured Weight: men’s XL 15.3 oz (434 gm)
Materials: shell 100% nylon - liner 100% polyester
Color: Teal Blue (Grey and Pirate Black available)
MSRP: 375 USD
The Mishmi Takin Virunga is a hardshell rain jacket designed to be one of, if not the most breathable rain jacket available. This is achieved by using eVent DVStorm fabric and a combination of front and back mechanical vents as well as pit zips under the arms. The mechanical vents are basically small holes near the top of the main zipper on the front and in the center just below the shoulders on the back. The front vents are uncovered but in a place that would not likely get rained on. The back vent is covered by a strip of fabric. The jacket features five pockets - two napoleon pockets at the chest area, two hand pockets lower down, and an inside chest pocket on the left side. All four outer pockets are closed with waterproof zippers. I won’t give the measurements of all the pockets but they are all very generous. I can easily fit my iPhone 6+ in any of the pockets, however it does stick out the top of the inside chest pocket a little (see photo below). The lower hand pockets are a little weird in the fact that they really have no top, well not until you reach 15 in (38 cm) up from the bottom. Not that I expect to need the room, but I found I could easily stuff a small down jacket inside it. This photo shows the depth of the pocket and I chose the left side to also show the inside chest pocket holding my iPhone 6+.
back side view showing 15 in (38 cm) depth of hand pocket
and inner pocket shown holding my iPhone 6+
The hood on this jacket is really nice. I found that by cinching the back slightly it would snug down and I could look left or right as much as possible and not have the hood block my vision. This could be a very important safety feature when I’m riding my bike. Speaking of which, the hood is also compatible with a bike helmet. I’ve already worn it in a pouring rain (not on my bike) and it kept my head and face dry. The rest of the jacket also performed exactly as it should have. Below are the main features of the Virunga jacket according to Mishmi Takin.
The Mishmi Takin Virunga looks to be a very high quality and technical clothing item. I’m not sure if the seams are sewn and taped or welded but they look taped to me. However, they all look monsoon worthy. Where stitching is visible it looks perfect. I like the many features on the jacket which combine to make it a jacket useful not only in hot and humid summer conditions but also as an ideal outer layer in colder weather.
Trying it on
I chose an XL based on information provided by the website and the fact that I have found an XL works for me in shirts, jackets etc, and pretty much regardless of the brand. They say the XL chest measurement is from 42 in to 44 in (107 to 112 cm) and I’m right at the 44 in (112 cm) max listed. I would say the jacket is an athletic fit for me. This may explain why the Mishmi Takin Virunga is not as roomy as a few XL jackets I’ve worn. It should work over a couple of light layers underneath but it is too warm to really test this theory out right now. The sleeves are a little long but I can keep them sealed at my wrist and from riding up my arm by cinching the hook-and-loop fasteners if needed. This will be handy when bike riding or doing anything requiring reaching overhead. I consider myself long waisted (not in Micheal Phelps league though) but the jacket is sufficiently long enough to cover the belt line on my jeans. The back is cut slightly longer which I like, especially when ring my bike. The material is not flexible but the jacket is put together in such a way that it allows good freedom of movement. Overall, the fit is very nice and the jacket isn't baggy on me but at the same time is loose enough that it doesn't feel restrictive.
Field Report: August 14, 2018
Testing the Mishmi Takin Virunga in rainy Arizona...
Testing Locations and Conditions
I have had plenty of rain to test the jacket in, but unfortunately, many times the rain was accompanied by severe weather, and I was reluctant to go out in a lightning storm. Ironically, one of my best testing opportunities came on a trip to Arizona on June 16. I did not do any backpacking but did walk in a steady rain for about two hours. The temperature was a mild 76 F (24 C). I carried the jacket on two overnight hikes. The first overnighter was June 7 on a trail near my home. I hiked approximately 6 miles (10 km). The high was 84 F (29 C) and the low was 64 F (18 C) with no rain. The second overnighter was July 9 at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Northwestern Georgia. The high was 90 F (32 C) and the low was 67 F (19 C). It did not rain but was extremely humid. I hiked approximately 5 miles (8 km). I carried the jacket on several day hikes but it only rained once. My day hikes were from 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 km) and it was usually hot and humid and without the benefit of cooling down overnight.
