RED LEDGE MIRAGE
TEST SERIES BY ERIN M. HEDDEN
October 23, 2001
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Erin M. Hedden
Southeastern Colorado, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
153 lb (69.40 kg)
Backpacking Background: I have been backpacking since 4 years of age, taking long trips into the mountains with my family. I hike various terrains from mountains and plateaus to grasslands and prairies. My excursions can be a day hike with a light-weight waist pack, a loop trail taking up to 5 days on which I keep my pack as light-weight as possible, or an in-and-out trip for a night or two where my pack can be heavy. Slow and steady is my pace and I use a tent or a hammock depending on weather and terrain.
Red Ledge Mirage
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Red Ledge
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.redledge.com/
MSRP: US $139.99
Color: Powder Blue
Listed Weight: Unlisted Product
Measured Weight: 2.1 lbs (0.94 kg)
The Women's Mirage Softshell is a waterproof and breathable nylon dobby ripstop softshell with 100% taped seams.
It has a detachable mesh lined hood, an interior storm flap, armpit zips, two lower pockets that zip closed, an internal neoprene cuff, adjustable velcro cuffs, a draw cord at the bottom hem of the jacket and a removable snap back powder skirt that also has an elasticized gripper hem.
Packaging, Initial Impressions, Materials, Construction, and Features as appropriate.
The face is made of 92% nylon and 8% spandex while the back is made of 100% polyester. The first lining is made of 100% nylon and the second lining is 100% polyester.
The jacket is made of a very durable nylon dobby ripstop material and has the two lower zip-up pockets for keeping items safe from falling out, which is one of the features I like having on the Mirage. There are also pit zippers under both arms of the jacket, which is a feature that the Mirage shares with its male make counterpart, the Phantom; however, unlike the Phantom it is lacking the napoleon pocket on the left breast of the jacket and is void of any other pockets. There are not as many pockets as I would like to see on the Mirage.
The hood is mesh lined and detachable. It can be removed via a zipper that can be found running the length of the collar at the base of the hood itself. The buttons and zipper for attaching and detaching the hood are cleverly concealed so it does not subtract from the overall look of the Mirage, which is quite appealing as it stands.
The cuffs of the arms have internal neoprene cuffs to further prevent water or snow from getting through, therefor increasing its ability to remain waterproof and keep the wearer warm and dry. In addition to the neoprene inner cuffs and its elasticity which hugs the wrist, the cuffs are also adjustable via a velcro tab.
The zipper has a polyurethane interior storm flap that is 1.25 in/3.2 cm flap of fabric that runs the length of the zipper to prevent moisture and cold air from finding its way in through the zipper itself.
The inner lining of the Mirage is made up of nylon and polyester and has a detachable powder skirt which is at 9 in/23 cm from the bottom hem and has a elasticized gripper hem to prevent the skirt from riding up and to add to the jackets ability to keep snow out.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Warranty: The hangtag on the jacket states that all Red Ledge products are fully warranted to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship for a three years after the purchase date.
Washing Instructions: The hangtag states that the jacket should be zipped up before being washed. The jacket should be machine washed on cold using the gentle cycle and a mild detergent, no bleach. To dry the jacket the tag says to hang it out and not to wring out. It also states for the jacket not to be dry cleaned or ironed.
TRYING IT OUT
The first time I slid on the Mirage, it was a good fit. I wore it out in a rain storm just to test it's ability to keep me dry and I stood out in the rain for 30 minutes, long enough to get a proper soaking, and when I removed the jacket my torso was dry as a bone, and I wish I could say the same for my legs. It did get a little hot during that 30 minute wait out in the rain so I unzipped the armpits to allow myself to cool down a little and that did the trick. I had no other problems staying warm enough, yet cool enough and dry.
Removing the hood and powder skirt proved to be quite easy, as was reattaching them.
Overall the Red Ledge Mirage jacket is a nice fit, a beautiful powder blue in color, and it is easy enough to fold up and pack tight in a backpack. The materials seem to be high quality and easy to dry out once the shell gets wet. I feel that the jacket could do with another pocket, other than the two lower zip up pockets, perhaps an inside pocket or a breast pocket for things that I would regularly be fiddling with while wearing the jacket, such as an MP3 player, a cellular phone or even a bill fold; all things that I would prefer to keep separate from other things that might clutter up pockets because they are all things that get regular use. But other than the absence of another pocket the jacket feels good to wear, is lightweight, packable and appealing to the eye.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
At "The Top Of The Rockies" between Leadville, Colorado, and Aspen, Colorado, where you reach the top of the continental divide there was still patches of snow covering parts of the treeless landscape. The temperature was 42 F (6 C), but the windchill factor made it feel a lot colder. I had to dawn the Red Ledge Mirage jacket in order to walk the paved walks which lead from the parking area to the lookout point located 0.4 miles (0.64 km) beyond some snow covered rolling hills. At the edge of the lookout point I found it necessary to pull up the hood of the jacket because of the cold winds that were whipping by and causing my ears and cheeks to feel a little frosty.
