RED LEDGE PARABLE JACKET
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
May 01, 2009
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Now I usually hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Most of my trips are section hikes or loops from a few days to a week. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
January 9, 2009
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Red Ledge
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer' s Website: http://www.redledge.com
MSRP: $189.99 US
Listed Weight: Not available
Measured Weight: 2.2 lb (1 kg)
Size Tested: Women's Medium
Color Tested: Delft
Listed center back length: 29 in (74 cm) (medium)
Measured center back length: 29 in (74 cm)
The tag inside the jacket lists the materials as follows:
Shell: 100% nylon
Insulation: 100% polyester
Lining 1: 100% polyester
Lining 2: 100% nylon
The Red Ledge Parable jacket came on a heavy-duty plastic hanger with 7 hangtags. The hangtags list the following information:
- Jacket model, size, MSRP and Made in China
- Red Ledge tag with materials and list of features for this jacket.
- CYCLEPET tag indicating use of post-consuming PET
- T-Core LX Waterproof/Breathable material
- Seam Sealed
- Texpedition insulation
The Red Ledge Parable jacket is a technical soft shell waterproof breathable insulated parka. The outer fabric is nylon. The insulation is called 'Texpedition' which is polyester and claims to have an excellent warmth to weight ratio. The waterproof layer is a laminate called T-CoreLX with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating. There is a green CYCLEPET tag on the side seam of the jacket.
The main front zipper can be opened from either the top or bottom. The storm flap over the front zipper is closed at the top and bottom with a snap. Between the snaps are 4 sections of hook and loop for complete closure. The top 4 in (10 cm) portion of the zipper has a draft stop lined with micro-fleece to keep my face from touching the zipper.
There are two chest pockets which both have a partial storm flap and waterproof zippers. There are also two zippered hand warmer pockets with a fleece lining. These two zippers have a full storm flap. Inside the pockets are cord locks for adjusting the waist drawcord. These cord locks are secured to the inside of the pocket. All of the external pockets have zipper pulls and close to the top and open to the bottom. There is one zippered pocket inside the jacket at the left side chest. The vents under each arm pit have double-ended waterproof zippers, but the zippers do not have the coated appearance that the chest pocket zippers have. The photo shows the chest pocket zipper (lower) and pit zipper (top).
There is a powder skirt which is sewn to the lining at the waist that fits around my waist/hips to keep snow from coming up under the hem of the jacket. The powder skirt has an elasticized gripper hem and two snaps for closure. Between the snaps is a hook and loop section to completely close the front. When the skirt is not in use, there is a loop section to hold the hook portion so that it does not get caught on other things. The photo shows the front of the powder skirt.
All seams are 100% sealed either with seam tape or with seam-sealing glue.
The hood is detachable via a zipper and has hook and loop attachments on either side of the collar opening. The brim is slightly stiff which keeps it held out away from my face. A drawcord which is secured at either side of the collar allows for adjustment of the hood opening. This drawcord does not use a standard cord lock but rather has a tube section with a slit. The cord can be secured in the slit which is shown in the left photo below. The drawcord goes through a soft microfleece section in the center so that this softer material is touching my face when the hood is tightened shown in the middle photo below. I like that idea. The hood also has a hook and loop tab on the top to allow it to be held back on the head.
There is a knitted draft collar and a hang loop at the base of it.
The cuffs have a hook-and-loop closure to allow for adjustment of the cuff tightness.
The hem has a drawcord which is adjusted at the side seam on the inside of the jacket hem. The cord locks are secured to the jacket. The hem length in the rear is longer than in the front which looks like a short shirt tail from the side.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
When I first tried on the jacket, I noticed its light weight and lack of bulk as compared to my other winter ski jacket. I often get too hot to wear my jacket while snowshoeing and a less bulky jacket would be easier to stuff in my pack. I also was pleased with the appearance of the jacket. It has a two-tone blue color and is quite fashionable.
