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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > DickiesWaterproof Breathable Jacket > Test Report by joe schaffer

Dickies Waterproof Breathable Jacket

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - November 1, 2017
FIELD REPORT - January 30, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - April 7, 2018
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 70
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79 kg)
CHEST: 40 in (102 cm)
WAIST: 34 in (86 cm)
SLEEVE: 30 in (76 cm)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: flash jacketWaterproof/Breathable Reflective Jacket

Manufacturer:  Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co
        Weight: NA
        Features: (from website & hang tag)
            •5.6 oz (159 g) polyester
            •10K/10K lamination
            •Reflective print
            •Water repellent
            •Seam sealed
            •Contoured hood
            •Media friendly components

             Print reflective crosshatch (light gray)
             Print reflective herringbone (dark gray)

       Sizes: M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL

My Specs:  Large
        Weight: 1 lb 12 1/2 oz (809 g)
        Dimensions: (approximate)
             Hood-to-hem: 43 in (109 cm)
             Hem circumference: 46 1/2 in (118 cm)
             Sleeve: 36 in (91 cm)
             Tail drop: 2 1/2 in (6 cm)

MSRP: $89.99 - 94.99 US

Received: October, 2017

My Description:
    HOOD: The hood is contoured for a closer fit and has an elastic drawstring that pulls from both sides, stabilized with friction locks. There is no "brim," but (dry, anyway) it reaches forward a couple inches (5 cm).
    POCKETS: Each side of the jacket has a large pocket secured by a  vertical waterproof zipper; a chest pocket on the left side secured by a vertical, 'hidden' waterproof zipper; and on the backside of that pocket an inside chest pocket with vertical opening secured by a patch of hook and loop.
    SLEEVES: Cuffs can be adjusted with hook and loop secured adjustment straps.
    HEM: The hem has an elastic cord with pulls on each side, secured by cord lock.
    LINING: Most of the jacket body is lined with black mesh. The mesh is far enough away from the zipper to avoid conflict. Pockets are mesh-lined. Hood and sleeves are lined with black taffeta.
    ZIPPERS: The three pocket zippers and main zipper are all of water-resistant design.
    VENTS: A large "shingle" vent in back spans the shoulder blades. This vent is permanently fixed. There are no pit vents.
    Pictures: These were taken in low light to activate the camera flash and the reflective nature of the material. The actual (non-reflected) color is somewhat darker.

   I like the textured look of the "clothy" material, and I'm thinking the gray should do a pretty good job of maintaining a reasonably neat appearance. It looks rather dressy for a work garment, but that's no problem for a fellow who does not work. The jacket feels industrial strength for the very worst of weather I'd ever expect to encounter. Comparatively speaking it is a little on the heavy side for a backpacking jacket (which is not the vendor's market position for this product), but I expect it to stay together better under the stress of a backpack. It feels "clunky" and does not fold up very small, no doubt due to the heavy coating of waterproofing laminate.
    I'm not a fan of "waterproof'" zippers, but these all seem to work smoothly enough. I don't like mesh lining, but I've already whined about weight and would more if it were heavier. I like the taffeta in the hood and sleeves and wish it were in the pockets as well. My fingers get chapped in the weather and then my hands snag on mesh lining like a scrub brush--hate that feeling!
    The pockets are of useful size and I'm glad the outer three all zip. I don't get the placement of the inner chest pocket directly behind the outer pocket. I'm wanting my camera in the outer pocket and my GPS in the inner pocket. I don't have to speculate to know what will happen when I take a header and smash those devices together. It also puts a lot of lopsided weight on me and I'm stumble-prone enough already.
    The fit is really good for me. I have the shoulder room I want, and yet the rest of the jacket feels appropriately trim. The hood feels like a proper fit sideways though perhaps a bit more space on top than I'd prefer. Vendor positions the garment for working men and thus it stands to reason the hood would be large enough to accommodate a hard hat. I like that it can be tightened. I often wear a broad-brim hat under a hood and without a drawstring the hat brim has a tendency to push the hood off, as well as to hold the hood open and let wind in. Sleeves are long for me, but they one-fold back to the perfect length and stay put. I like having margin to let them down in nasty weather to cover my hands. Neck zips up to my nose.
    Having worn the jacket in my mid-60 F (18 C) house for about four hours over a short sleeve cotton tee I can say I found the comfort level very high. I was warm enough, of course, but most notably did not feel moist or clammy.
    I'm looking forward to getting in some weather to see how this relatively very inexpensive jacket performs.


Field Conditions:

    2. Dec 13-18, 2017: Pinecrest, Stanislaus National Forest, California. 5 nights. 12 mi (19 km)/10 hrs backpacking, trail and XC; 6,000 ft (1,800 m) Lv wt 46 lb (20.9 kg) ret 39 lb (18.7 kg). 32-60 F (0-16 C), dry, sunny days, chilly evenings with no campfire three nights.
    3. Dec 29-Jan 2, 2018: Pinecrest, Stanislaus National Forest, California. 4 nights. 4 mi (6 km) trail; 6,000 ft (1,800 m) Leave wt 44 lb (20 kg) return 40 lb (18 kg). 32-60 F (0-16 C), dry, sunny days, chilly evenings; campfire.