Field Test Results
Since a majority of my testing was done on a single day hike in Arizona I’ll draw heavily on that experience. I saw the forecast was for an all-day rain on June 16 so I planned a long walk on a nearby walking path. I got up early to see it was sprinkling rain but nothing heavy. I grabbed one water bottle from the fridge and stuck in the right side lower jacket pocket. My iPhone 6+ went in the outside upper left pocket, also called a napoleon pocket. This way I didn’t have to unzip the jackets main zipper to get at my phone. Since I’m right handed it was easier to get at either my phone or the water bottle when I carried stuff in these particular pockets. I unzipped the pit zips all the way. I had on a light tee-shirt and gym shorts.
When I started the walk it was only sprinkling but I went ahead and put the hood on. I cinched the cord at the back of the hood snug but not tight so that the hood fit was comfortable. What really impressed me was that the hood turns with me as I look around. I couldn’t twist my head enough to cause it to ride around my head and particularly block my vision. As I continued to walk the rain picked up a bit, nothing heavy but a good steady rain. This lasted about 15 minutes and then it went back to just sprinkling. This cycle repeated itself a few more times during my walk which ended up lasting about 2 hours and covered 4 miles (6.4 km). The wind was blowing gently with a few gusts, but again, nothing major. The terrain was also basically flat with only a few gentle inclines.
I had no pack on, not even a waist pack, but I hiked at a brisk pace to simulate a hard hike as much as possible. I passed several playgrounds on the walk and would stop at each one and do a few exercises on the monkey bars to see how the jacket allowed me to move and bend. I must say, I was impressed with the mobility the jacket allowed. It also seemed to breath exceptionally well. Now granted, 76 F (24 C) is not hot and it somehow felt even cooler than that. I thought that when it is raining the humidity is 100% but it felt different than a rain at similar temperatures back home in Alabama.
Conditions during the 2 hour walk
I’ll briefly mention my other uses. I wore the jacket a couple of times walking over to my parents' house in a steady rain but only if the rain was not during a thunderstorm. They live about a quarter of a mile (0.4 km) away. On one day hike to the holler I heard a storm approaching and made a quick exit. I was nearly home when the bottom dropped out. I grabbed the jacket from my sling shoulder bag I was carrying at the time and didn’t even stop long enough to zip it up. I hiked the remaining 1/4 mile (0.4 km) home as fast as I could. I stayed dry but I was wishing it were more like a poncho to protect my sling pack. The pack didn’t get wet on the inside but even if it had my TP was protected in a plastic resealable bag.
Summary so far
I’m extremely impressed with the performance of the Mishmi Takin Virunga. It does a great job of keeping me dry and with the breathable materials and mechanical venting I felt reasonable cool while wearing it. I love the hood on this jacket, it is the best I’ve ever experienced as far as not blocking my peripheral vision. I didn’t abuse the jacket and was in open areas when I had it on so the durability didn’t get much testing. I do hope to be able to test it in more of a backpacking type situation before my testing is completed.
Long Term Report: October 16, 2018
testing the Mishmi Takin Virunga on a chilly and rainy ride
Test Locations and Conditions
Since my Field Report the weather turned hot and somewhat dryer, but it has still been a wetter than normal summer. As a result my hiking was limited to early morning or late afternoon exercise hikes with a couple of overnight hikes thrown in. The first was September 1, 2018. This would be the hike to The Walls of Jericho in northeastern Alabama. On this trip the high was around 85 F (29 C) and it was very humid. The hike started at around 10 AM. There was a lot of thunder during the afternoon but the worst stayed away, with only a few light showers and a welcomed cooling breeze as a result. The elevation on the trip was between 700 and 1700 ft (213 and 518 m). I ended up hiking a little over 7 miles (11 km) the first day and about 4 miles (6 km) the second for a total of 11 miles (18 km). The last was September 29 for 4 miles (6 km) total on a local trail in woods near my home. The high was 77 F (25 C) and the low was 66 F (19 C). There was a chance of afternoon thunderstorms but they skirted me. I later found out it poured rain about 2 miles (3 km) from my location. I did get to use the jacket on several chilly mornings while walking, the coolest being 47 F (8 C). I also wore it while biking in rain and cool temperatures.
