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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > High Sierra Alta Interchange Jacket > Test Report by Marina Batzke

HIGH SIERRA ALTA INTERCHANGE JACKET
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
LONG-TERM REPORT
June 04, 2017

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) yahoo (dot) com
AGE: 57
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 132 lb (60.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in 2013. My backpacking trips are one or two weekend excursions per month in Southern California. The locations range from Joshua Tree National Park desert areas in the cooler months to mountainous elevations in the summer months. I always hike with a group and like the gear talk in camp. While I am looking for ways to lighten my pack, I am not an ultra-lighter: I like sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag on a comfortable pad. In January 2017, I added snowshoeing to my winter activities.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: High Sierra Sport Company, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Made in China
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.highsierra.com
MSRP: US$155.00
Measured Weight of outer shell: 30 oz (850 g)
Measured Weight of fleece lining: 15 oz (416 g)
Other details: Jacket is available in a men's and women's version with different color choices.
Available Women's Jacket Colors: Black (which I received)
Lagoon/Fuschia: outer jacket blue, fleece liner pink
Razzmatazz: outer jacket pink, fleece liner black
Deep Purple/ Lavender: outer jacket dark purple, fleece liner light purple
Available women's sizes: S, M, L, XL
IMAGE 1
The jacket with its fleece lining zipped in

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The High Sierra Alta Interchange jacket is a 3-in-1 jacket system. I received a black lined winter jacket with a zipped-in black fleece lining. I can wear the outer winter jacket on its own, or just the fleece lining, or both combined as zipped-in set. High Sierra describes this jacket with these three trade names:
ARMADRI - Waterproof, breathable, durable and functional
ARMAREPEL - Repelling water, dirt and oil
ARMAHEAT - Insulation that traps in heat to keep my body warm

THE OUTER :
The outer shell jacket is described as waterproof and breathable with all seams fully sealed. This shell is 100% Taslon nylon. It has a 100% Taffeta polyester liner and a polyester filling at 4.23 oz (120 g) in the shell body and 3.53 oz (100 g) in its sleeves and hood. The jacket has a drop tail hem, where the low center of the back is 1.5 in (3.8 cm) longer than the jacket front.

The jacket has a removable zippered hood. The hood has a hook-and-loop tab in the back that allows me to adjust how much the hood top front projects forward. The hood circumference can also get adjusted with cinch tighteners on the left and right lower sides.
IMAGE 2
Zipper garage and collar with hood cinch
IMAGE 3
Left hand pocket and sleeve cuff

The jacket has a fleece collar for extra warmth in the neck area. Centered below the collar, the jacket has a hang hook and a sewn-in tag with the High Sierra logo, the jacket size and Made in China statement. The jacket zipper ends in a zipper garage at its top to prevent chafing against my chin. This zipper is also supported by a storm flap that prevents air from getting in and is held over the zipper with four hook-and-loop fasteners . The jacket can get cord-cinched tight around its low hem. Both sleeve cuffs have hook-and-loop straps, so I can adjust the cuff diameter from loose to tight fitting.

The jacket has one zipper-protected hand pocket each on the lower left and right sides, each zipper-protected plus a storm flap. The jacket also has a small zippered, storm flap protected pocket in the left chest area. On the jacket's inside right side at chest level, there is a small hook-and-loop closure pocket.

The High Sierra logo is embroidered twice on the outside of the black outer shell in a blueish color: once on the upper right sleeve and once on the upper left chest.
IMAGE 4
Chest pocket and logo

THE INNER:
The zippered-in fleece lining is made from two-sided brushed anti-pill 100% polyester at 8.5 oz (240 g) and it is black too. The fleece lining has a double-fabric collar, while the body and sleeves are single fabric. Centered below the collar is a hang hook and a fabric tag with the High Sierra logo and the jacket size. The fleece lining has a drop tail hem, where the low center of the back is 1 in (2.5 cm) longer than the fleece front. The fleece lining has the High Sierra logo embroidered in blueish color on the left chest area. The sleeves have an elastic cuff. The fleece lining has one each open (non-zippered) hand pocket on the lower left and right sides. On the inside, the sewn fabric for the outer hand pockets acts as two deep top-open inner pockets that could fit a folded map or something similarly big.

Dimensions of my Women's L - LARGE size outer shell:
Shoulder top to front low hem: 27 in (69 cm)
Sleeve from top seam to cuff: 27 in (69 cm)
Top left to top right shoulder seam: 19 in (48.3 cm)
Jacket low hem: 49 in (124 cm) diameter
Front zipper: 28.5 in (72 cm)
Hand pocket opening: 6.5 in (16.5 cm)
Chest pocket opening: 5 in (12.7 cm)
Inside pocket opening: 5.5 in (14 cm)

Dimensions of my Women's L size fleece lining:
Shoulder top to front low hem: 25 in (64 cm)
Sleeve from top seam to cuff: 24 in (61 cm)
Top left to top right shoulder seam: 16.5 in (42 cm)
Jacket low hem: 45 in (114 cm) diameter
Front zipper: 25 in (64 cm)
Hand pocket opening: 6.25 in (16 cm)

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The fabric tags that are sewn into an inner seam of both the outer jacket and the fleece lining provide the care instructions in English, Spanish and French. Machine washing at cold temperature (86 F/ 30 C) is recommended. I shall neither use bleach or fabric softener, nor shall I tumble dry or dry clean the jacket and its fleece lining. If needed, I may iron on a cool setting.

WARRANTY & REPAIRS
Within 30 days from the original shipped date, I can request a return authorization, return the item in new, unused condition and will get a full refund (minus any shipping charges). Should I receive an item damaged or it requires repair, I shall contact the manufacturer and submit photos.

TRYING IT OUT

I pulled on the High Sierra Alta Interchange Jacket with its fleece lining on a sunny Southern California day and the jacket felt very warm. Bring on the snow!!

I am impressed how well the jacket fits me. It provides room to wear a base layer and mid layer underneath and allows me to move my arms forward without restricting in the shoulders. The arm length is perfect.

The zippers work well. A visual scan of the jacket and its fleece lining shows no imperfections. I like the good number of pockets in easy to access locations, as there are so many items to store for quick access while out and about.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Mt. Pinos, Los Padres National Forest, California, USA
1 day snowshoeing: 5 miles/ 8 km
Elevation: 8850 ft (2700 m)
Temperature: 28 F (-2 C)

Yosemite National Park, California, USA
2 days snowshoeing: 6 miles/ 10 km and 7 miles/ 11 km
Elevation: 7000 ft (2130 m)
Temperature: 30 - 40 F (-1 - 4 C)

Mammoth, California, USA
2 days snowshoeing: 3 miles/ 5 km and 4 miles/ 6.5 km
Elevation: 8000 - 9000 ft (2440 - 2740 m)
Temperature: 49 F (9 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I first tested the High Sierra Alta Interchange jacket on the Mt. Pinos snowshoe dayhike. Due to the body heat-generating snowshoe exercise, I did not wear the jacket's fleece lining but removed it in the parking lot before we started our winter outing. It was easy to unzip the fleece lining in a couple of seconds. I have NOT zipped in the fleece lining during the entire Field Report phase but have always worn the outer shell separately from the fleece lining since.

I wore the outer shell as winter jacket over a warming long-sleeve undershirt and a thin mid-layer long-sleeve shirt. Additionally, I wore a stretchy, lightweight fabric tube as neck scarf, a knit hat and my ski pants. I kept the High Sierra Alta winter jacket two-thirds open almost all day. We had everything from beautiful sunshine to fog and at times heavy snowfall that day. When the heavy snowfall set in, I started wearing the hood over my knit hat and appreciated that extra neck and head protection. Overall with my clothing layering, I felt quite warm but comfortable all day. Once we got back to the parking lot at 3 pm, I noticed that snow had frost-attached to my backpack and I had to scrape it off the fabric. Yet it was super easy to brush off any snow that had accumulated on the hood, shoulders and sleeves of the High Sierra jacket. Once we got into the car, I took off the outer shell and switched into its fleece lining for the drive home. I felt it was a successful first day of use for the High Sierra jacket with its outer warm shell and its soft, comfortable inner fleece lining.
IMAGE 1
Mt. Pinos Navigation on Snowshoes

During the drive to Yosemite and back, we experienced strong rains and I wore the High Sierra outer shell with the hood up when we darted to a restaurant for lunch and while packing/ unpacking the car for the trip. I noticed how the rain pearled off the jacket and did not penetrate the fabric.
On day 1 of Yosemite snowshoeing, I started out wearing the High Sierra outer shell over a warm long-sleeve undershirt and a thin mid-layer long-sleeve shirt. It was a sunny morning with bright blue sky and I felt very warm in the outer shell. I left the jacket two thirds open all morning. When we sat down in the snow for lunch, I took the outer shell off and cooled off a little, while being shined on by the sun. Once we restarted after lunch, I put the outer shell back on, as the air temperature cooled down once the sun disappeared behind clouds and some fog and light snow fall rolled in.
Day 2 started with sunshine and blue sky again and I just wore the warm long-sleeve undershirt and a thin mid-layer long-sleeve shirt (no High Sierra jacket at all). That was perfect ... until it got foggy and even turned to heavy snowfall with strong winds that blew the snow sideways. I was glad to pull the High Sierra outer shell out of my backpack and was well protected against the elements and was warm with the hood pulled up. I did leave the jacket two thirds unzipped to allow good ventilation.
IMAGE 2
Yosemite weekend

During the two days of snowshoeing in Mammoth, I again wore a light undershirt, a long sleeve shirt and either a vest or the High Sierra outer shell as insulated winter jacket on top when it was cold and windy. When it was too sunny and warm, I took the High Sierra jacket off and stuffed in into my backpack, and instead pulled on a vest over the long sleeve shirt for a while. Yet once the sun was blocked by clouds and when we sat down for lunch, I quickly put the High Sierra jacket back on.
IMAGE 3
Mammoth weekend

In addition to the snowshoe outings, I have worn the High Sierra outer shell for days around town in Yosemite and in Mammoth. The jacket looks great: I like its black color and enjoy wearing it when going to a restaurant or going shopping.

I have worn the black fleece lining on the evenings in our vacation homes in Yosemite and Mammoth. The fleece is very soft and pleasant to wear.

Since I had removed the fleece lining from the outer shell right on the first day of jacket use at Mt. Pinos, I have not zipped the fleece lining back in. Winter jacket and fleece lining combined are simply too warm for the temperatures I have been in for my snowshoe outings.

So far I have not washed the High Sierra outer shell and lining. They are not smelly at all, probably because I have always worn an undershirt and a long sleeve shirt between jacket and skin. Both the High Sierra outer shell and its fleece lining look in great shape after their uses so far.

I love that the two side pockets are fleece-lined: great for a quick warming of my hands. I always insert my smart phone into the chest area outside pocket. I use the hidden inside pocket for my wallet.

SUMMARY

I love the High Sierra winter jacket and its soft fleece lining.

Pros:
Convenient hood
Jacket is super comfortable, fits great and keeps me warm
Jacket has fleece collar which hugs my neck warmly.
Hook-and-Loop adjustment at both sleeve ends
Pockets are sufficiently sized. I am using them all.
The separate Fleece lining is soft and comfortable.

Cons:
none so far


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

New York City, NY, USA
6 Day Business Trip
Temperature: 28 - 50 F (-2 - 10 C)
Weather: Snow, windy

Chicago, IL, USA
3 Day Business Trip
Temperature: 40 - 50 F (4 - 10 C)
Weather: Heavy Rain, windy

Carizzo National Monument, California, USA
2 day/ 1 night car camp with 6 miles (10 km) day hikes
Elevation: 2000 ft (610 m)
Temperature: 38 - 56 F (3 - 13 C)
Weather: Sunny and windy days, cold night

Idlehour Trail Camp, Southern California, USA
2 day/ 1 night backpack 17 miles (27 km)
Elevation: 1300 - 4600 F (400 - 1400 m)
Temperature: 53 - 69 F (12 - 21 C)
Weather: Hot days, cool night

Mission Creek Car Camp, Southern California, USA
2 day/ 1 night car camp with 7 miles (11 km) day hikes
Elevation: 2500 ft (760 m)
Temperature: 61 - 90 F (16 - 32 C)
Weather: Hot days

Lone Warrior Point, Southern California, USA
2 day/ 1 night backpack 15 miles (24 km)
Elevation: 5800 - 8700 ft (1800 - 2650 m)
Temperature: 42 - 68 F (6 - 20 C)
Weather: Pleasant

Yosemite National Park, California, USA
3 day/ 2 night car camp with 10 miles (16 km) day hikes
Elevation: 4000 - 6000 ft (1200 - 1830 m)
Temperature: 40 - 70 F (4 - 21 C)
Weather: Sunny days, cool nights

Arizona, USA
7 day vacation with day hikes
Elevation: 2500 - 9000 ft (760 - 2740 m)
Temperature: 50 - 90 F (10 - 32 C)
Weather: Sunny days, cool to warm nights

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

New York City was frosty cold. There was still plenty of snow piled high on the side walk edges. I appreciated the jacket's hood and its warm fleece inside collar which hugged my neck and throat area. I frequently wore the outer shell over the fleece lining without re-attaching the two.

The Chicago weather was simply miserable: strong rain and intense wind (so strong it broke the umbrella) during the days. In the evenings, it got cold. Even though at times the temperature was 40 F (4 C), the wind chill factor brought it down to 29 F (- 2 C) and the rain turned it all into a few miserable weather days. The High Sierra Alta Interchange Jacket was perfect for these conditions. I wore the outer shell over my work shirts and was well protected against the bad weather.

With the need to be well bundled up during these winter business trips, I noticed that the outer shell's front zipper can rather easily catch some fabric and get stuck half way up. When that happens, I have to pull the caught fabric out while pulling the zipper tab down. That is annoying. During the Chicago trip, when I tried to cinch the hood tight to prevent the hood from being wind-pushed off my head, one of the elastic drawstring ends tore.
IMAGE 1
Fabric caught in zipper
IMAGE 2
Elastic end torn out

After my two winter weather business trips, I thought my testing of the High Sierra Alta Interchange Jacket would be finished and Southern California sunshine would take over. But we have had a colder than usual spring, record rains after seven years of drought and record snowfall in the mountains. That has given me plenty more opportunity testing both the outer shell and its fleece lining individually.






On the Carizzo trip, I wore the fleece lining on the sunny, yet windy days, while wearing the outer shell in the evening when our group sat around a fire pit.
IMAGE 3
Among the wildflowers in Carizzo

For the Idlehour Trail Camp backpack, I took the outer shell along. The rolled up jacket, stuffed inside its hood, is as voluminous as my sleeping pad. I have considerably smaller, more compact rain jackets that I usually take along in my pack. I feel the High Sierra Alta Interchange Jacket outer shell is too bulky for three-season backpacking where I always try to pack the most light weight item that can do a particular job.

In Mission Creek, Lone Warrior Point and during a week's vacation in Arizona, I used the fleece lining whenever I felt a cold or chilly but I did not use the outer shell due to the rather warm temperatures.

My most recent use of the outer shell was in Yosemite National Park. Following a winter with heavy snowfall, the snow melt created superb waterfalls. The mist from Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls was so intense that we had to wear a rain jacket and pack cover to stay dry, while walking up Mist Trail. We hiked down the John Muir Trail and passed a 50 ft (15 m) trail section where water gushed down a cliff onto the trail. So again I put the High Sierra outer shell water proof rain jacket on and marched through the falling water that was gushing down 'like a car wash'. It was a lot of fun - and I stayed dry.
IMAGE 4
Pretty misty on the Mist Trail

During the week-long vacation in Arizona with numerous day hikes, I wore the fleece lining whenever it was windy or cool. I love the two deep top-open inner pockets: those inside pockets work well for my smart phone and wallet.

Since my first use snowshoeing four months ago, I have not re-attached the fleece lining to the High Sierra Alta Interchange Jacket outer shell. I have worn both components individually many times and I have at times worn the outer shell over the inner fleece lining but not re-attached.

SUMMARY

PROS:
Excellent rain and wind protection
Ideal for car camps, day hikes, snowshoeing and winter backpacking trips
Looking great even on business trips in winter weather
Great number of pockets both in outer shell and in fleece liner
Hood helpful in cold, windy situations
Nice back length, well protecting

CONS:
One elastic drawstring end from hood cinch tore
Front zipper catches fabric and it takes effort to pull out caught fabric
Too heavy/bulky for my three-season backpacking trips

I simply love the two components individually. I have frequently worn the outer shell and felt well protected against strong wind, cold air and rain. I have frequently enjoyed the comfortable softness and warmth of the fleece lining.

I am looking forward to many more opportunities wearing the High Sierra Alta Interchange Jacket's outer shell and fleece lining. I am very happy with their performances. Thank you very much to High Sierra and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity testing this 2-in-1 jacket combo.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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