BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Obermeyer Kestral Jacket > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

Obermeyer
courtesy of obermeyer.com

Obermeyer
Kestral Jacket

Test Series by
Ryan Christensen

Last Update - April 2, 2013

Kestral

image courtesy of obermeyer.com

ACCESS MAIN REPORT SECTIONS VIA THESE LINKS:

INITIAL REPORT
November 20, 2012
FIELD REPORT
February 3, 2013
LONG-TERM REPORT
April 2, 2013

INITIAL REPORT
November 20, 2012

Reviewer Information Backpacking Background
Name:  Ryan L. Christensen
Age:  48
Gender:  Male
Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:  235 lb (107 kg)
Email:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country:   Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago. I also began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these sports with my children. I am a midweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.
 

Product Information:

The information below came from Obermeyer's website and Kestral product tags.

Kestral Jacket
Manufacturer: Sport Obermeyer (Obermeyer)
Manufacturer website: http://www.obermeyer.com
Place of Manufacture: China
Year Manufactured: 2012
Materials: Shell: EcoGenesis - 100% polyester mechanical stretch with Duroguard, Obermeyer's proprietary DWR, applied to the exterior of the fabric
Water Repellent: Hydroblock XX 20,000mm/10,000g waterproof/breathable microporous polyurethane coating applied to the underside of the shell fabric
Insulation: Thinsulate
Liner: Cocona Baselayer - 52% Cocona polyester, 48% polyester
Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XL, and 2X
Colors Available: Baja (light blue), Bing (maroon), Black, Juice (orange), Quarry (light gray)
Kestral_all
image courtesy of obermeyer.com
Warranty:

Obermeyer's Warranty Policy

"Any defects in the materials or workmanship are covered for the lifetime of the product. Our warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, misuse, accidents, fading or the natural breakdown of materials over time."

MSRP:
$475 US

Product Specifications
Manufacturer's Specifications  
Weight: N/A
Tester's Actual Measurements
Weight: [Men's XL] 3 lb 1.9 oz (1.4 kg)

Product Description:

The Kestral jacket, hereafter referred to as the "Kestral" or "jacket," is a full-featured waterproof/breathable winter jacket. Based on several of its features, it is apparent Obermeyer designed the Kestral with the intent of it being a ski coat. It is part of Obermeyer's Alpine line.

The Kestral's exterior shell fabric has a brushed feel unlike most true hard shell fabrics. Additionally, the shell fabric has a softshell-like stretch. The Kestral's shell is made of post-consumer recycled polyester (PET). This 100% polyester shell has a rating of 20,000mm/10,000g. The first number is the fabric's water resistance rating. Fabrics rated between 5,000 - 15,000mm are totally rainproof and generally waterproof unless under serious pressure. However, it is important to note that this rating only applies to the fabric itself; seam taping usually rates lower. Zipper, hood attachments, seams, and vents all compromise waterproofing. The jacket is fully seam sealed. FYI, eVent and GORE-TEX® fabrics are rated between 15,000mm - 30,000mm. Based on its 20,000 mm rating, the shell fabric is waterproof and should do a great job keeping me dry in most situations. The second number in the rating pertains to the breathability of the fabric. This is a measure of how many grams of water vapor will pass through a square meter of fabric in a 24 hour period under laboratory test conditions. A rating of 10,000g/24hrs/m2 is considered to be highly breathable. Therefore, along with keeping the rain out, the jacket with its 10,000g rating should also breathe well. The best waterproof/breathable materials have ratings of 20,000mm and 20,000g. Therefore, the fabric used in the Kestral is high end in terms of its weatherproof/breathability.

Across the shoulders, down the front and back, down each of the sleeves, and on the top of the hood, there are gray rubberized accent stripes. The jacket has a full-length YKK Vislon PU zipper, with both exterior and interior storm flaps and a rubberized pull tab. The exterior storm flap also has six hook and loop closures; four on the main body and two on the collar.

goggle clothpit zipThe jacket has five external pockets. First, there are two zippered vertical handwarmer pockets, one on each side. Although the zippers and each of the handwarmer pockets are not waterproof, they are covered by storm flaps. The zippers have rubberized pulls attached with cord to the sliders. The two handwarmer pockets have fleece lining. Inside the right-side pocket is key-holder clip secured by elastic. The left-side pocket has a D-ring on the inside. A third pocket is the vertical pocket over the right breast. A waterproof zipper, which also has a rubberized pull attached via cord to the slider, provides access. The fourth pocket is another vertical chest pocket located over the left breast. The zipper on this pocket is not waterproof, but it is covered by a storm flap. Like the other chest pocket, the zipper has a rubberized pull attached via cord to the slider. Inside this external left-breast pocket there is a removable microfiber cloth attached to elastic via a plastic snap. Obermeyer calls this a scratch-free absorbent goggle cloth. The fifth and final external pocket is located on the forearm of the left sleeve. This accessory pocket is accessed via a waterproof zipper.

The sleeves have a gusseted hook and loop closure on each cuff. The section with the hook portion of the closure has a black accent stripe. The sleeves have stretch fleece inner cuffs. The elbows are articulated to provide unrestricted movement.

The jacket has a nice hood, attached and detached via YKK zipper. The brim has a plastic wire in the front that is about 6 in (15.2 cm) in length. This wire is to help provide stiffness and shape to the brim. It has a captive cordlock on each side to provide adjustment around the face. There is a third cordlock, somewhat hidden under a flap, on the back of the hood for additional adjustments. The 3.75 in (9.5 cm) tall collar is fleece lined for comfort.

The jacket has pit zips under each sleeve to provide core venting. The pit zips are YKK zippers with rubberized pulls attached to the slider via cord. The zippers are covered by storm flaps. The openings are approximately 15.5 in (39.4 cm) in length. The bottom of each opening is approximately 12.5 in (31.8 cm) up from the bottom of the hem. Each opening is covered by mesh fabric. These vents are part of Obermeyer's Control Zone Ventilation (CZV) which includes "strategically placed adjustable openings and closures for core thermal regulation."

Inside the jacket, on the right side, there are three product tags. One is a Thinsulate tag, one is a materials tag, and the other is a care instructions tag. At the back, just below the collar, there is a manufacturer's logo label stitched to the lining. There are two hang tags (one showing size and the other materials and "Made in China") and a hang loop just below the collar. On the left side, near the hem, there is a RECCO advanced rescue reflector informational tag sewn to the lining.

Also at the back is the Cocona lining and what I believe to be the "body mapped insulation" which Obermeyer's claims will "maximize heat retention (where muscles need it most)." interior

There are two pockets on the interior of the jacket. On the right side is a large mesh goggle pocket and on the left, there is a phone and zippered electronic pocket.

There is a water-resistant powderskirt with gripper elastic and snap-to-pant attachments just above the hem. The powderskirt is in its stowed condition: folded over and snapped to hold it in place.

Although RECCO recommends "two reflectors per person for optimal system performance," I was only able to locate one reflector in this jacket. It is sewn securely in the right sleeve, just below the shoulder.

CARE INSTRUCTIONS:

  • DO NOT DRY CLEAN
  • Unzip all of the zippers and turn your jacket inside-out.
  • Wash in COLD water separately.
  • DO NOT use fabric softeners or bleach.
  • Use a non-detergent cleanser, or a very mild powder detergent - see our recommendations below.
  • Minimize soap usage - better few bubbles than too many.
  • If you are using a wash-in type of DWR restorer, add it to the wash cycle.
  • Use your washing machine’s GENTLE cycle, or hand-wash.
  • Rinse very thoroughly; better yet, rinse it twice.
  • Gently squeeze most of the water from your garment - DO NOT WRING. Wringing the water from your garment can cause the waterproof/breathable coating to separate from the inside of the shell fabric.
  • LINE-DRY your garment until it is completely dry. DO NOT hang your garment over a heat source to speed drying - this can damage your garment’s fabric and the waterproof/breathable coating.
  • If you want to restore the DWR and did not use a wash-in type, you may apply a spray-on DWR restorer after washing.
  • Liquid detergents can clog the pores in the waterproof-breathable coating. Use a powdered non-detergent cleanser; if one is not available, use a very mild powdered detergent, and use it sparingly - powdered detergents rinse more thoroughly than liquid detergents. Gently rinse your garment thoroughly, preferably twice. We recommend:
  • If you cannot get a non-detergent cleanser by wash time, we recommend using a mild powder detergent sparingly, such as Dreft White or King.
  • The DWR restorer can be the wash-in type, but most are spray-on types. Your Obermeyer dealer or your favorite outdoor shop may have recommendations for products that they have used. We recommend Nikwax products:
    Nikwax TX-Direct Wash-In, added to your wash cycle; for most of our outerwear.
    Nikwax TX-Direct Spray-On, used for garments which have our Hydrophobic Mesh lining.
    Nikwax Tech Wash, a non-detergent cleanser for most outerwear.
    Nikwax Down wash, a non-detergent cleanser for outerwear insulated with down.

Initial Impression:

The first thing that caught my attention was its bright color, it was as expected. Next, I noticed the heft of the jacket. It was somewhat heavier than I anticipated it being. I was also impressed with the soft feel and the stretchiness of the shell fabric. The numerous features of this jacket are great, but the integrated pit zips are the most impressive to me.

Initial Testing:

After removing the jacket from the box it arrived in, I proceeded to thoroughly examine it for any noticeable flaws. The jacket appears to be constructed of high quality materials and workmanship. I did not find any loose seams, fraying material or other noticeable defects in materials or workmanship. Next, I donned the jacket to check sizing--it fit nearly perfectly. Finally, I checked all zippers and drawcords; they worked smoothly. I can't wait to get the Kestral out into the Idaho winter for testing.

Initial Pros:

Initial Potential Cons:

  • stylish look
  • feel of shell fabric
  • fully seam sealed
  • numerous pockets
  • pit zips
  • detachable, adjustable hood
  • nothing at this time

Top of Page


FIELD REPORT
February 3, 2013

At Hut

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

I wore the Kestral approximately thirty days in southeastern Idaho to/from work, shoveling snow and kicking about during the test period. During this time period, we had approximately twenty or so sub-zero (-18+ C) days; the coldest being -21 F (-29 C) with wind gusts up to 20 mph (32 km/h) yielding a Wind Chill Index of -49.55 F (-45 C).

The Kelly Canyon Nordic Area, which is located 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho in the Targhee National Forest. The Nordic Area starts at an elevation of approximately 5,900 ft (1,798 m) and reaches elevations of 6,700 ft (2,042 m). With poor early snowfall, the warming hut was not set up until the end of December. I only made one overnight trip in January (have several planned for February). We began skiing to the warming hut about 8:00 p.m. MST. The temperature at the time we began skiing was in the upper 20's (26 to 28 F or -3 to -2 C) and there was no wind. There was about an inch (2.5 cm) of new, wet snow since the last skiers. My guess is that overnight low temperature was in the low teens (12 to 14 F or -11 to -10 C). Other than some fog, it was a great night for skiing. Coming out in the morning, the temperature was a little warmer and thus the snow was a bit sticky. However, the fog was gone and therefore another great day for skiing.

Observations:

Temperatures during this phase of the test have been crazy; the coldest being -21 F (-29 C) with wind gusts up to 20 mph (32 km/h) yielding a Wind Chill Index of -49.55 F (-45 C) and the warmest being 54 F (12 C). I only wore the Kestral when the temperature was below 35 F (1.7 C). The Kestral performed well, especially on the colder days. On the windiest days, I wore the hood as well. The jacket did a fine job of keeping me warm, and the cold and wind out. I was impressed with how warm the Kestral kept me the day the wind chill index was -49.55 F (-45 C).

With the temperature in the upper 20's (26 to 28 F or -3 to -2 C) when we started skiing into the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area warming hut, I wore the Kestral over a merino wool/polyester performance base layer on my overnight cross-country ski outing. I also wore a merino wool beanie and ski gloves with Thinsulate. I carried my phone and camera in the Napoleon pocket over the right breast. The gusseted hook and loop closure on each cuff kept the sleeves securely around my gloves. The articulated elbows provided unrestricted movement. After about ten minutes of skiing uphill, while carrying a 75L backpack, I unzipped both pit zips and the front zipper to increase ventilation. After another ten minutes or so of skiing, I needed to shed the Kestral altogether. It was just too warm! I was not able to get enough ventilation through the front and pits to keep up with my sweating. Once we arrived at the hut, I donned the Kestral while we built a fire and gathered the fixings for our dinner. The jacket kept me comfortably warm while performing these camp chores. I also wore the jacket in the morning, as evidenced in the photo on the right, before we started skiing. However, it was as warm, or warmer, than it was the night before. So, I chose to wear a lighter weight softshell, which proved to be just right for the temperature and aerobic level.

Fortunately, I did not fall while wearing the Kestral. Unfortunately, I was therefore not able to test how well the stretch fleece inner cuffs and powder skirt keep the snow out. Maybe I'll get a chance to test these during the long-term test phase.

The jacket fits me nicely around the neck and through the shoulders and torso. The sleeves are a bit long, but not outrageously so. The tail extends long enough to help keep my big behind warm and dry. The jacket does not bind in the shoulders/pits, even when worn under my 75L backpack. There are no loose threads, runs in the polyester shell, or other flaws in the material and the zippers work smoothly. The Napoleon pocket with its waterproof zipper kept my phone and camera both dry and secure.

Summary:

I have worn the Kestral approximately thirty days thus far. It has performed very well to this point; even on the twenty or so sub-zero (-18+ C) days during this test period. The coldest of those days was -21 F (-29.4 C) with wind gusts up to 20 mph (32.2 km/h).

Pros Thus Far:

Cons Thus Far:

  • stylish look
  • feel of shell fabric
  • fully seam sealed
  • numerous pockets
  • pit zips
  • detachable, adjustable hood
  • nothing at this time

Top of Page


LONG TERM REPORT
April 2, 2013

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

I wore the Kestral jacket approximately ten additional days during this last phase of the test series. These included two additional overnight cross-country ski trips in the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area. I also wore it on two daytime snowshoe outings in the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area during this last phase of the test. Temperatures were a bit warmer; in the upper 20s to mid 30s F (-3 to 2 C). In addition, I was able to wear it on two separate daytime shooting events.

Observations:

As was the case in the Field Test phase, the jacket performed well: it kept me plenty warm, and shed snow and rain very well. The stretch fabric never impeded my movements while skiing, snowshoeing, shoveling snow, shooting, or even working on my vehicle. During highly aerobic activities, I was able to use the goggle cloth to clean my sunglasses. I really liked having that cloth readily available and dry. The Kestral jacket has held up very well during the test series. There are no noticeable signs of wear (i.e. fraying material, loose seams, etc.). The zippers, cordlocks, and hook-and-loop closures continue to work as designed.

While working on one of my vehicles, I accidentally got some dirt and grease on the right sleeve. Consequently, I had the opportunity to launder the Kestral. Once I unzipped all the zippers and turned the jacket inside out, I placed the Kestral in our front-loading washing machine. However, against Obermeyer's recommendation to wash this jacket separately, I also included a lightweight, water resistant, hoodless, insulative jacket of the same color. Following Obermeyer's recommendations, I used Nikwax Tech Wash; a non-detergent cleanser. I washed the two jackets on a gentle cycle in cold water, and ran them through two rinse cycles. Both jackets came out looking great. There were however, minor traces of the black grease still on the sleeve of the Kestral. I probably should have placed it in the washing machine and laundered it again right then. Nevertheless, I was interested in seeing how quickly it dried following Obermeyer's recommendation to line-dry the jacket. Rather than rigging a clothesline in my basement, I laid the jacket over the side of my jetted bathtub. I turned the jacket over several times, but it still took about two full days for the jacket to dry. The jacket looked and smelled great, except for the trace of grease on the sleeve. I am hopeful the residual grease will come out in the next laundering.

The Obermeyer Kestral jacket has performed very well for me during this test series. It kept me warm at -21 F (-29 C) and wind gusts up to 20 mph (32 km/h) yielding a Wind Chill Index of -49.55 F (-45 C). It kept me dry during wet snow and rain showers. That is what I expect from a winter jacket, to keep me warm and dry: the Kestral performed great on both accounts. I look forward to wearing it for many winters to come.

Summary:

I have worn the Kestral approximately fifteen additional days during the last phase of this test series. The Kestral jacket has performed very well. I look forward to wearing it for many winters to come.

Pros:

Cons:

  • stylish look
  • feel of shell fabric
  • fully seam sealed
  • numerous pockets
  • pit zips
  • detachable, adjustable hood
  • nothing

This concludes my long-term test report on the Obermeyer Kestral jacket. Thanks to Obermeyer and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test series.

Top of Page



Read more reviews of Obermeyer gear
Read more gear reviews by Ryan Lane Christensen

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Obermeyer Kestral Jacket > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson