MISHMI TAKIN CAYAMBE JACKET
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - June 10, 2017
FIELD REPORT - September 05, 2017
LONG TERM REPORT - October 31, 2017
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Mishmi Takin
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: www.mishmitakin.com
Made in: Vietnam
Sizes Available: XS through XXL
Size Tested: Medium
Tester Arm Length: 23 in (58.5 cm), this is measured from my axilla (armpit) to wrist
Tester Chest Measurement: 38 in (96.5 cm) at widest section
Colors Available: Blue Grey
Listed Weight: 30.5 oz (865 g) Men's Large
Measured Weight: 29.5 oz (836 g) Men's Medium
Materials: Shell - 85% Polyester, 14% Spandex
Mesh Lining - 100% Polyester
- waterproof three layer, four way stretch fabric
- 10,000 mm waterproof rating*
- 10,000 g/m2 breathability rating**
- durable water repellent finish (DWR)
- decorative seam tape
- textured fleece lining
- Napoleon pocket
- twin zippered pack compatible pockets
- pit zips
- adjustable helmet compatible hood
- YKK Aquaguard vision zippers
- Velcro cuff adjusters
- hem cinch cord
I feel most of the features of the Cayambe are readily known or understandable. The two I think could use further explanation are noted with (* and **) please see below.
Before I even began to get into the description of this jacket or its many features I had to look into its name. From what I found online mishmi takin is an endangered "goat-antelope" native to parts of India, Myanmar and China. It has an oily coat to protect it from the elements.
This alludes to the Mishmi Takin company slogan, "we breathe when others don't" since they make jackets and shoes from men and women meant to kept the wearer dry and warm while not overheating.
The Cayambe jacket is designed for cold and wet conditions with aerobic activities in mind. It is windproof and waterproof, except in heavy downpours with a fleece lining to maintain warmth without overheating. The jacket name references the only place on the equator with snow cover.
*Rating based on static-column test - A one inch (2.54 cm) diameter tube is placed vertically over the fabric. The tube is filled with water until water begins to pass through the fabric. The height of the water in the tube in millimeters when leakage begins is the waterproof rating.
**In grams the amount of water vapor that passes through one square meter of fabric in 24 hours. There are several methods used, I found five different processes online. No one test is directly comparable to another test. But all involve moving water vapor through a fabric from one side to the other. The transport of water vapor is affected by air temperature and direction and the amount of air flow.
The Cayambe arrived neatly folded in a large resealable plastic bag. The quality of the bag is such that it will not be going in the trash. It definitely has reuse potential for storing things. More importantly the quality of the jacket is superb. My wife saw me try it on and unsolicited said, "wow nice jacket."
Inspecting the Cayambe I find all materials and construction of good quality and free of defect. All zippers, drawcords and hook and loop closures are in good working order. I find the color scheme and patterns are interesting and appealing. The exterior has a noticeable stretch to it and feels smooth and sleek, like water will roll right off. The interior is lined with fleece on the back, upper chest, sleeves and hood. It has an appearance and texture similar to tiny bubble wrap. This material has a very soft and airy feel to it. The fleece pattern is tiny circles just touching each other. The non-fleece space in between are slightly smaller than the circles. I am guessing this is where the breathability happens.
All the features of the Cayambe and fleece lining come at a price. That price is weight and bulk, the Cayambe is noticeably heavier than other rain jackets I have used. In addition it does not pack down as small. On the other hand being being dry in the rain but still cold is not desirable. If the fleece is not too warm and/or the breathability enough to release body generated moisture then the extra weight might be worth it on a cool, rainy night.
CARE AND CLEANING
A tag inside the jacket provides the following information.
Caution: Fabrics are not fire resistant and may melt if exposed to high heat. Keep away from fire or sparks.
Machine wash cold gentle, wash with like colors, do not dryclean, powdered detergents, do not bleach or use fabric softener, tumble dry low, iron low.
Nothing too unique there, easy to follow guidelines. I don't envision making a fire in the rain. Well maybe while cooking but my stove has a pretty contained flame. As far as washing the instructions closely follow my current practice, minus the iron.
TRYING IT OUT
Unfortunately the Cayambe arrived one day late of our weeks long worth of rain. So I missed out on fully trying it out. I wore it around the house for about an hour at a temperature of 68 F (20 C). I was warm but not unpleasantly so and this was while sitting reading.
As mentioned before the Cayambe is of very good quality. The fleece lining is very soft and allows the jacket to slide on smoothly. Until just about when my hand was about to exit the sleeve and I was almost shocked to feel a tight but stretchy material around my hand. The last 5.5 in (14 cm) of the sleeve has a built in wrist gaiter (my term) with a thumb hole. This surprised me because it is not listed as one of the Cayambe features. Of the several rain jackets I have worn this is a unique feature. The gaiters can be worn over the thumb and hand or off the thumb and around the wrist. Worn either way when taking off the jacket the gaiters slip off easily over the hand.
