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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Red Ledge Parable Jacket > Test Report by Mike Wilkie

RED LEDGE PARABLE PARKA
TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
LONG-TERM REPORT
June 08, 2009

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Wilkie
EMAIL: foreverwild1885 at yahoo dot com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Davenport, New York (USA)
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 148 lb (67.10 kg)

Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and as a young Scout my backpacking obsession began. Living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I hike, snowshoe, canoe, snowboard or multi-day backpack through the Catskills or Adirondacks almost every weekend. I am learning and practicing safe lightweight techniques and have greatly reduced my pack weight, adding comfort and miles to my adventures. Being an aspirant of the Catskill-3500 Club and Adirondack-46ers, peak-bagging is my main outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Red Ledge
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.redledge.com
MSRP: US$189.99
Listed Weight: N/A
Size: Men's Large
Measured Weight: 2 lbs 6 oz (1.08 kg)


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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Prior to receiving the Red Ledge Jacket, I was unsure of the Parable's design. To my surprise, it is a full featured parka designed for technical use.

The Parable is described by Red Ledge to be a "Mountaineering Insulated Parka". They claim the Parable is 100% waterproof and breathable with its T-Core LX DWR finished lamination. All seams are seam sealed with an application of seam-sealing glue and seam tape. The fabric is made of 100% ripstop nylon and the insulation is their branded Texpedition Insulation. Materials listed on the jacket's tag are, 100% nylon for the shell, 100% polyester for the insulation and lining one and 100% nylon for lining two.

According to the attached display hang tags the T-Core LX is a high performance waterproof breathable laminate. The lamination is engineered with components to enable a dry and comfortable function. I can attest to this with my experience thus far. During my initial field studies, the parka always kept me dry and comfortable in freezing temperatures and in cold rain conditions.

The Texpedition Insulation is described to have excellent warmth to weight ratio. Red Ledge states "warmth is to be provided in various weather conditions". This seems to be true so far with my current findings. I used the parka in various weather conditions where warmth was consistent. During most activity such as snowshoeing, hiking or mountain climbing I opted to wear only one lightweight base layer under the parka since the parka kept me very warm. This even goes for activity conducted in below freezing temperatures. For this amount of warmth, the parka is relatively lightweight.

Features of the Parable Parka:

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Exterior storm flap
Elasticized cuffs with adjustable Velcro
Internal zip pocket
Powder skirt with elasticized gripper hem

For the "Green" effect, Red Ledge incorporated recycled PET called CYCLEPET. From an attached display hang tag, "This article comes from post-consuming PET container flakes. Through recycling PET, we save 20% of waste water, 50% of energy, and 60% of air pollution compare with raw material from petroleum".


READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The cleaning instructions attached to the Parable Parka state:

Machine wash cold, gentle cycle
Mild detergent
No Bleach
Tumble dry low
Do not Iron
Do not dry clean

I will report on my experiences cleaning the jacket after more field use.

TRYING IT OUT

Since receiving the Red Ledge parka, I have been able to get in some initial field-testing. Testing took place in the Adirondack Mountains and in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains near my home. Conditions varied greatly from very cold and snowy to mild temperatures with heavy cold rain.

I wore the parka while plowing snow from my property via ATV in temperatures below 10 F (-12 C) with wind chill gusts at -20 F (-29 C). In the Adirondacks, I wore the Parable on several snowshoe treks. Temperatures on my first trek was around 25 F (-4 C) and on the last snowshoe trek weather conditions were rain, freezing rain and snow mix with temperatures around 32 - 35 F (0 - 2 C). Another occasion that the Parable Parka was worn was on the trek up Bald Mountain in the West-Central Adirondacks. Conditions started out mild with a temperature around 32 F (0 C) and at the summit elevation 2349 ft (716 m) the temperature dropped to about 25 F (-4 C) with wind chill gusts around 10 F (-12 C)

During all of the above conditions, the Parable consistently supplied me with plenty of warmth and comfort. During all of the treks, I wore only one lightweight wicking layer where nothing else was needed. I did carry extra layers but did not need them. Even during the mild conditions, I was easily able to maintain comfort with the parkas venting capabilities.

The Parable has an excellent range of motion with no bulkiness. Protection from wind, rain and snow was always provided during these initial field tests. The hood as well provided much needed protection from the elements.

Since deep snow or powder conditions were nonexistent, the powder skirt was not needed. However, during future testing when mountain climbing in deep fresh snow or hitting the slopes via snowboard...I expect it will get lots of use.

SUMMARY

Thus far, the Red Ledge Parable Parka has provided me with excellent protection from the elements in various weather conditions. Comfort was easily regulated with the venting capabilities as well as the detachable hood.

At this point, the parka has proven water-resistant in heavy rain and snow. Warmth was always supplied in below freezing temperatures and the parka has a great warmth to weight ratio.

