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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Sherpa Adventure Vajra Jacket > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

Sherpa Adventure Gear_logo

Vajra Jacket

Test Series by
Ryan Christensen

Last Update - October 4, 2011

red blue chive black
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images courtesy of sherpaadventuregear.com
and Sherpa's Spring / Summer 2011 catalog

ACCESS MAIN REPORT SECTIONS VIA THESE LINKS:

INITIAL REPORT
May 23, 2011
FIELD REPORT
August 2, 2011
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 4, 2011

INITIAL REPORT
May 23, 2011

Reviewer Information Backpacking Background
Name:  Ryan L. Christensen
Age:  46
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 Sherpa Adventure Gear's website and product tags.

Men's Vajra Jacket
Manufacturer: Sherpa Adventure Gear
Manufacturer website: http://www.sherpaadventuregear.com
Place of Manufacture: Nepal
Year Manufactured: assume 2011
Materials: Outer Shell: 100% ripstop polyester with DWR
Insulation: PrimaLoft One (60 gsm)
Inner Lining: 100% ripstop polyester
Binding: Lycra
Sizes Available: Men's S - XXL
Colors Available: Lama Red
Rara Blue
Chive
Black
Warranty:

"Sherpa Adventure Gear takes great pride in the quality of its products. Our goal is to make superior gear that honors the legendary Sherpas who have built their reputation on being the toughest high-altitude climbers in the world. We have used their experience and input to make products that are truly outstanding.

Our products are fully warranted against defects in materials and workmanship. If for any reason a product should fail in its function due to a manufacturing defect, we will repair or replace the product at our discretion. Damages caused by accident, negligence, normal wear and tear or the natural deterioration of colors and materials over an extended period are not covered by this warranty. If the original owner wishes to have his product repaired for damages not covered by the warranty, we will do so for a reasonable fee if such repair is possible. Shipping costs will be charged. Our warranty only extends to the original owner of the product."

MSRP: N/A

Product Specifications
Manufacturer's Specifications  
Weight: Men's Large: 14.3 oz (405.4 g)
Sleeve Length: Men's XXL: 37 - 38 in (94 - 96.5 cm)
[from center of back to wrist]
Tester's Actual Measurements  
Weight: Men's XXL: 13.6 oz (385.6 g)
Sleeve Length: Men's XXL: 37 in (94 cm)
[from center of back to wrist]
Body Length: Men's XXL: 30 in (76 cm)
[bottom of collar to hem, just above binding]

Vajra_Red

Product Description:

The Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra jacket (hereafter called "Vajra" or "jacket") is a lightweight, water resistant, hoodless, insulative jacket. The jacket has a 100% ripstop polyester outer shell with DWR treatment. The lining is PrimaLoft One, which is also a polyester material. The insulation is 60 gsm or 60 grams per square meter. The inner lining is also 100% ripstop polyester.

The jacket has two zippered hand-warmer pockets; one on each side. Each pocket has a zipper approximately 7.0 in (17.8 cm) in length. The pockets are 9.75 in (24.8 cm) deep. Additionally, there is a zippered Napoleon pocket on the left breast. The Napoleon pocket zipper is approximately 6.5 in (16.5 cm) in length. The pocket itself is 7.25 in (18.4 cm) deep.

The four zippers: the main full-length, two hand-warmer pockets, and the Napoleon pocket, appear to be YKK CONCEAL coil zippers. Each slider has a pull; the main zipper pull being the largest of the three.

The Vajra has a standing collar that extends approximately 2.5 in (6.4 cm). The jacket's full-length zipper extends to the top of the collar. There is not a zipper garage at the top.

"SHERPA" is embroidered in white over the left breast.

Vajra_Inside There is gray Lycra binding around the top of the collar, around each cuff, and around the hem. This binding is stretchable.

Inside the jacket, there are two large mesh pockets: one on either side. Each pocket measures 13 in (33 cm) wide and 11 in (27.9 cm) deep. There are two tags sewn in the seam near the left mesh pocket. One tag says "PrimaLoft One" on both sides. The other tag lists the materials on the front side and care instructions on the back. The care instructions are:

  • Hand Wash Cold [initial water temperature should not exceed 30 C or 65-85 F]
  • Hang Dry In Shade
  • Do Not Bleach
  • Do Not Iron
  • Dry Clean (Petroleum)
  • No Wringing

In addition, there are two tags and a hang loop sewn at the back of the jacket at the base of the collar. One tag says "Made In Nepal" and has the size. The other tag, sewn atop of the hang loop, has the Sherpa logo and says "Sherpa Adventure Gear" on the front and "Because Life is an Adventure!" on the backside.

Initial Impression:

The jacket felt very lightweight. Both the outer and inner lining material is slick to the touch. Upon initially feeling the material, I questioned whether it would withstand much wear and tear. Testing should provide me with more information on that.

As one might guess, such a lightweight jacket by nature is very thin. It will be interesting to see whether the Vajra lives up the manufacturer's claim that this jacket "will deflect wind and cold even in wet conditions."

Overall, I am initially pleased with this no-frills lightweight jacket.

Initial Testing:

After removing the jacket from its packaging, I inspected it for noticeable flaws. I found all seams to be tight and straight and no fraying or snags in the lining material. The zippers all worked smoothly.

I donned the jacket to check fit and the Vajra fit me nicely. The sleeves were sufficient in length. The torso girth was appropriate; not too little and not too much. And, when fully zipped, the collar fit nicely too.

Initial Pros:

Initial Potential Cons:

  • stylish look
  • lightweight
  • a zipper garage atop the main zipper would be nice

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FIELD REPORT
August 2, 2011

Summary:

During this phase of the test series, I wore the jacket approximately 11 days. Thus far, the Vajra has performed very well.

Likes Thus Far Dislikes Thus Far
  • stylish look
  • lightweight
  • warmth
  • moisture repellency
  • none at this time

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

Idaho Falls, located in southeastern Idaho, is approximately 4,500 ft (1,372 m) above sea level. Temperatures on the nights worn were in the mid 30s to low 40s F (1.7 - 8.3 C). Winds were generally mild.

Island Park Scout Camp (IPSC), located between Ashton, Idaho and West Yellowstone, Montana, is approximately 6,500 ft (1,981 m) above sea level. During the nine days I spent at IPSC, the high temperature was 57 F (14 C) and the low was 32 F (0 C). It rained three consecutive days, and on Monday June 13, we received nearly 0.5 in (1.3 cm) of rain in a very short, but heavy downpour.

Observations:

Although temperatures during this phase of the test were generally quite warm, I did have opportunity to wear the Vajra several days. I must say, the jacket performed great. Early in this test phase, I wore the jacket on late-night walks in my neighborhood. It was light enough to not be too warm, but provided an excellent barrier against the cool of the night. The Vajra got a real test in mid-June at Island Park Scout Camp. At IPSC, the days were long, 18+ hours, and I walked most of the 103 acre (0.42 km2) camp; several times over. Because the early mornings and evenings/nights were cool, I wore the Vajra every day. In addition to the cool temps, we had three consecutive days of rain.

Worn by itself, the Vajra provided adequate warmth while walking camp and while relatively inactive during program camp fires. It was also great during the light to moderate rains; it repelled water very well, the stand-up collar kept my neck dry, and the synthetic insulation kept me plenty warm. During the heaviest downpours, I donned a hooded hard-shell over the jacket. This combination got quite a workout as it was my go-to system during the heaviest rains. The lightweight Vajra provided plenty of insulation by itself and when combined with an outer shell. Based on its performance against the lighter rains, it may have been sufficient by itself during the heavy downpours. Had I had a better hat to protect my poor bald head, I would have given it a go. As a result of wearing it alone and in combination with a hardshell, I am very pleased with the Vajra. I see this lightweight insulative layer getting lots of work in the future by itself, and combined with a hardshell or even a heavier insulative jacket on cold, wet days and nights.

The jacket fits me nicely around the neck and through the shoulders and torso. The sleeves are long enough for my arms and the tail extends enough to help keep my big behind warm and dry. The jacket does not bind in the shoulders/pits. There are no loose threads, runs in the polyester shell, and the zippers work smoothly. Thus far, this has been a great jacket.

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LONG TERM REPORT
October 4, 2011

Summary:

During this phase of the test, I wore the jacket another 6 days for a total of 17. It performed very well and I am quite please with the Vajra. It will be a staple of mine for many years to come.

Likes Thus Far Dislikes Thus Far
  • stylish look
  • lightweight
  • warmth
  • compressibility
  • moisture repellency
  • none

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

Not having been cleared by my surgeon to resume backpacking, I was left to complete this test series via day hiking. I took the jacket on my September 16th hike which was about 5 miles (8 km) in Kelly Canyon, which is located 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, in the Targhee National Forest. The area known as the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area starts at an elevation of approximately 5,900 ft (1,798 m) and reaches elevations of 6,700 ft (2,042 m). The sky was cloudy, the temperature was in the 50s F (10 - 15 C), and it rained.

The temperature has fallen the past couple of weeks so I have been able to wear the jacket approximately 5 additional times. In the mornings, when I went to work, the temperature was in the mid 30s to mid 40s F (1.67 - 7.2 C) and the skies were partially to completely overcast. Along with the falling temperature, the weatherman is saying there is a good chance for snow in our area for elevations above 8,000 ft (2,438 m) this week. So there will be many more opportunities to wear this great jacket.

Observations:

The Vajra still looks new. The jacket has been laundered a couple of times and there are no fraying threads, runs in the material, or problems with the zippers. The jacket continues to provide a great lightweight insulation with water repellency. I have to say, I am quite impressed thus far with the PrimaLoft One filling in the Vajra. Although I have not worn it in what I would call cold temperatures, the Vajra has provided great warmth on the cool days and nights I have worn it. Moreover, the jacket seems to breathe fairly well. This is a big plus during highly aerobic activities such as biking, cross-country skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing. In addition, with the bulk of it being the PrimaLoft One, the jacket compresses very nicely (see photo below left). Better in fact than my medium weight fleece jacket. And, the Vajra is lighter in weight than my medium weight fleece jacket. As much as I love my fleece jacket, the Vajra may replace it as my lightweight insulation.

Vajra_Compressed Vajra_uncompressed

Although not fully compressed, one gets a good sense of the Vajra's compressibility from the photo above left. In that photo, the jacket is in a stuff sack next to a 1L water bottle. The jacket can be compressed to about half of the size shown in the photo.

When the jacket is pulled from such a stuff sack, the nylon shell is quite wrinkled. However, within seconds the wrinkles are virtually gone as illustrated in the photo above right. Therefore, I don't have to worry about folks making fun of the guy in the wrinkled jacket.

From my testing, I believe the Sherpa Vajra to be a well thought out alternative to fleece. It can be worn alone through three seasons and as medium insulative layer in ones layering system for colder temperatures. This jacket will be a staple item for me for years to come.

This concludes my Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra jacket test series. Thanks to
Sherpa Adventure Gear and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test this great jacket.

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