I have worn the jacket a couple of times on my drive to work and for a few short walks. Although it was cool and windy on my walks, I could not feel any wind coming through the jacket.
The fit of the jacket is really comfortable due the lighter weight. I wore the jacket with a shirt and light sweater which is similar to the layers which I could typically wear for snowshoeing. The shoulder room and the arm length were just right. It felt roomy enough that my movement was not restricted at all. The powder skirt is not overly tight, but is a nice snug fit. The hood seems to fit fine although I'll have to see how it is in actual use. It is not large enough to use with a helmet underneath. The fleece inside the lower hand-warmer pockets feels really cozy.
The second time that I wore the jacket, I noticed that the loop portion on one of the hook-and-loop sections of the front storm flap had a thread unraveling. This was allowing a 0.5 in (12 mm) section of it to pull away from the jacket.
PROS & CONS
Stitching coming out on loop closure section
The Parable jacket is not yet on the website, so I cannot comment on how it compares to its advertising. However, the hang tag lists 'upper chest pocket with zip closure' but there are two chest pockets. And it lists 'two internal zip pockets', but there is only one internal pocket. I was not able to find a sizing chart on the website.
Despite the one stitch coming apart, the jacket seems to be well-made. It has several nice features and is really comfortable.
March 20, 2009
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore this jacket as my primary jacket this winter meaning that I wore it to work, for walks, for errands and for backpacking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Over the test period, I wore it nearly every day with 2 times per week being for outdoor athletic activity. Here are some examples:
University Falls, Sierra Nevada (California): 5.6 miles (9 km); 3,450 to 4,100 ft (1,052 to 1,250 m); 31 to 37 F (-0.5 to 3 C); sunny. On this trip there were a lot of snow-laden branches overhanging the trail. Since it was a nice day, big drops of water were sporadically falling. The hood really came in handy to keep these drops from hitting my head and from going down my back.
Echo Lake, Sierra Nevada (California): 5.0 mi (8 km); 7,300 to 8,000 ft (2,225 to 2,438 m); 35 to 45 F (2 to 7 C); deep snow conditions; sunny. This was a warm trip, so once my body warmed up, I strapped the jacket to my pack. When we were stopped for lunch I cooled off quickly so I wore the jacket again.
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada (California): 6.5 mi (10.5 km); 6,400 to 6,700 ft (1,950 to 2,040 m); 31 to 45 F (-1 to 7 C); deep snow conditions; sunny. Again, I got pretty warm during part of our hike and strapped the jacket to my pack.
Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park (California): 5.0 mi (8 km); 4,035 to 5,400 ft (1,230 to 1,646 m); 25 to 30 F (-4 to -1 C); deep snow; heavy snowstorm conditions. I wore the jacket the entire time but wore a Gore-tex hat instead of the hood. At times quite a bit of snow accumulated on my shoulders.
Point Reyes National Seashore (California): 18 miles (29 km); 0 to 854 ft (0 to 260 m); 39 to 60 F (4 to 15 C); sunny to foggy weather. On this trip, I hiked with the jacket stuffed in my backpack and put it on as soon as we arrived in camp. At night I used the jacket as a pillow. I folded it so that the soft lining was the outer part of my pillow. It was really comfortable.
Spooner Lake, Eastern Sierra Nevada (Nevada): 10 mi (16 km); 7,080 to 7,600 ft (2,158 to 2,316 m); 20 to 35 F (-7 to 2 C); calm overcast to breezy snowstorm conditions. I wore the jacket most of the time except during the climb where I strapped it to my pack. Then later we had snowstorm conditions where I was bundled up in the jacket with the hood pulled tight.
Glacier Point Road, Yosemite National Park (California): 11.0 mi (17.7 km); 7,200 to 7.350 ft (2,200 to 2,240 m); 18 to 22 F (-8 to -5 C); groomed snow conditions; sunny to overcast. It was cool enough that I wore the jacket the entire time though I did not wear the hood.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
For all of my snow trips, I wore just a light long-sleeved synthetic shirt under the jacket. The jacket is quite warm and although I often carried a light fleece with me, I never used it.
