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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > DickiesWaterproof Breathable Jacket > Test Report by Coy Ray StarnesDickies Waterproof Breathable Reflective Jacket
Review by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: October 23, 2017
Field Report: February 1, 2018
Long Term Report: March 27, 2018
front view of the jacket
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy backpacking, hunting, fishing and kayaking. I enjoy hiking with family and friends but also hike solo occasionally. Most of my hiking has been in the Southeastern US. I hike throughout the year but actually enjoy late fall or early spring the most with some winter hiking mixed in. I don't like the hot and humid weather of summer unless I can escape to the mountains where it is cooler. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability to a degree. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food and water.
Initial Report: October 23, 2017
The Dickies Waterproof Breathable Reflective Jacket is new for 2017. I’ll refer to it as the rain jacket or simple jacket throughout the report. It is listed as item # SJ707. The hang-tag on mine adds PRH which indicates Print Reflective Herringbone. The rain jacket features hand pockets just above the waistline, both close with waterproof zippers. They are approximately 7 in (18 cm) tall and 7 in (18 cm) wide, plenty big for my hands or a place to keep small items dry. There is an inside and outside chest pocket on the left side of the jacket. Both open on the side next to the main zipper of the jacket instead of a top opening. The outer chest pocket has a waterproof zipper. The inside one is basically under it and closes with a small hook and loop patch in the center. It has a small hole near the top, I suspect to feed earphones through. Both these pockets are approximately 9 in (23 cm) wide and 7 in (18 cm) high.
The jacket is supposed to be breathable but the hang-tags and website do not say what technology is used to achieve this. All I saw was that the material is 5.6 oz 100% polyester reflective print 10K/10K lamination. There is a vent strip across the back but no pit zips. The jacket also has a 100% polyester mesh liner. The liner does not extend into the sleeves but there is a smooth cloth liner inside the sleeves. The sleeves are slightly tapered but the end is plenty big for a gloved hand to pass through. It can be cinched down with hook and loop cuff adjustments. The hood is average size and can be tightened with a stretchy cord and cord locks (one on each side). The hood is said to be contoured, all I can say is it appears to offer plenty of rain protection. The waist also has a stretchy cord and cord lock fasteners to aid in tightening it down.
Perhaps the most sticking feature of the jacket it the reflective nature of the material. A sticker on the jacket said “USE FLASH - TAKE MY PICTURE - REFLECTIVE PRINT”. I patiently waited for it to get dark and stepped out on my back deck for this photo. Since I will use the jacket while bike riding I’m hoping the jacket is as visible in the day time, but honestly, it don’t think it is. Oh well, it should be good if I ever get caught out after dark. As I was taking the photo I forgot to set the timer so I’m including the first one which shows a good view of the Herringbone pattern. My daughter commented that it looks creepy.
the incredible invisible man
closeup of the reflective pattern
The care instructions are printed on a tag inside the jacket. They are: machine wash cold with like colors, do not bleach, tumble dry low, do not iron. I took a photo of the care instructions and decided it shows the mesh liner well enough to share.
care instruction on hang tag
The jacket appears to be very well constructed. With the addition of a mesh liner it is also a little on the heavy side for a backpacking rain jacket, but certainly not out of bounds weight wise. The material feels slick on the outside and is a little noisy but the liner feels nice.
Trying it on
I thought I was a 44 in (112 cm) chest but I remeasured and I’m just a few hairs over 45 in (114 cm). Anyways, I fall in between the Large and XL range on the websites size guide. It shows large as 42-44 in (107-112 cm) and Xl as 46-48 in (117-122 cm) but says to go up to the next size if you fall between sizes. I selected an XL jacket. It fits me very well but is none too big. I prefer my rain jackets to be a little on the big side so I can layer in the winter and they feel cooler in the summer than a snug jacket. I put it on and it fits fine unless I reach overhead, at which point I begin to feel a little restriction. The jacket length is not very long on me but I am long waisted. It also felt rather warm inside the house with the thermostat set at 72° F (22 C). I wore it outside at 5:30 AM the next morning at 54° F (12 C) and it felt good in the chilly early morning air for the 30 minutes I was outside.
