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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > REI Revelcloud Hoodie Jacket > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

REI REVELCLOUD WOMEN'S HOODIE JACKET
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
FIELD REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - December 19, 2013
FIELD REPORT - March 18, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 63
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.rei.com
MSRP: US $159.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 12 oz (340 g)
Available Colors: Nightsea and Citron
Tested Color: Nightsea
Available Sizes: XS to L
Tested Size: Medium

Construction Materials:
* Shell Fabric: Recycled polyester
* Shell Lining Fabric: Recycled polyester
* Insulation type: Synthetic, PrimaLoft Eco polyester fibers

REI Warranty: "We stand behind everything we sell. If you are not satisfied with your REI purchase, you can return it for a replacement or refund. Items must be returned within a year of purchase, except items purchased from REI-OUTLET which must be returned within 30 days of purchase."

Made in Viet Nam.
REI Revelcloud Hoodie
Picture Courtesy of REI

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

When the REI Revelcloud Women's Hoodie Jacket (hereafter called simply the "Revelcloud", "jacket" or "hoodie") arrived, I was sure the box was empty. It was that lightweight!

Pulling the Revelcloud out of the box I found it to be a very pretty shade of dark blue lined in green with same-colored (green) full-length front zipper and two side hand pockets. There is a permanently attached hood which when not in use, lays flat against the back of the hoodie and creates a stand-up collar. The hood can be cinched tight via a drawcord system and barrel lock at the front neck and additional fitting can be made with the cinch cord tucked under a flap at the back of the hood. The hood features a short soft-billed brim.

The front zipper features an internal draft tube/flap and a nice chin guard at the top. There is an internal drawcord at the hem for a snug fit and bound stretchy cuffs to keep the chilly winds from blowing up the sleeves. And speaking of chilly winds, REI advertises that the Revelcloud will block winds up to 50 mph (81 kph) - good to know and that will definitely be tested here in Colorado on summit treks.

The fabric of the Revelcloud is polyester and is very soft to the touch, both inside and out. With such a smooth surface, I am able to easily add layers to it for additional warmth.

In addition to the two front side hand-warmer pockets which sport 7 in (18 cm) zippers, there is a small chest-high media pocket with an invisible 5 in (12.5 cm) zipper on the left front. My mp3 player will easily fit into the pocket but my smartphone (2.5 x 5 in/5 x 13 cm) will not. The zipper is so perfectly "hidden" in one of the quilt seams that I wore the jacket several times before I even noticed it! There is an earbud port clearly marked inside the jacket

Lastly, there is an interior lumbar (back) pocket with a 9.5 in (24 cm) zipper into which the Revelcloud can be stowed and packed into a backpack. When the jacket is stuffed into this pocket, it forms a decent sized, roughly - 10 by 7.5 in (25 x 19 cm) pillow. Nice!

Oh, and I almost forgot - there are NO company logos splashed anywhere on the exterior of the Revelcloud - only a small soft interior neck tag tells me the hoodie is an REI product and two small interior side seam tags let me know Primaloft and Pertex materials were used in the construction. Again, NICE!

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

I always check out care instructions before I buy any of my clothes but am especially careful when purchasing clothing I'm going to be wearing when backpacking, hiking and snowshoeing. I try to avoid clothing with abnormal care requirements. The REI Revelcloud's care instructions are printed on an interior side seam tag and, surprisingly, do not have the usual international symbols. The tag - in English (only) - states:

* Machine wash cold
* Gentle cycle
* Do not bleach
* Tumble dry lowd
* Remove promptly
* Do iron or steam
* Secure all zippers and closures
* Do not dry clean

I think I can handle that!

TRYING IT OUT

According to the size chart on the REI website, the women's Medium equates to a women's size 8 with measurements of 36 - 30.5 - 39 in (91.5 - 76 - 99 cm) and a sleeve length of 31.75 (80.5 cm). I found that to be very accurate and the Revelcloud Hoodie fits me more or less closely but not too snuggly. I can easily get a base layer and a light mid-layer underneath and can over-layer it with a rain/wind shell if need be.