|Top Of The Rockies|
At the Snowmass National Forest where I made camp below the Maroon Bells for 4 days and 3 nights the mountains air temperature never got higher than 62 F (17 C). This higher temperature was taken on the first day, on the trail, before making it to our campsite near Crater Lake. Once we had established out camp the rain clouds rolled in and brought temperatures down significantly. The thermometer key chain I carry with me gave me a reading of 45 F (7 C) at one point while it was raining. It rained off and on throughout the days and rained for the majority of every night that was spent at this campsite. Because of the rain there was no dry tinder or fuel of any kind to have a campfire so the Red Ledge Mirage jacket was worn for a good deal of time during the days. At night I wore the jacket in my sleeping bag to help ward of the chilly temperatures inside my tent and get some rest.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
When the jacket was used at "The Top Of The Rockies" on the Continental Divide in Colorado, I was kept comfortable while my two companions struggled with keeping warm in their pull overs. The hood worked well to protect my ears from the cold wind that blew at the overlook. The only area on my body that suffered from the feeling of being cold were my legs.
During its use on the camping trip to Snowmass National Forest it proved waterproof. I never experienced any dampness, even after being subjected to a constant downpour which lasted 20 minutes before being reduced to a steady rain. Not only did the Red Ledge Mirage jacket keep me dry in the very wet conditions I was surrounded by, it also kept me warm. I was never chilled while wearing the jacket around my camp or on the hikes around Crater Lake and the surrounding areas. As for my use of the jacket during the nights in my sleeping bag, it was instrumental in keeping me warm enough to get some sleep. I never woke up cold thanks to wearing the jacket.
The Red Ledge Mirage jacket did have a button come off before it even got to be put to use, which as a little disappointing, but it shouldn't really affect it's ability to be functional as a jacket.
I found that it was easy to fold up and pack in a backpack without taking up a great deal of space. It actually folded up smaller than the jacket that I normally take along with me on backcountry trips, which I was more than a little pleased with. It also weighs less than my usual jacket so it made for a reduction in total weight in my pack and on my back.
The jacket was lightweight and wasn't bulky to wear. It is a slim fit to the body and doesn't really feel like I was wearing a jacket at all when I had it on. This was something of a surprise to me; a pleasant surprise.
Keeping me warm and protected from the chill of colder temperatures and biting winds was not a problem at all for this jacket. I never experienced feeling cold at all while I wore the jacket.
The Red Ledge Mirage jacket kept me dry even when being pummeled by driving rains in the high country. My core was always warm and dry and the hood kept my head protected as well.
Besides the button coming off, I the jacket is proving to be a very capable piece of gear in how it performs and in how it applies to the backpacker lifestyle.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Aside from the few occasions on which there was a neccessary use of the jacket during the summer, such as while walking around at the Top of the Rockies near Aspen, Colorado, and during the cold, rainy nights in Snowmass National Park, there came a need to wear a jacket last summer quickly gave way to fall. The Red Ledge Mirage came into use on several cold nights nearing the end of September and into October, the coldest being 37 F (3 C), the warmest being 42 F (6 C). Every night on which the jacket was worn was a clear, starry, night. There was one night when the wind blew up to 8 mph (13 kpmh) but the windchill factor is unknown. All the nights were in the high plains of Southeastern Colorado.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Every night in September and in October when I wore the Red Ledge Mirage I didn't find there to be a need to put on an extra sweater underneath it to keep warm. Even when the wind blew and the air whipped around me out on the plains of Southeastern Colorado the jacket was enough to keep me warm and I was thankful for the hood which sheilded my face from the icy wind. I didn't find myself feeling too cold or uncomfortable while I wore the jacket during any of these occassions.
Overall I feel that the jacket is comfortable to wear, it sheds moisture, reflects the cold weather and keeps in body heat. I like the color and the removable powder skirt but I personally require at least one more pocket in any jacket, preferably a breast pocket or napoleon pocket like the Phantom has, if not an inside pocket too. Two pockets isn't enough. Also, the buttons and zippers worry me. If a button will break when I am simply exploring the jackets features what else will break while I am out on the trail or coming down the snowy slopes?
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
This jacket only has two negative aspects while the rest are all positive. I personally just couldn't justify purchasing the Mirage solely because of the lack of pockets.
Read more gear reviews by Erin Marie Hedden