This concludes my Initial Report for the Dickies Waterproof Breathable Reflective Rain Jacket. Stay tuned for my Field Report which should be in approximately two months from now.
Field Report: February 1, 2018
day hiking at Little River Canyon
Test Locations and Conditions
I have used the Dickies Waterproof Breathable Reflective Rain Jacket as a rain jacket and to keep me warm when it was windy and cold. I carried it with me on a 10 day trip to Arizona during Thanksgiving but it was only chilly enough to need it a couple of mornings. Surprisingly, it did not rain... Back in Alabama I wore it on several day hikes for exercise (sometimes with a backpack loaded with my typical backpacking gear) and two overnight trips. My first overnighter was on December 4th. I hiked approximately 6 miles (10 km) total and the overnight low was 54 F (12 C), but it was one of those strange nights when it actually warmed up a little during the night. It also rained off on and on during the night but stopped raining long enough for me to hike home. My next overnight trip was Dec 12th. I hiked 4 miles (6 km) total and the overnight low was 46 F (8 C). On the day and overnight hikes I crossed creeks and small streams and went up and down several steep hills. After the overnight trip on Dec 12th we had some really cold weather and I wore it day hiking with my pack (rucking) on some really cold days. Notice the icicles and ice puddles in the photo below.
wearing the rain jacket on a cold exercise hike
Field Test Results
The jacket proved itself as a dependable rain jacket on several occasions. It kept my head and upper body dry when I wore it in everything from light sprinkles to pouring wind-driven rain. I only experienced some light sprinkles when wearing it backpacking. I wore it on some very cold days when I was carrying my backpack on long exercise hikes. It served as a windbreaker and was warmer than I would have expected for a non-insulated garment. As a matter of fact, I would say it was too warm after a couple of miles of hiking up and down hills. And lastly I used it in my hammock as a pillow on a couple of occasions. I normally use a softer fleece jacket but my latest hammock is a bridge hammock which leaves my head very flat so I went ahead and used the Dickies jacket with my fleece jacket around it. This combination, while not as comfortable as my home pillow, was about as comfortable as any jacket would be.
On one chilly morning my wife and I went to eat breakfast at a small diner in Grant. The temperature was around 45 F (7 C) and the forecast was for storms. As we were finishing our breakfast the storm blew in. On the way home we encountered a large tree branch across the road about a quarter of a mile (0.4 km) from the house. There was room to drive past it so I told my wife to let me out and go on home. She looked at me like, are you crazy, but I said “I’ve been needing to test this rain jacket in a hard rain”. Anyways, it only took me a minute or so to move the limbs (it broke into several pieces) and about 10 minutes to walk on home. It was pouring rain and pretty windy the whole time. By the time I got home my pants and shoes were soaking wet but my head and body remained dry. Perhaps even more importantly, my iPhone stayed dry in the inside pocket it was riding in, well except for when I got it out to take the following photos.
road clearing duty
water really beads off this jacket
During the month of January there were two extremely cold snaps when I found the jacket was just not warm enough for casual outside activities even when layered with a fleece jacket underneath. The coldest morning was 3 F (-16 C) but we had several morning when it was in the single digits and did not go above freezing during the day for several days. My dad's pond froze over enough to walk on and Guntersville Lake was frozen several feet out from the bank. Anyways, I chose to wear my heavier jacket over some insulated overalls when I knew I would be outside very long and not moving around a lot during these conditions.
Take away so far
The XL I’m testing is a great fit on me and I could wear it over two light layers when needed without it feeling tight or restricting. It did begin to feel a little tight when I had on a tee-shirt, flannel shirt and a fleece jacket but I preferred this rather than being cold. I did find the hood restricted my side vision a little but if I wore a ball cap it was not as bad. It also fit over the toboggan I wore under it several times without feeling too snug. The hood always did its job of keeping the rain off my face unless I was walking into a breeze while it was raining This jacket is a little heavier then I would prefer for backpacking but the extra bulk did seem to offer more warmth than my lighter rain jackets. It is also a good looking jacket which can be worn to town and other more social settings.
This concludes my Field Report for the Dickies Waterproof Breathable Reflective Rain Jacket. Stay tuned for my Long Term Report which should be in approximately two months from now.
Long Term Report: March 27, 2018
Long Term Test Locations and Conditions
I wore the jacket on a car camping trip on February 16. I did do about 4 miles (6 km) walking and a lot more standing around looking at the different hammocks, cooking or enjoying the campfire but due to a steady rain I didn’t get in a planned hike. The high was 45 F (7 C) and the low 37 F (3 C). I went on a short overnighter on February 20 during an unseasonably warm few days. The hike was 4 miles (6 km) total. The high was 77 F (25 C) and the overnight low was 61 F (16 C). It did not rain and was warm enough that I did not even need to wear the jacket during this trip. I had to cancel my last planned hike on due to severe weather. However, I have worn the jacket almost daily during the entire test period. One last note; I’ve been dealing with a sore left foot since around Thanksgiving which has affected my ability to get out as much as I would have liked and especially limited the length of my hikes. The good news is, about a week ago I went to a chiropractor and after a good adjustment to my hamstring my foot is feeling much better.
Long Term Test Results
I will focus most of my Long Term Report on my experiences during a car camping trip on February 16. I was attending a hammock hang (an event where hammock enthusiast gather to spend time looking at and discussing hammocks and the related camping gear) in central Tennessee. It was cold and damp the entire time and it also rained off and on during the event, more on than off. There were a couple of large tarps set up for cooking and socializing but it was crowded under them. More importantly, since I was testing a rain jacket I just hung out around the perimeter much of the time. And if the rain weren’t enough, I was under the drip edge much of the time. My upper body stayed completely dry while my pants were soaked.
We kept a nice fire going most of the time and I split a lot of wood while wearing the jacket. I wore the jacket while I tended the fire during the rainier times when others were either under the group shelter tarps or in their hammocks. The only shortcoming of the jacket was later that night when it was not raining for a couple of hours. We were all sitting around the fire but it was cold and windy enough that I started getting chilly in just the Dickies rain jacket. As I’ve mentioned previously, this jacket is too small to wear comfortable over thicker layers and my down jacket was no exception. I ended up swapping it for the down jacket and used the rain jacket as a sort of lap blanket. It worked pretty good for that considering my pants were damp. Another benefit of wearing the Dickies rain jacket during the rain was it kept my iPhone safe and dry.
The jacket has held up very well during the entire test period considering I wore it almost daily. It was great to have during rain but I wore it more just to stay warm on chilly mornings or anytime it was cold enough to need a light jacket. I did stain the arms and chest area a little toting firewood so I scrubbed it with a damp cloth at home and it is hard to tell it was ever dirty.
The Dickies Waterproof Breathable Reflectivity Rain Jacket is an excellent rain jacket. Any rain that gets on it literally beads up and rolls of. It is a fairly heavy and bulky jacket. I would put it in the category of gear that I like to call my beater gear. This is the gear I prefer to use during local trips that are not really long and I don’t mind carrying a little extra weight. This lets me save my lightweight and more delicate gear for longer hikes. It is also a very warm jacket. I normally like to wear a much lighter but slightly roomier rain jacket and pick my mid-layer depending on expected temperatures during a trip. However, I found that just this jacket over a normal long sleeve shirt I typically wear in the winter was plenty warm for most of my winter trips. I usually avoid overnight camping when it’s bitterly cold but wearing it over a thin wool base-layer and a mid-weight shirt was all I needed to stay warm in temperatures as cool as 40 F (4 C). On warmer days when it was above about 60 F (16 C) I found it a little warm when wearing it over just a single layer. On the positive side, the temperatures were within this ideal range a lot of the time during my testing. It worked OK in slightly cooler temperatures as long as I was moving. All in all it has been a solid performer and I expect to use it a lot in the future!
This concludes my review of the Dickies Waterproof Breathable Reflective Rain Jacket. I would like to thank Dickies and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
Read more gear reviews by Coy Ray Starnes
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