While snowshoeing on warmer days, I often got warm and sweaty with the jacket on although I was only wearing a thin shirt underneath. With my hood off and pit zips opened, it was better and overall the breathability was reasonable. I often strapped the jacket to my pack. On cooler days, I wore the jacket the entire time and was never even slightly cold. At times I left it on just so that I wouldn't get chilled if I took it off. Although I typically had the pit zips opened and the front zipper unzipped half way, I got especially warm with the hood on and sometimes wore my Gore-tex hat instead so that the heat from my back could escape rather than being trapped in the hood.
On the Vernal Fall hike, it was snowing most of the way and at the highest elevations it was snowing VERY HARD so plenty of snow accumulated on my jacket. The jacket was exposed to a lot of moisture from the outside. On the Spooner Lake snowshoe in to the cabin, it was raining but the jacket never allowed moisture to get to me. I wore the jacket for many lunch-time walks at work of which several were in the rain and again the jacket always kept me dry.
One night on the Point Reyes backpacking trip, we made a small fire on the beach. The fog and sea mist was extremely heavy such that we could only see mist in the beam of our flashlights. The jacket got completely soaked by the mist but dried very quickly when back in the tent.
On the Vernal Fall hike, I mentioned the outer moisture but on that hike I was also perspiring since it was a constant climb. When we got back to the car, the inside of the jacket felt damp. This dampness was due to my perspiration and not from soaking through from the outside. It didn't feel soaking wet but rather a warm moist feeling more like a damp sponge. Although the jacket was damp inside at times, it never felt cold or clammy while wearing it.
During our backpacking trip, a steady breeze came up while we were in camp right on the ocean bluff. The wind chill really cooled things off since the temperature was in the low 40's F (4 -7 C). The jacket and hood both completely blocked the wind and the insulation kept me warm. While skiing or snowshoeing in windy conditions, I never felt a bit of wind pass through the fabric.
At McKerricher State Park on the Mendocino coast there is a boardwalk out to the ocean where the sea lions bask in the sun. The wind on this short hike was 20 mi/h (32 km/h) with temperatures in the 40s F (-15 C), so the wind chill was quite uncomfortable. However, with my hood up and jacket zipped up completely, I was reasonably comfortable and no wind penetrated the jacket. By the way, despite the full sun, the sea lions weren't basking. They were swimming in the frigid ocean instead which shows how uncomfortable the wind was.
The upper chest pockets are really in a useful location when wearing a pack. The pack waist belt makes it difficult to access the lower hand warmer pockets. So having the upper pockets is really nice for stowing things like a bar or hat. The lower hand warmer pockets are awfully cozy. When I use them on cool walks, I appreciate their warmth for my hands and just love the comfortable feeling of the fleece lining. The inner zippered chest pocket is nice for keeping something like an energy bar closer to my body heat which keeps it from freezing. It is also nice for sensitive items like a cell phone or iPod.
I have always worn the jacket with the hood zipped on and have not tried detaching it yet. The hood has a small bill which is enough to function for keeping water from dripping into my face. But it is small enough that I have good vision with the hood on. I'm not a big fan of hoods in general, but this one is pretty comfortable. The hook and loop tab on the top also allows me to hold it back away from my face slightly which also helps peripheral vision. As mentioned above, I get pretty warm in this jacket and wearing the hood makes it even warmer.
For the most part the jacket looks like new. There are some threads ends showing on the front storm flap.
I washed the jacket one time on gentle cycle in cold water and tumble dried it on extra low.
The loop portion of the hook-and-loop section on the jacket front which was coming off (as mentioned in my IR) continued to detach. Here is a picture at the end of the Field Test period.
The section that is affected is the most used section. It always wants to stick closed on its own and thus has been opened and closed countless times. However, it is still intact with about 1/3 of the total section being now detached. This has not caused any problem with my ability to test the jacket. The attached portion is sufficient to hold the front flap closed.
The jacket is roomy although it is a perfect fit for me. It looks sleek and isn't bulky or puffy like some jackets of this type. The cuffs are large enough to fit over top of my gloves and I can then cinch the hook and loop tight around them. The sleeves and shoulders are roomy enough that I still have complete motion for using poles.
This jacket is well-made, comfortable, stylish, and very functional. It is warm, windproof and waterproof while still being light weight.
Hook section of storm flap coming unsewn
May 1, 2009
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
The weather changed to spring during this test period, but I was able to get some more testing days in. I continued to wear the jacket to work on cold mornings and on lunchtime walks for about 10 additional uses. I wore the jacket for one snowshoeing hike and on one backpacking trip as described below.
University Falls, Sierra Nevada (California): 5 mi (8 km); 3,450 to 4,100 ft (1,052 to 1,250 m); 37 to 43 F (2 to 6 C); overcast to rainy conditions
La Verkin Creek Trail, Zion National Park (Utah): 3 days; 20 mi (32 km); 5,413 to 6,070 ft (1,650 to 1,850 m); 40 to 75 F (4 to 24 C); dry conditions
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Since the weather was milder during this period, I did not use the hood for my walks. It attaches neatly to the collar with a zipper along the middle section and with hook and loop at the ends. I re-attached it for snowshoeing and backpacking. I found it to be very easy to detach and re-attach securely.
I hadn't mentioned it in my Field Report, but the powder skirt was really helpful during cold windy conditions to keep the air from coming up under the jacket and cooling me too much. It fits snugly but is very flexible and didn't restrain my movement at all.
On the snowshoeing hike, we found the snow to be melting rapidly and the trail to be only half snow-covered. So, we snowshoed half of the time and hiked half of the time. Mid-way on the trip it started raining and rained for an hour. The jacket and hood kept me completely dry.
|As a pillow|
Our backpacking trip in Zion National Park was warm during the days, but I wore the jacket in camp in the evenings and mornings. On one evening the breeze came up and it was especially nice to have a windproof jacket and hood. The jacket is easily stuffed into my backpack and reasonably light weight for carrying in my pack. I like to use the jacket as a pillow too. I fold it so that the soft portion on the inside of the jacket back is on top. It is soft and makes a great pillow without having to pile up other clothing with it.
I really like how warm this jacket keeps me without it feeling heavy or bulky. It is so warm that I only wore a light long- or short-sleeved shirt underneath it for all of my activities. It just wasn't needed to add another layer. This gave me a lot of freedom of movement without the restriction of additional layers.
I'm not a huge fan of hoods, but this one was very comfortable. It allowed for good peripheral vision because the hook and loop tab allowed me to adjust it away from my face. The small brim helped to keep rain and snow off of my face. The hood itself is fairly thin which also kept it from interfering with my hearing.
I found the jacket to be completely weatherproof. I wore it in rainstorms, snowstorms and strong wind but did not have any of the elements penetrate the jacket. Due to the warmth, I did perspire quite a bit in the jacket, but it is reasonably breathable. It dries quickly and never made me feel damp or chilly.
The hand-warmer pockets are really cozy on my hands. I also liked having fleece-lined pockets for storing sensitive items like a cell phone or camera.
The jacket appears to be in great shape after a full winter of use. I washed it one time in a washing machine during the Field Test period. The only wear area is the one hook and loop section that is detaching which started at the very beginning of the test. This didn't affect the test but that section has been pulling off more and more as I wear the jacket. I was still able to close the front flap. Here is what it looks like now.
The Red Ledge Parable Jacket is light weight, warm and weatherproof. It is also very comfortable and has a splash of fashion style too. I mentioned my problem with the hook and loop tab detaching, but I had no other issues with durability or quality. Overall I found the jacket to be very well-made. I will sew this section back on for my future use.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Hook and loop tab detaching
This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for the Red Ledge Parable jacket. I would like to thank Red Ledge and BackpackGearTest.org for choosing me to participate in this test.
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith