Dickies Waterproof Breathable Reflective Jacket
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - October 27, 2017
FIELD REPORT - January 30, 2018
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co.
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: dickies.com
MSRP: US$89.99 - $94.99
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 26 oz (738 g)
Sizes Available: Medium through Triple Extra Large
Size Tested: Medium
Colors Available: Light Gray or Dark Gray (Print Reflective Crosshatch)
Color Tested: Dark Gray
Materials: 100% Polyester reflective print 10k/10k lamination
Features from company website and hang tag:
Waterproof and Breathable
8k/8k lamination and DWR finish
Drop tail with drawcord hem
Zippered hand pockets and chest pocket
Front interior storm flap
Zipper garage and chin guard
Interior pocket with media port
Reflective Print, enhanced visibility in low light
Contoured adjustable hood
Adjustable hook & loop cuffs
The jacket arrived inside a plastic shipping bag. Attached to the jacket were two hang tags and a sticker. One tag had item coding and size. The other listed several of the main features and some company information. The sticker was the most interesting one. It said "use flash, take my picture, reflective print". I made mental note of it and went about looking over the jacket.
The jacket has an unique dark gray with lighter gray herringbone pattern. The exterior is smooth and makes a noticeable "crinkly" sound when touched. The two hand pockets, single chest pocket and main body zippers are robust and waterproof with good size pulls and two piece rubber tassels bearing the Dickies company name. The hood has a draw cord closure as does the bottom hem. I found the push lock style one at the hem easier to use. The two-hole adjustable style cord lock on the hood takes more movements and time to secure. The hand and chest pockets feel to be roughly the same size. All easily accommodate my hands, 4.5 x 4 in (11.4 x 10.2 cm) trail map or a Clif Bar. There is also an interior left chest pocket with a small square Velcro closure. This is the media pocket and has a small hole to allow a cord to pass for ear buds. All the pockets are lined with a soft mesh material. This mesh material is also found on the interior body of the jacket. On the back of the jacket at about shoulder level is a 9 in (23 cm) opening. The opening acts as a vent and is lined with the same mesh found elsewhere. The cuffs are adjustable using a Velcro strap.
All materials and construction appear to be of very good quality. All zippers, drawcords and closures move freely and function appropriately. I find no loose treads, stitches or defects in materials. All in all this looks like a stylish, sturdy wet weather jacket.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Garment care - machine wash cold with like colors, do no bleach, tumble dry low and do not iron.
TRYING IT OUT
So after moving zippers, pull cords and ripping Velcro I put the jacket on. The first thing I notice is the "crinkle", the jacket makes lots of rustling noise. Next sensory input, the fabric feels smooth against my skin. The cuff openings are very generous and provide some air flow. The Velcro closure does allow for a tight fit if needed. When my arms are at my side the cuff touches my hand. However when raising my arms, my wrist become exposed. This is even more pronounced when flexing my arms at the elbow. The jacket fits nicely but the sleeves do not seem to move with me. The hem length of the jacket works better, fully covering the seat of my pants. When the zipper is completely closed it stops right at my chin. The zipper garage is sizable completely concealing the zipper so that I don't even feel it on my chin. The hood covers my head side to side but there is a lot of space above my head. Drawing the hood tight reduces this but causes my face to become exposed. The hood lacks a brim and when cinch doesn't project forward to cover my face. I fear I might be stuck between wet face or windblown hood when hiking in the rain.
Now after looking over and picking through the jacket I revisited my earlier mental note. My first thought of reflective print was of a flashlight or car headlights shining on the jacket. I went into a dark room and shined a flashlight on the jacket. I didn't notice anything at all. So thinking of the "take my picture" line I did just that. And whoa a whole different jacket appeared! The effect in the photo is quite neat. I hope this reflective print might also work as a safety feature in the field. I find being visible at night in the rain no easy task.
The Dickies Waterproof/Breathable jacket is well made and stylish with comfort in the rain in mind. It has a good balance of features to utility. I have two concerns going into this test, as with all rain wear degree of waterproofing. And in particular with this jacket the hood, will it stay in place and keep my head dry. I am watching the forecast to find that perfect hiking weather in the rain. Then the Dickies jacket will get its chance to settle my concerns.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
All use of the Dickies jacket in this phase of testing were during day hikes.
Burnt Mountain Trail at Boston Lot Lake, New Hampshire
Elevation - 600 ft (180 m) to 1000 ft (300 m)
Pack weight - 15 lbs (7 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 5 mi (8 km) at 45 F (7 C), with a steady light rain.
Moose Mountain - Hanover, New Hampshire
Elevation - 1350 to 2300 ft (410 to 700 m)
Pack weight - 15 lbs (7 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4.1 mi (6.6 km) at 40 F (4 C) and raining, heavy at times
Mt. Hancock Loop - Lincoln, New Hampshire
Elevation - 2200 to 4420 ft (670 to 1347 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (14 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 9.8 mi (15.8 km) at 10 F (-12C) and very windy higher up
Greeley Pond - Lincoln, New Hampshire
Elevation - 1940 to 2245 (591 to 684 m)
Pack Weight - 20 lb (9 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4.5 mi (7.2 km) at 20 F (-7 C) with 10 in (25 cm) of fresh snow and falling heavily
Storrs Pond - Hanover, New Hampshire,
Elevation - 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4 mi (6.4 km) at 0 F (-18 C) with 6 in (15 cm) of fresh, powdery snow
Girl Brook - Hanover, New Hampshire
Elevation - 530 to 390 ft (162 to 120 m)
Pack weight - 10 lbs (4.5 kg).
Distance and Conditions - 6 mi (9.5 km) at -10 F (-23 C) clear and calm under a full moon with 18 in (45 cm) of old snow
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have hiked with the Dickies jacket in fall rain as well as winter wind and snow. This jacket does several things very well. It is very waterproof and does an excellent job shedding rain and snow. On all hikes with rain or snow any moisture from the weather never made it through the jacket. On the warmer and even the colder hikes when moving fast I found the jacket material very breathable. The two warmer hikes I wore a thin wool T-shirt under a midweight long sleeve wool shirt under the jacket. I quickly shed the long sleeve and was comfortable when on the move. It also provides very good protection from the wind. Even when it is cold I did not feel the wind penetrating anywhere the jacket covered. In cold temperatures the Dickies jacket works well over a down vest or "medium" weight down jacket. However around temperatures of 0 F (-18 C) I needed a heavier, puffy down jacket. The Dickies jacket does not fit over this layer. So I would hike without the Dickies jacket until I warmed enough to remove the heavy down layer. I then put the Dickies jacket on to retain my heat, vent any moisture and block any wind. Cycling between jacket on and off brings me to zippers which are easy to grasp and pull when wet or with gloves on. A minor feature I know but a rain/wind jacket that doesn't zip can let quite some rain in. Thinking of zippers I really like the chest pocket. Its size and location make it ideal for stashing a map and/or small camera. Even with my pack on I can quickly get to and put away these items.
Moving on to other zippers however I transition to things this jacket does not do very well. I find the side pockets inaccessible when wearing a pack with a hipbelt. Wearing a pack without a hipbelt the pockets are accessible but the openings are undersized. I have minor difficulties getting my hands into the pockets. I also find the sleeves too short. The cuff lands at my wrist and hand nicely when my arms are by my sides. However when hiking with poles with arms extended the sleeves ride up and expose my wrist. This leads to water creeping in around my wrist and my hands be more exposed. In the colder temperatures this caused a break between my glove and insulating layer allowing cold air in. Sometimes the insulating layer would stay in place "puffing out" when the Dickies jacket sleeve moved up. Thinking of keeping things in and out the hood proved to be too short. The front of the hood does not overhang enough to keep rain off my face. I could keep the rain from getting inside the jacket by tightening the hood closure. However rain would then drip off the front lip of the hood and onto my face. While the jacket does breathe well the vent on the back of jacket is made ineffective when wearing a pack. I would like to see the vent location underarm for backpacking use.
Thus far the Dickies jacket has been a useful component in my outdoor layering system. There are a couple of shortcomings the sleeves being the most noticeable and problematic. That said as a rain and wind jacket it still does quite well. I think pushing this jacket into winter use might be asking too much. Not that I want winter to end but I hope to experience the Dickies jacket in warm temperature again during the next stage of testing.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
This brings my Field Report to an end. Testing in field conditions will take place for two more months. Please return then for the Long-Term Report. Thank you to Williamson-Dickie and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to participate in this test series.
Read more gear reviews by Michael Pearl