The main zipper is "beefy", easy to manipulate and slides easily. The zipper ends in a generous garage. While on zippers the other five, two pit zips and three pockets zips are smaller and of different construction but operate just as easy. These are the Aquaguard zippers with the teeth hidden behind a waterproof material. It looks like the main zipper waterproofing is provided by a lip of the jacket material behind the zipper.
The pit zips are long 14.5 in (37 cm) and really open up the sides of the jacket. They also have dual pulls which is great for ease of opening and closing. The Napoleon pocket is of a good size, about 6 x 7 in (15 x 18 cm) can easily accommodate a smart phone with room to spare. The two side pockets are big, about 8 x 8.5 in (20 x 22 cm). I could stash lots of goodies in there.
The fit of the Cayambe is comfortable but trim. It fits close to my body but does not restrict any movement. The cinch cord at the waist is easy to adjust. As well as the two on the sides and one on the back of the hood. The cuffs at the wrist can be cinched close to the wrist with strips of hook and loop.
The Cayambe is well made, high quality and attractive jacket. I like many of its features as well as the fit and feel. While very excited about the level of waterproofing and pit zip ventilation I am concerned about the level of warmth of fleece lining and breathability. We are moving into the warmest summer months so the Cayambe will have a chance to prove itself on both of these points.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Two day overnight backpack to Mount Chocorua - Albany, New Hampshire - 14 mi (22.5 km) from 800 to 3500 ft (244 to 1067 m). Temperature 55 to 80 F (13 to 27 C) sunny, windy and still buggy. Pack weight - 25 lb (11 kg).
Day hike Mt. Isolation - Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire - 11 mi (18 km) from 2000 to 5100 ft (610 to 1554 m). Temperature 75 F (24 C) clear and sunny to gusty 50 mph (80 kph) wind cloud cover. Pack weight - 15 lbs (7 kg).
Five day backpack on the Long Trail - Route 4 to Route 2, Vermont - 80 mi (129 km) from 326 to 4083 ft (99 to 1245 m). Temperature 45 to 76 F (7 to 24 C) from misty cloud cover to bright sunshine to sideways blowing rain. Pack weight - 30 to 15 lb (14 to 7 kg).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
After a rainy spring season the summer has been rather dry. So the Cayambe has not seen much action in the rain. It also remained warm so I opened the pit vents early on. I have not closed them for the duration of field testing. I have worn it on chilly mornings around town and to work. On these occasions the Cayambe has been good over short sleeves to take the "bite" out of the air and been very comfortable.
The first overnight backpack did not bring rain but instead plentiful mosquitoes. Anywhere out of the wind or when not on the move the bugs were biting. In camp wind and movement was minimal so I wore the Cayambe as a bulletproof bug shield.
On my first dayhike with the Cayambe the weather looked and felt like the jacket wouldn't even make it out of my pack. But once I crossed over onto the exposed ridge above treeline at 5100 ft (1554 m) the wind was howling, covering me in a mist and quickly dropping my body temperature. By the time I made it behind a cairn to get out of the wind my hands were getting numb. The rock pile blocked enough of the wind to allow me to get the Cayambe out of my pack and put it on. The Cayambe blocked both the wind and driving mist. I quickly warmed up while on this 1.6 mi (2.6 km) section of the trail. I found the wrist gaiters particularly helpful when it came to warming my hands. They also prevented the wind from blowing up my sleeves. Once down out of this exposed area I was able to remove the jacket and stow it in my pack again. But once at Mt. Isolation the wind returned, not as strong but still constant. After several minutes I was chilled and put the Cayambe on while eating my mountain top lunch. The Cayambe was a key piece of gear enabling me complete this hike. Without it crossing the exposed ridge would have been potentially dangerous.
The last hike during field testing and my biggest of the year the Cayambe made daily appearances. Both evenings and mornings were chilly on the Long Trail. After cleaning up and changing into sleeping clothes I wore the Cayambe around camp. In the morning after crawling out of my sleeping bag the Cayambe helped me adjust to the cooler air. This made breakfast much more enjoyable. On my last evening out rain threatened. Just as I rolled into camp it started sprinkling. By the time I cleaned up and changed it was coming down in full force. The Cayambe kept me warm and dry as I ran between cabin, bear box and cooking area. The cooking area was luckily under a tarp. But every now and then the wind would gust and blow the rain sideways under the tarp. Again the Cayambe deflected the persistent storm.
While on all three hikes the Cayambe did not play a lead role it played a vital one. In all three settings it made all the difference in being fun, comfortable, safe and enjoyable hikes. It was quick and easy to get on in very difficult conditions. As well as very packable and out of the way on all hikes. It rode in my pack on top of shelter and/or cooking gear and just under my food bag. The Cayambe functioned very well as my extra insulation, rain and wind layer during field testing. While the weight and bulk of the Cayambe is somewhat discouraging to me it acted as two items in one. On all these outings I was able to leave behind my rain jacket and down pullover. The Cayambe is only 6 oz (170 g) heavier than the two layers so I feel that strikes a fair balance.