Long Term Test Results
As noted above, I didn’t really need the rain jacket on my last two overnight hikes. On the hike to the Walls of Jericho I could tell fall weather was on the way but it was still too warm to wear the jacket unless absolutely needed. A storm did come nearby but we only got a few sprinkles. I put the Mishmi Taken Virunga on a couple of times while it was sprinkling but as soon as the rain would stop I took it off. Honestly, if not testing it I would have not even bothered to put it on. The good thing was we were in camp and because of distant thunder we were debating hiking further or waiting until morning to visit the feature the area is known for. This meant I wasn’t actively hiking at the time so when I did put it on I didn’t overheat. I actually took a short nap in my hammock before the storm moved completely out of the area. It cleared out nicely in time for us to hike to the Walls and I enjoyed an exhilarating swim in the cold water. It was clear and warm the following day when I hiked back to my truck. The best use of the jacket on this trip was as my pillow during the night. My last overnighter was similar in that a storm approached the area I was in but this time no rain materialized. It was not cool enough to need the jacket so it’s only ligament use was as my pillow.
Most of my use for the jacket occurred when I used it several times on rainy days. For example, I had a training class in Birmingham Al on a day that it rained all day. During the hour long lunch break I took a long walk around the park across the road from where the class was held. Since I was still going to be in class I didn’t walk fast to avoid getting sweaty. The pit zips were opened all the way (actually since day one of the test) and I was pleased that no rain entered the jacket while I was walking. I even stayed relatively dry from perspiration while walking. I walked about mile and a half (2.4 km) in about 30 minutes so obviously was not pushing myself. I wore it several other times for shorter walks at home or in town, sometimes in some pretty hard rains. It kept me bone-dry every time I wore it.
It took a while but I finally had a chance to wear the jacket during some chilly weather. On October 11 the overnight low was 47 F (8 C) and I went for a short morning bike ride the next morning. It was about 52 F (11 C) and the jacket felt good at the start but I did start sweating before finishing the ride. I only rode 6 miles (10 km) because I had worked the night before and don’t have a lot of energy. The hood fit was not great over my helmet so I just left it loose behind me. I did not ever notice it flapping at speeds as high as 30 mph (48 kph). The following morning I went for a 2 mile (3 km) walk with my wife at 60 F (16 C). The jacket felt just right over my tee-shirt but I did unzip the front for the last half of the walk.
My last bike ride was October 16 and it was raining. I woke up at around 10 AM, just in time to see my phone light up saying rain will start in your area at 10:22 AM. I had worked all night and wasn’t planning on a ride until the following morning but quickly decided that since my use of the jacket in rain was limited I should go for a ride and test the jacket one more time. I made it out the door just as it stated to sprinkle and by the time I rode a half mile (1 km) the rain picked up and the road was soaked. I wanted to make the hood work so pulled it over my helmet. Unfortunately the hood only covered about two thirds of my helmet. I then went down a big hill at about 25 mph (40 kph) and it blew off. I rode up the next hill and stopped at the top to put the hood back on. This time I zipped the jacket nearly all the way up and it stayed on for the rest of the ride, including downhills at similar speeds. Interestingly, if I zipped the jacket all the way up with the hood over my helmet it covered my mouth due to the way the helmet picked the entire jacket up on my body. However, this was no problem and actually made the jacket fit better when I leaned forward on the bike. Well, maybe not fit better, but it made it very loose on my shoulders if that makes sense. I ended up riding 7.5 miles (12 km) in 48 minutes. It rained the whole time but I was out riding but wasn’t a pouring rain, however it was way more than a drizzle. Anyways, I stayed complete dry during the ride, as did my phone in a chest pocket. The only places on my upper body that were wet were my hands and face and a little of my head that was covered by the helmet but not the hood. I did end up sweating a little but this was more due to some steep hills, or perhaps the adrenaline I got after a dog nipped my leg.
only a scratch
In my opinion the Mishmi Taken Virunga lives up to its billing as a highly breathable rain jacket. I did sweat in it when exerting myself, but honestly, I sweat on even colder days when just wearing a tee-shirt. Even though it was late in the test, I found it works equally well as a windbreaker on chilly mornings. It has plenty of pockets and I liked that I could carry a water bottle in one. More importantly, my phone was safe from rain in one of the pockets. The hood on the jacket is probably my favorite feature. I know this might seem trivial but the way it allowed me to look around without restricting my vision was an unexpected surprise. And last but not least, this jacket may not be the lightest possible choice for someone looking for super ultra-lite gear, but it has many features such as pit zips and pockets those ultra-lite jackets are missing. It is also very well constructed and of a fairly durable material. I wouldn't recommend crashing through underbrush in it but I did not baby the jacket when wearing it. I feel this is more important in colder weather when hypothermia is a real risk so I will be happy to wear this jacket into winter conditions. It is just big enough to lightly layer under it.
This concludes my testing of this excellent rain jacket! I would like to thank Mishmi Takin and BackpackGearTest.com for this testing opportunity!
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