Pros
Lightweight for amount of warmth provided
Pit zips for venting
Detachable hood
Comfort
Waterproof zip pockets

Cons
None at this time


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Red Ledge Parable Parka was used and tested in the following locations and conditions.

Bald Mountain - West-Central Adirondack Region
Route: Bald ((Rondaxe) Mountain Trail
Weather: 35 F (1.67 C) at trailhead, 32 F (0 C) on summit with wind chills - Mostly cloudy
Distance: 2 miles (3.22 km) out and back
Ascent (elevation change): 390 ft (119 m)
Summit elevation: 2350 ft (716 m)
Difficulty: Moderate with icy conditions, snowmelt and packed trail snow. Snowshoes were mostly use but crampons were worn on icy steps during ascent and for most of the way down. Packed trail snow was at lower elevations and increasing ice at higher elevations and exposed areas.

Moss Lake (Day 1) - West-Central Adirondack Region
Route: Via the Circuit Trail
Weather: Cold and icy with temperatures around 22 F (-5.55 C) Mostly cloudy
Distance: 2.5 miles (4.03 km)
Difficulty: Moderately easy - mostly level trek with some hilly terrain. Snowshoes were worn for this hike. Icy conditions made for some difficult traction is some areas.

Moss Lake (Day 2) - West-Central Adirondack Region
Route: Via the Circuit Trail
Weather: Cold and snowy with temperatures around 22 F (-5.55 C) - total fresh snow accumulation: five in (12.70 cm)
Distance: 2.5 miles (4.03 km)
Difficulty: Moderately easy - mostly level trek with some hilly terrain. Snowshoes were worn for this hike.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 1): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 15 F (-9.43 C) with wind chills below 0 F (18 C). Light snow
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 2): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 20 F (-6.6 C) heavy snow at times with fresh snow accumulations of 12 in (30.48 cm)
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 3): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 15 F (-9.43 C) with wind chills below 0 F (18 C). Light snow
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 4): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 34 F (1 C) sleet, rain and ice mix
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

The Red Ledge Parable was used and tested on several snowshoe hikes in the forest behind my home. This is a 2 mile (3.22 km) bushwhack, mostly on an uphill/downhill, rocky terrain and is a moderate ascend to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). I have logged 7 days for this trek. Snowshoes were worn for all of these hikes.

The Parable Parka was also used while plowing snow via ATV. Weather conditions and temperatures varied from heavy snow to freezing rain with temperatures from just above freezing and down to below 0 F (-18 C) with wind chills below -20 F (-29 C ) at times. This task took about two hours for each day when snowplowing occurred. The Parable Parka was worn for this task for over ten days of use.

On 4 occasions, the Red Ledge parka was used as a snowboard jacket as I hit the slopes at Belleayre Mountain. Weather varied slightly in temperature for these trips but it was always below freezing with snowy conditions. Belleayre has a summit elevation of 3429 ft (1045 m) and a vertical drop of 1404 ft (428 m)

The Parable was used on a six night/seven day trip to a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains. The parka was worn everyday and for all excursions and activities.

I have recorded a total of 14 days where I have worn the Parable Parka for backcountry use. These days of activities include mountain climbing, hiking, snowshoeing and snowboarding. The parka was also worn on an almost daily basis for non-activity use.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Since the Red Ledge Parable Parka provided me with both a weather-resistant outer shell and a warm insulating garment in one lightweight package, only one other layer was required under the jacket during activity. The parka has provided me with more than adequate insulating capabilities that helped me to retain the warmth needed in temperatures 0 F (-18 c) or below. Moreover, in mild temperatures above freezing, over heating and trapped moisture was easily controlled with the Parables venting options. For me the pit zips have proven to be one of the parkas most valuable features.

During inclement conditions the Parable has proven to be wind and water-resistant. The DWR finished outer shell consistently resisted any wetness by shedding rain, snow and ice. I had the opportunity to use and test the parka under these conditions for a thorough evaluation that brought me to these conclusions. And as I have stated the jacket has proven worthy during whiteouts, heavy downpours and freezing rain.

By only requiring base layer under the parka, I have been able to drop my middle insulating layer from my gear list. This also in turn made for easier temperature adjustment by not having to peel off or put on layers when in the field. Not having to wear or carry this middle insulating layer, its weight was deducted from my pack. This is a plus for me as I am learning and practicing lightweight techniques where every ounce makes a difference. In addition to lightweight, the Parable has excellent warmth to weight ratio.

The powder skirt has proven to be a valuable feature as well. When hitting the slopes via snowboard or descending steep slopes via snowshoes the skirt blocked any snow from entering under the parka. I did find some snow in the skirt so I know this feature has done its job.

At this point I have yet to wash the parka; however, it is just about do for a cleaning. The jacket still appears to be in new condition with no signs of wear and tear. Proven to be durable, the outer shell resisted abrasion from brush during bushwhacks and boulders on steep scrambles.

The detachable hood helped to keep weather off my face and head as well as adding warmth. Tucking my head deep under the hood protected me from the elements and the visor has helped to keep water and snow off my face. When need arose for extra warmth the hood helped me to retain heat. I have not detached the hood, as it has proven valuable during my winter excursions.

Another impressive feature of the Parable Parka is the zippered water-resistant chest pockets. They have provided protection for my cell phone, maps and other various essentials.

I do have only one complaint about the Red Ledge parka. On occasion, I find it difficult to attach the zipper to zip the parka closed. After a bit of fussing with it I can get it to go. Nevertheless, this only happens on occasion and with all of the great features and performance that the Parable offers, I can easily over look this flaw.








SUMMARY

Thus far, the Red Ledge Parable has proven to be a warm, lightweight winter parka providing outstanding performance and function. The Parable Parka is packed with features for me to regulate comfort and to obtain protection from the elements. I have tested the Parable and it has proven worthy under various weather conditions and temperatures.

The venting capabilities of the Parable in my opinion have truly added to the parka's performance and function. This Parable has become my essential backcountry garment for winter activities, as well as for some daily use during winter tasks such as plowing snow via ATV.

Pros
Lightweight
Pit zips and venting capabilities
Weather-resistant outer
Warm insulating capabilities

Cons
Zipper is tricky to attach on occasion



This concludes my Field Report on the Red Ledge Parable Parka. The Long Term Report will be appended here in approximately two months.



LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Red Ledge Parable Parka was used and tested in the following locations and conditions.

South Hill State Forest - 3 mile (4.83 km) bushwhack
Weather: Windy with some sun, temperature was 33 F (0.56 C)
Elevation: 2000 F (610 m)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate on mostly level terrain. Some dense brush increased difficulty to moderate.

South Hill State Forest - 3.5 mile (5.64 km) Loop hike on old logging road.
Weather: 38 F (3.33 C) with light rain
Elevation: 2000 F (610 m)
Difficulty: Easy on an old logging road

The Parable Parka was used and tested on several hikes in the forest behind my home. This is a 2 mile (3.22 km) bushwhack, mostly on an uneven , rocky terrain which includes a moderate ascent to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). I wore the Parable for this trek on two different days, both of which required snowshoes. On the first day hike, the parka endured heavy down pours with temperatures around 38 F (3.33 C). On hike two, conditions were clear and chilly with temperatures around 32 F (0 C)

During my nightly dog walks, the Parable provided adequate insulation. This trek with the dog is a short 0.5 mile (0.81 km) on a mostly uphill/downhill terrain. The parka was worn for five of these nightly walks with the dog in various temperatures from below freezing to mild around 42 F (5.56 C).

I have accumulated a total of 9 days of using and testing the Red Ledge Parable Parka during this final leg of the test series. The parka was used on 4 day hikes and 5 nightly dog walks. The Parable was carried on several other hikes, but it did not receive use due to warm temperatures. However, the parka did occupy pack space on these hikes.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Due to rising spring temperatures, the Red Ledge Parable Parka received limited use during this final testing period. This is the only negative comment I have to make for the parka's performance during this leg of the test series.

I did however have some opportunities to use the parka on several hikes during inclement weather conditions. I found that during the heaviest rain conditions the Parable still repelled water with its DWR finished shell. The shell also helped to cut wind and the hood offered protection to my head and face from these driving conditions.

The excellent venting capability has proven worthy once again, helping to reduce trapped moisture and controlling body temperature. During my nightly walks with the dog, the Parable kept me warm as the night's chill set in.

During these last few testing months, the Parable Parka proved to be a bit much for most hiking conditions. I would have to say from my experience the Parable was not needed in temperatures above 45 F (7.22 C), especially during high exertion activities such as hiking.

Thus far, the parka still appears to be in excellent condition. There are no signs of wear or thread pulls. Stitching remains tight and all hook and loop closures, draw cords and snaps work as they did when new. The fussy zipper remains to be a concern though as explained in the field report. However, I did not have any issues with it during this leg of the test series.

SUMMARY

Overall, the Parable Parka has proven to be a quality winter performance jacket. It offered plenty of features and function to perform as a winter sport parka. The Parable will remain as my main snowshoe and winter trekking jacket and I will continue to use it for snowboarding, winter mountain climbing and winter camping. However, the parka will have to remain in my closet for the other three seasons.

Aside from being a bit too warm for use in temperatures above 45 F (7.22 C) and the fussy zipper at times, the Parable Parka proved to be of high quality. The Parable's design, features and function make it a high performance parka for the winter outdoor enthusiast.

Pros
Venting capabilities
Fully packed with features for winter performance
Comfort
Water resistance

Cons
Lack of versatility with its single layer design
Fussy zipper at times

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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