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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Columbia Sportswear Slipstream Windshell > Test Report by Andrew Preece

Columbia Slipstream Full Zip Windshell
Test Series
by
Andrew Preece

Initial Report June 16th 2008
Field Report August 2008
Long Term Report Due October 2008
the slipsteam jacket
Photo courtesy of Columbia
Contents
Initial Report
Test Plan
Field Report
Summary
Long Term Report
My Details
 
Personal Details
Name: Andrew Preece
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 188 lb (85 kg)
Waist: 39 in (100 cm)
Sleeve Length:  20 in(53 cm)
Chest: 42.5 in (108 cm)
Neck:  16 in (40 cm)
Email: andrew_at_teamgunnparker_dot_com
City: Perth.
Western Australia.
Australia.
Backpacking Background
I have done a lot of hiking over the years but now carry a hammock and gear for  overnight stays of one to two nights. I normally carry approximately 35 lb (16 kg) which includes food and water. My trips are usually between one to two days duration mainly over weekends. I hike all seasons with winter temperatures ranging from 39 F (4 C) to 64 F (18 C) including periods of heavy rain at times to summer conditions with the temperature ranging from 68 F (20 C) to 95 F (35 C) and very dry.
 
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Initial Report
May 16th 2008


The Columbia Slipstream jacket is wind and water resistant for protection in breezy conditions. It is very light weight and packs into its own stuff sack located inside the jacket on the front left hand side. The jacket feels nice and soft to the touch and comfortable to wear. I ordered an XXL size as I wanted to be able to wear it over a thin micro fleece pullover. The jacket fits well this way and fits just as well over a shirt too.

The jacket that I am testing comes in a choice of four colours.

*Sail Red
*Black
*Curb
*Columbia Navy

And available sizes are : S, M, L, XL, XXL

Men's Sizes
Size Range S M L XL XXL
Chest (inches) 35-38 (89 cm-97 cm) 38-41 (97 cm-104 cm) 42-45 (107 cm-114 cm) 46-49 (117 cm-124 cm) 50-53 (127 cm-135 cm)
Waist (inches) 29-32 (74 cm-81 cm) 32-35 (81 cm-89cm) 36-39 (91 cm-99 cm) 40-43 (102 cm-109 cm) 44-47 (112 cm-119 cm)
Sleeve Length (inches) 33 (84 cm) 34 (86 cm) 35 (89 cm) 36 (91 cm) 37 (94 cm)
Neck (inches) 14 1/2-15 (36.83 cm-38 cm) 15 1/2-16 (39 cm-40 cm) 16 1/2-17 (41.9 cm-43 cm) 17 1/2-18 (44.4 cm-45 cm) 18 1/2-19 (47 cm-48 cm)
Manufacturer: Columbia
Place of manufacturer: Vietnam
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.columbia.com
MSRP: US $80.00, this is taken from the tag that came with the jacket.
  Columbia Measurements. My Measurements.
Dimensions Size XXL Size XXL
Avg. Weight Not stated  9.91 oz (281 gm)
 


The jacket arrived in very good condition but not quite as I expected. As the photo above shows, the jacket is black with white zipper. Mine arrived with a black zipper; this was not disappointing at all though. I also expected the jacket to be thicker, perhaps padded but it is very thin and light.
I find the jacket fits very well over my chest and waist and is quite comfortable but the sleeves are very long and almost cover most of my palm, see photo below.

The jacket is black in colour and made of polyester with a zipper that runs the full length of it. At the top of the collar is a little fold of material that the zipper will fit into when zipped all the way up to the top. Behind the zipper there is a length of material that stops any drafts getting through the zipper.
It has pockets each side on the hips that are closed by zippers that are about 6 in (150 mm) in length. The pockets are very deep and large, about 10 in (250 mm) from the zip to the inside corner. I am able to fit my whole hand up to the wrist in them. All the zipper pulls are flexible plastic. The zipper track looks to be made of plastic while the slide looks to be a metal of some kind.

The two side pockets have a mesh lining which is made of polyester and recycled polyester. On the inside of the jacket are three pockets; two are quite large pockets that sit behind the outside front pockets, but can only be accessed from the inside of the jacket. These inside pockets are mesh. The third pocket on the inside is a storage pocket for the jacket which is held closed by two small ovals of hook and loop. The jacket can be turned inside out into this pocket to allow easy packing. It is to the front of the left hand side, inside pocket. The photo below shows a P (packable) at the closure.