The Cayambe is proving itself as a useful item in my pack. When carrying it I feel assured it will provide protection from both rain and wind as well as additional warmth whenever needed. The fleece lining is very comfortable against my skin or shirt, but never too warm as the pit vents allow substantial air circulation. The jacket as a whole is tough and durable. It has held up well after many stuffings in and out of my pack. I am looking forward to using the Cayambe as the temperatures cool.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Two day overnight backpack to Mount Lincoln and Lafayette - Franconia Notch, New Hampshire - 8 mi (13 km) from 1770 to 5260 ft (539 to 1603 m). Temperature 55 to 25 F (13 to -4 C) sunny and clear to cloudy with spitting snow and ice. Pack weight - 20 lb (9 kg).
Two day overnight backpack in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire - 24 mi (38.6 km) from 1560 to 4315 ft (475 to 1315 m). Temperature 40 to 65 F (4 to 18 C) sunny to cloudy and windy. Pack weight - 25 lb (11 kg).
Overnight at Mt Moosilauke - Benton, New Hampshire - 7.5 mi (12 km) from 2400 to 4803 ft (730 to 1464 m). Temperature 45 to 70 F (7 to 21 C) clear and windy on the summit. Pack weight 15 lbs (7 kg).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Cayambe accompanied me on two and half more great overnight hikes. On the first one we saw our first overnight at below freezing temperatures. We stayed the night in an unheated hut. So while we didn't have to pack a tent, cooking gear, dinner or breakfast it was still cold inside. I wore the Cayambe upon arriving at the hut through dinner and up until crawling into my sleeping bag and bunk. The next morning I put the Cayambe back on for breakfast. I continued to wear it all morning while the temperature remained low and the precipitation blew in various forms. I did not remove the jacket until late in the day and after leaving the wind and weather above treeline.
I stayed warm and dry in the Cayambe the entire time. I closed up the underarm zips while in the hut to reduce drafts while passing dishes at the table. As we started up the mountain in the morning I opened the underarm zips to prevent overheating. The hood was quick to go on as the wind gusted above treeline. All morning long the wind changed direction as it blew up and down the ridgeline. The hood shielded my ears and eyes from the weather without obstructing my field of view. The temperature also fluctuated just enough to change the precipitation back and forth from light misting rain to snow to sleet several times. The Cayambe kept all forms of moisture out and my body heat in. If I felt too warm I simply raised my arms to vent heat and circulate air. Towards the end of the day as the weather warmed and we hiked down out the clouds I stowed the Cayambe in my pack. While not the most compressible jacket I have used I had no trouble fitting it in my overnight pack.
The second trip was the Waterville hike to "gather" more of the New Hampshire 48. The mountains of New Hampshire that are 4000 ft (1200 m) or more in elevation. I climbed five of these summits in a loop of two 12 mi (19 km) days. This added up to a total of 8720 ft (2660 m) gained and lost. In the valley and while hiking up the mountain I stayed warm, even sweating on the strenuous climbs. At the summits it was much cooler, windy and sometimes covered in a misty cloud. While resting, snacking and taking in any available views I would quickly chill in my wet shirt. I dealt with this by removing my shirt and wearing the Cayambe while hanging out on the summits. I stayed warm and dry in the jacket. The fleece lining was comforting and the underarm venting allowed air to circulate and dry my skin. I also wore the Cayambe while cooking and eating dinner in camp. After the sun set the temperature dropped and after such a warm day it made the cooling evening air feel much colder. The underarm zippers went to full closed position. In the morning the temperature remained cool but the air had become moist. I wore the Cayambe while breaking camp and eating breakfast. I hiked without it to keep my temperature on the cooler side to prevent sweating. This worked until the very steep, steady climbing began near the summit. Again as the day before I removed my damp shirt in favor of the warm, dry jacket. Once headed back down in the hardwood forest and out of the clouds I traded jacket for T-shirt.
The "half" was an overnight at the newly renovated Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. And wow what n amazing job they did! If you like timber frame construction it borderlines on a work of art. I label this a "half" because we could drive right up to the lodge. After two great meals a presentation on the renovation and a comfy nights sleep we hiked the lodges namesake mountain. Every time I have been on Moosilauke it has been "knock ya" around windy. As soon as we broke treeline I put on the Cayambe. We hung out in the wind taking in the views and even had birthday cupcakes behind one of the rock piles. The Cayambe kept me cozy until I heated up again well below treeline. The panting, sweating uphill hikers looked at us strange as we walked by in jackets, hats and gloves. But with a wind chill of 40 F (6 C) they would soon understand.
The Mishi Takin Cayambe has been a solid jacket throughout the test series. I have been nothing but warm, dry and comfortable every time I've worn it. I found it better suited for the lower temperatures I encountered. But the generous and maybe my favorite feature, the underarm vents help to extend its range. While I did not have the opportunity to wear the Cayambe in an all out rainstorm, I feel its key features are being waterproof and windproof. Both of which I feel are areas this jacket excels. After unpacking from my last hike I looked the Cayambe over. All materials, construction and parts continue to function and remain in like new condition. As we move into winter here I will continue to use the Cayambe to locate its lowest useful temperatures.
This brings my Long-Term Report and this test series to an end. Many thanks to Mishmi Takin and BackpackGearTest.org for making this test series possible.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Michael Pearl