With a base layer and a light down vest, I found my range of motion to be relaxed and complete. I hardly noticed I had the Revelcloud on (except for the comfortable warmth)!

The sleeves can come well over my wrists down to my finger tips, so when the cuff is at my wrists, there is some overlap of the sleeve over the cuff. There aren't any thumb loops to pull the cuffs downward a bit to cover the tops of my hands. Thankfully, the cuffs are not overly tight and restrictive but rather easily fit over all but my bulkiest gloves and mittens.

The back of the Revelcloud is sized at 27 in (68.5 cm) and is about 3 in (7.5 cm) longer than the front, so my bottom is covered when walking but not totally protected when sitting down.

The cinch cords on the hood make securing it easy and I can pull tighten the hood to the point that the brim actually covers the tops of my glasses/sunglasses, the sides of my cheeks and the bottom of my chin if I want. It feels very, very cozy! When I position the collar under my chin while having the hood tightly cinched, I'm happy to note there isn't any friction or rubbing from the zipper which tucks into a flap at the collar's edge.

As for the Revelcloud's pockets, my mp3 player fits perfectly in the media pocket and I had no trouble threading my Yurbud Ironman earbud cable into it through the interior earbud port. Stowing the hoodie in the interior packable pocket required a bit of careful stuffing so as to not snag the material, but it made a nice neat pillow when done! Lastly, the two front pockets are HUGE! They literally cover the entire bottom half of the jacket. Nice!

THINGS I LIKE SO FAR

LIKE:

*** Lightweight feel
*** Easy fit - not too loose, not too snug
*** Great color

SUMMARY

I'm so excited to be wearing the REI Revelcloud Hoodie Jacket this winter season and am looking forward to getting outdoors often to enjoy the quiet of snow-covered trails. I much prefer winter hiking/backpacking and snowshoeing to summer treks and the advent of colder temps has me dreaming of a White Christmas! It has certainly gotten much colder here in Colorado this past week with nighttime temperatures below zero F (-18 C) and daytime highs struggling to get out of the teens F (-7 C). BRRRR! With the Revelcloud, I'm planning to enjoy even the most brisk weather. Quick! It's starting to flurry! Where's my Revelcloud Hoodie?


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During this test period, all of my hiking/snowshoeing experiences were day hikes plus one two-night overnight which took place in south central Colorado. All day trips were 4 to 8 hour jaunts into the approximately 100,000 acres (40,468 hectares) of BLM land encompassing the Cooper Mountain range/Royal Gorge area near Canon City or the Wet Mountains south of the Arkansas River Valley.

The Cooper Mountain range is mostly piņon pine and juniper-covered high desert with rough primitive game and mining trails (for the most part) and is easily accessed just outside of my property fence line. So this was (and will be) most often chosen for my impromptu day hikes and quick overnights. My husband and I generally pack up, grab the GPS, pick a direction and go without any planned destination in mind.

The Wet Mountains rise up from the Arkansas River Valley and are dense ponderosa pine and sage forests. There the Rainbow Trail stretches along the base of the Wet Mountains with lots of side trails up into the mountains. My summer goal is to complete as many of these trails as possible!

Elevations I tested in ranged from 5000' up to 14000' (1524 m to 4267 m) and temperatures while hiking/snowshoeing over the past two months varied from 17 F to 68 F (-8 C to 20 C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

After these first two months of wearing, if I were to pick the number one feature to write about (and I am going to do that) of the REI Revelcloud jacket, I would have to say "the Revelcloud is wonderfully effective against wind".

For example, though the day before was sunny and 70 F/21 C (I wore a t-shirt!), on my most recent jaunt, the next day was 44 F (7 C) for the day's high temperature, cloudy and windy. The sustained winds were clocked at 5 mph (8 kmh) with gusts to 14 mph (23 kmh) officially. While on a day hike from our base camp, I felt the gusts were much higher, but since I don't carry around the proper measuring devices, I'll have to go with the "official" readings.

As per my usual slightly-above-freezing clothing system, I wore a lightweight long-sleeved wool base layer with a synthetic lightweight vest under the Revelcloud and a lightweight wool beanie-style cap.

Anyway, I wasn't hiking hard or fast since the purpose of our jaunt was to search out deer antlers ('tis the season right now here in south central Colorado), so consequently, even though the terrain was rather rough, I didn't build up a lot of body heat from exertion. There was a lot of standing around while searching in gullies and under trees.

As on other occasions with similar temps, the Revelcloud kept me sufficiently warm and for that I was very happy as my exposed face was very, very cold from the near-constant wind! Had I not had the wind-protection afforded me by the jacket, I would have suffered, been miserable, maybe, whiny, and probably turned back (who needs deer antler, anyway!).

Also, while it really wasn't cold enough nor was it spewing any kind of precipitation to warrant wearing the hood - I'm not a hoodie kind of gal, generally - I greatly appreciated the way the hood snuggled against the back of my neck when the Revelcloud is fully zippered. The hood folds flat against me to keep the icy fingers of Mother Nature from strangling me cold (poetic, no?)!

The folded hood does not irritate me by rubbing against my hair if I fold the brim into the hood - my hair is rather short - but on cool days, I usually wear a wool cap and then I like to leave the brim untucked for the extra wind shield. (see picture right below)

On the other end of the wind-busting properties of the Revelcloud - literally - are the cinch cords in the hem of the jacket. Using the barrel lock mechanism, I'm able to pull the hem tightly around my derriere to keep errant breezes from sneaking upward. This cinching system is different from my other winter jackets in that the pull loops are located at the side seams of the jacket rather than the very front. I've found that the Revelcloud's method of cinching makes for a more uniform gathering than the front positioning and I'm for anything that keeps me warmer, so NICE!
Hoodie Neck Protection
Hoodie Neck Protection
Hoodie Brim Protection
Hoodie Snuggle!

On a couple of occasions, I did make use of the hood when it was snowing and/or some light rain/snow mix. I particularly liked the way the brim of the hood can be cinched via two different cinches, tightly enough to come right down to my glasses to protect them from the precip! No more spotted glasses, yay! Well, at least no more vision-robbing smears as long as the rain/snow remains vertical. And with my horrid eyesight, I need all the help I can get!

And speaking of precipitation, I did have one encounter when a totally unexpected rain shower dampened my day (and enthusiasm) mid-hike. After an hour of a steady slightly more-than-mist but less-than-a-shower slog, the Revelcloud which initially repelled the wet stuff (it "beaded" up), soaked through. Even the lining was damp, but not wringing-out wet. Thankfully, I remained warm during my outing though I was happy to get the jacket off and into a nice dry fleece. Despite the increase in humidity due to the rain, the jacket dried within the hour.

So far, I have not had to wash the Revelcloud despite my careless handling of it and all the encounters the poor thing has had to endure with dirt, pine trees, etc. And any wrinkles and crinkles that develop when I have it stuffed inside its stuff sack, shake out in mere minutes. The zippers haven't snagged and none of the stitching has either or pulled.

SUMMARY

When I'm backpacking, hiking and/or snowshoeing, the most important function of my outermost top layer is wind and moisture protection. I can usually control my warmth via various weight base and mid-layers. The REI Revelcloud Hoodie Jacket certainly has met and exceeded my needs these past two months. Here in south central Colorado, wind has been exceptionally prevalent this winter and March has come in like the proverbial lion. Wind is NOT my friend! But with the Revelcloud's ability to block the wind, I'm pleased to report I've been able to "tame" the beast! I'm looking forward to wearing this jacket many more times in the coming months on mountain summits where, even in the summer, the north (south, east and west) winds blow!

This concludes my Field Report. My sincere thanks to REI and for the opportunity to try to stay comfortable warm (though not TOO warm) these next two months. Please return in early May to see if I do!

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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