    These two trips accounted eleven days of outings with the jacket. I wore it six evenings for a couple hours each of those nights, aggregating about 12 hours of wearing time. I never wore it backpacking or otherwise exerting; just lounging in camp. No precipitation occurred during those days or nights; I've yet to have opportunity for wet testing.

    The jacket works great as an effective wind barrier, while at the same time breathing well enough to avoid getting muggy.
     So far I'm finding the jacket very comfortable, but it likely wouldn't be my first choice for backpacking in the kinds of summer conditions thus far encountered. It is heavy and bulky; though to be fair the heavy weather shells I have that are appreciably lighter and smaller cost about four times as much. Likewise the fabric is a bit stiff compared to backpacking jackets I use, but it is comfortable to wear. It would be a top choice for car camping, but I haven't done any of that in the test cycle yet.
    It's a little hard for a pillow by itself, though except when I'm feeling unduly lazy I stick the jacket folded up under my mattress. It does stay in place well as a pillow. I don't much care for "waterproof" zippers. I can unzip with one hand, but usually takes both hands to zip. If I have to set down my hot chocolate (meaning night-time in the dark) to zip up, there's more than a probable chance I'll kick the mug. I get grumpy when I do that.
    I was solo on the trips, so there was no opportunity to test my visibility to other campers.hood

Field Conditions:
    Feb 7-9: Pt. Reyes National Sea Shore, California. 2 nights backpacking/14 mi (22.5 km)/7 hours. Hot days. Warm and dry night at 1,025 ft (310 m) Sky Camp; cold and dewy night at 50 ft (15 m) Coast Camp. No fire.
    Mar 24-27: Henness Ridge, West Yosemite, California. 3 nights. Snowshoe backpacking 1 mi (1.5 km) and hiking 2 mi (3 km). 6,000 ft (1,830 m). 25-50 F (-4 to 10 C). Slight snow to clear. No fire.

    Evening got sopping damp and chilly at Coast Camp. The jacket proved up to the task of cutting the chill and blocking the wet. It made the difference between being too cold to sit outside vs. able to lounge a while comfortably under the stars. My camp mate amused herself shining her headlamp on me. "You look like a million guy-outs."
    Henness Ridge was almost a car camp. The forecast promised treacherous weather and I wanted to be able to duck in and out as quickly as might be prudent for the dainty-at-heart. I snowshoed up a couple hundred feet (60 m) in a half-mile (0.8 km) toting 50 lb (23 kg) in 38 F (3 C) with intermittent powder showers,
wearing only a heavy base layer underneath. I liked having the long sleeves that stayed extended over my wrists and without having to cinch them. When I got to a suitable tent site I spent an hour or so in light powder showers setting camp and trenching the tent for the onslaught that did not develop. I wasn't in the backpack long enough to get wet, and the jacket breathed so well I was quite comfortable through all my shovel work until nearly dark. I evidently spent too much relaxation time admiring all that handiwork as I did get suddenly rather chilled. There was never any rain, and the snow was dry powder; the jacket had little chance to get wet. What paucity of snow might have built up on the jacket evidently shed before it could melt. The jacket shook completely dry and clean of snow when I went in the tent for the night. I even slept in the jacket nearly to daybreak, when I got too warm and had to take it off.
    On my second day I went for a hike of about two miles (3 km) with only a light base layer under the jacket in temps of about 45 F (7 C). The jacket had enough pockets for my camera, two-way radio, GPS and snack bars; so I didn't need a pack for the short hike. As I shoed back uphill toward the end of the hike I caught myself vainly fishing for pit zips. There was enough chill facing me in the light breeze that I didn't want to open the front of the jacket. I wasn't muggy yet and near home, so I soldiered on.
    As a backpacker it is hard to look past the industrial weight and bulk. The fabric's rather stiff, which perhaps is why it seems to do a marvelous job of resisting wrinkles; and suggests it should last longer than the wimpy two-layer jobs that weigh nothing and pack in a thimble. It's a little noisy and feels slightly rough on the cheek. It's warm for a shell and breathes well for great comfort. I think it fair to rationalize some of the weight and bulk as built-in warmth layer. It is easily the warmest shell I have.
    So, were a person holding this jacket in one hand and a $400 snob jacket in the other, asking which is best for a weekend trip a mile (1.5 k) from the car, I'd have to be on commission and short on rent to point away from the Dickies. There is also the cinder god issue, where snob jackets force them to retain their status in the netherworld with an orgasmic frenzy of sparks, where the Dickies may not seem a high-enough value target to rouse them from their slumber. Of course if I'm gearing up for this lifetime's last try for Shasta where every ounce (28 g) is another reason to fall short, why leave all that extra money for the survivors to fight over?

SUMMATION: Nice looking, well-made jacket for heavy weather; not a first choice for long-range backpacking.

Quick shots:
    a) good fit
    b) works great
    c) bulky
Thank you Williamson-Dickie and for the opportunity to test this product. This concludes my report.

Read more reviews of Williamson-Dickie gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > DickiesWaterproof Breathable Jacket > Test Report by joe schaffer

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