 
The rear of the jacket. The front of the jacket.  
the rear of the jacket front view  


On each side of the jacket under each arm pit is a stretchy panel that runs from a point near the waist and ends near the shoulder. It runs down toward the elbow and looks to allow more freedom of movement.
On the inside of the sleeve at the wrist is a small curved piece of the same stretchy material.
At the back of the jacket on each hip is a little group of reflective dots that reflect in a torch or car head light beam.
Around the seam at the waist is a length of bungee cord that passes through the seam and out through two eyelets and has a cord lock at each hip. This is so the bottom of the jacket can be pulled in tight to my waist.

In this photo above the reflective dots that are on each side at the back can be seen. As well as the stretchy side panel. The small stretchy panel at the wrist can also been seen.

 
The long sleeve.
long sleeve

 
The jacket in its stuff sack.stuff sack  
The side panel, in a lighter shade grey.
the side panel
One of the inside pockets, access to the pocket is at the top hem and the stuff sack pocket is to the front.
the side panel
 
The fold at the collar.the collar
 
Stuffed jacket and hatstuff sack and hat
Testing Activities
I will be using this jacket on weekends for general wear and to go and watch my daughter participate in sport.
During the expected test period I will doing something a little different. I will be attempting to section hike the full length of the Coastal Plains trail. This trail runs from near the coast, then inland for about 34 mi (55 km). The elevation is about 130 ft (40 m) to 330 ft (100 m)
It is now our winter and during this time I would expect a minimum temperature of 50 F (10 C) with highs of 66 F (19 C), over the next few months to September. Rainfall in this period would be on average 5.31 in (135 mm)
Test Plan  
1. I will be testing how well the jacket fits while wearing a pack and how compressed I can get it to fit into a pack. 2. The jacket has a DWR coating (Durable water repellency) and so will it keep me dry?  
3. Just how well will the jacket breathe? Will I be able to wear it while hiking; and not sweat too much under it? 4. Will the jacket move with me or constrict my movements?  
5. Just how easy is it to pack the jacket into its pocket? 6. Just how much will it keep out the wind?  
   
Back to top  
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Field Report
August 5th 2008
I have now been using the jacket for a couple of months and during this time I have been out on a couple of  overnight trips and a few day trips. I have also used the jacket on weekends playing in the park with my daughter.
The first trip out with the jacket was a 9 mi (15 k) hike up through the hill of Perth along the Eagle View trail. I set out early one morning and found I had to put on the jacket to protect myself from becoming wet because of the low bushes that were closing in on the trail. At about the half way mark I stopped to have morning tea in one of the shelters here in John Forrest national park. And it was after this break that the jacket was really put through its paces.

It had just started to rain lightly when I put the jacket on but within about five minutes it really poured down with rain. The trail I was on became a small river as water was shirt was down it. After another five minutes of this I was soaked right through. In the morning the jacket worked very well keeping me dry from the wet branches. But in this downpour it did not work at all. In all fairness though the jacket is only supposed to be water resistant. After walking on a little longer the rain stopped and I opened the zipper to feel just how wet my shirt was; it was soaked as expected but the pleasant surprise was just how warm the jacket was keeping me. Because it was a little windy and I was walking along the wind was able to get to my wet shirt and make me cold. As soon as I zipped up the jacket the wind was not able to get through and I became warm once more. Although I did find the elastic section at the wrists becomes cold once wet and is a little uncomfortable. The jacket does a very good job of keeping out the wind and lives up to the manufactures claims.
Wearing the jacket with my ULA pack.
rear view of worn jacket
 
On two other occasions, one an  overnight trip to a campsite called Paton near Mundaring in the hills of Perth and one a day hike out along the Bibbulmun track I had to put on the jacket on to walk back to the car a distance of about 3 to 6 mi (5 to 10 k) respectively. The rain was lighter on both occasions but persistent and yet I was able to stay fairly dry both times although some water did find its way down the back of my neck and onto my clothes. After the 6 mi (10 k), when I had made it to the car I found that my shirt was damp and I think this was due to sweat rather than rain. I will have to test the jacket when it is not raining to see just how sweaty I become. I had carried the jacket in its stuff sack and packed it into the side pocket of my pack. It fits quite well and is light enough for me to take it most times I go out.
The pockets both inside and out are quite large and I find the inside pocket useful for softer items like my hat or my bandana. I am very happy with the material used for the mesh on the inside pocket as items like bunches of keys or my finger nails do not catch on the mesh.


I have worn the jacket another time while playing out in the puddles with my daughter over at the park one morning when it was pouring down and I got soaked, but another time at the front of our house playing tennis in the light rain I stayed dry. If the rain is not too heavy then I will stay dry but if it becomes very heavy then I know I will get wet through.
The size of the inside pocket.
hat inside pocket
 
As well as wearing the jacket whilst hiking I have used it to go back and forth from my car. I have used it to keep me dry when picking my daughter up from after school care, a walk of about 1312 ft (400 m) and I would have used it two times a week in this fashion. I have also used it walking to and from the shops. The jacket shows no sign of wear as yet and I doubt that it will although I tend to be careful with any of my gear.

I have washed the jacket once in our washing machine. After following the care instructions printed on a label on the inside of the jacket it came out very nice and even had a nice scent from the washing liquid. My wife returned the jacket to me folded into its stuff sack, once in the sack it is a very small package and fits into the side pockets of my pack quite easily.



Summary

Dislikes.
As far as any likes or dislikes go at this stage I can only say that the sleeves are too long for me; they hang down my hand too far. I find I have to roll them up a lot.
Almost every time I take the jacket off I have to fiddle with the zipper to get it undone. I always have to try it up and down a few times before I am able to get the zipper in the right spot to get it undone which I find quite annoying.
I think that if the jacket had a small hood it would have been a nice touch to stop rain running down the back of my neck.
Likes.
I like that the jacket keeps out all of the wind. I like that it packs down quite small. I like the pockets.
 

The front of the jacket with my pack on.
front view of worn jacket
 
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Long Term Report
I have now been using the jacket for another couple of months and was able to use it three more times. The weather here has broken and rain is becoming less frequent. I was able to get away twice more to the hills of Mundaring and once for a day walk along the river. The hills are only about 984 ft (300 m) high and the  overnight temps were about 44 F (7 C) up to about 68 F (20 C) during the day.
On one of the occasions up in the hills it rained for only a very short time and I pulled the jacket on for about half an hour and then took it off again and packed it away.
On the other trip, an overnight with Ralph a fellow gear tester and friend, it started to rain during the night while I was camped in my hammock and a light rain continued while packing up our camp site.
When we had packed all of our gear up it started to drizzle again so I put on the jacket and headed off to the car. It rained on and off most of the way back but mostly it was just light rain or showers. I made it to the car without my clothing becoming wet and was warm enough.
I found that while hiking with the jacket on I have to unzip the front to allow some air in as I do become quite warm, but if it is raining enough I can stay comfortable in the jacket.
On the day I hiked along the river I stopped and sat down to watch a couple of kids fish. I put the jacket on just to stop the wind and to keep me warm which it did, although the shoulder that the wind was blowing on did become cool. The rest of me stayed warm enough that it was a pleasant way to spend a bit of time.


Conclusion
I find this jacket to be able to keep me dry if the rain is not too heavy,
definitely a shower proof jacket and not designed for heavy downpours. I do like that it will keep the wind out quite well. But I do find if it is warm outside it does become hot inside the jacket while hiking.

Likes
I like the small package when stuffed and the weight, 9.91 oz (281 gm).
I like the small pull tabs at the waist which tighten the jacket around my hips.
I like the large pockets.
I like the inside pockets.
I like the construction.


Dislikes
I do not like the length of the sleeves.
I do not like the elastic section at the palm which becomes wet and will make my hands cold.


Comment
Id like it a lot better if it had a hood, quite a few times I found water running down my head and then down the back of my neck and into my clothes. This at times made me very cold.
Would I recommend this jacket to a friend? I would If they were looking for a wind jacket rather than a rain jacket. As I know I should be able to stay warm and out of the wind. I think that I would recommend a friend look at this jacket as well as others designed for a similar purpose and within a similar price range.


Id like to thanks Backpackgeartesters and Columbia for the opportunity to test this jacket.



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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Columbia Sportswear Slipstream Windshell > Test Report by Andrew Preece



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