REI TELUS MEN'S RAIN JACKET
TEST SERIES BY JOHN R. WATERS
INITIAL REPORT - February 23, 2014
FIELD REPORT - May 13, 2014
LONG TERM REPORT - June 26, 2014
John R. Waters
jrw at backpackgeartest dot org
Canon City, Colorado USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
175 lb (79.40 kg)
My backpacking began in 1999. I have hiked rainforests in Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico, glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland, 14ers in Colorado and Death Valley's deserts.
I hike or snowshoe 6-8 miles (10 km-13 km) 2-3 times weekly in the Cooper Mountain range, with other day-long hikes on various other southwest and central Colorado trails. I frequently hike the mountains and deserts of Utah and Arizona as well.
My daypack is 18 lb (8 kg); overnights' weigh over 25 lb (11 kg). I'm aiming to reduce my weight load by 40% or more.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|: Recreational Equipment, Inc|
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.rei.com
MSRP: US $249.00
Listed Average Weight: 1 lb 7 oz (0.65 kg) -
Measured Weight: 1 lb 6 oz (0.62 kg)
Available Colors: Black/Black, Cast Iron/Squash & Sky Dive/Shale
Tested Color: Black/Black
Available Sizes: Small to XXL
Tested Size: Large
Other details: From Manufacturer's Website
* Shell Fabric: Polyester
* Shell Lining Fabric: Nylon tricot
* Waterproofing: eVent waterproof breathable membrane
|Picture Courtesy REI|
According to the website, the REI eVent Telus shell is designed to keep its wearer dry and protected from the elements. eVent is a product of General Electric Company, of which GE says "with its waterproof, air permeable technology, eVent fabric is trusted in the most intense weather conditions on the planet." So I am hoping it will be really great for backpacking.
The jacket I received from REI is black with a light gray interior. Almost all the exposed seams appear to be heat sealed or very tightly woven and overlapped. I don't see any visible seam exposure where moisture can enter the shell.
I requested a large men's because I wear a size 42 (107 cm) jacket and have a 36 inch (91 cm) waist. Most large shells fit just fine. This jacket has quite long sleeves for me. I'm 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) tall and from my neck to my wrist, My arms are only 28 inches (71 cm) and the sleeves on the jacket are 33 inches (83 cm) long. So, the sleeves extend down to cover most of my hand, which is good, because in heavy rain or snow the sleeves can add extra protection.
I do find the jacket tight fitting around my waist. Much tighter than my other large-sized shells. But it does look nice and it has a more tapered fitting. I've already worn it over three layers, but time will tell if I am still comfortable as I get more out into the field where I have to move around a lot more.
The eVent hood is integrated into the shell. I am not a big fan of non-detachable hoods that don't roll up and don't have, at least, a quick release clip or snap. It can be very uncomfortable to put a hood over my head and dump snow down my neck. However, I was able to figure out that I can roll the hood inside and fold it so it is not exposed. I'll have pictures of this in the next report.
On the left breast there is a sealed zipped pocket (see photo) that is larger than my whole hand wide open and has an interior hole to port a earpiece inside the shell up to my ear (see photo). I'll see how that goes.
Below that pocket on the left side is another vertically zipped hand pocket that has a mesh screen interior fabric. The mesh pockets allow more venting if the pocket is open.
Under the left and right arms are 13 inch (33 cm) pit zips that very nicely zip from either top or bottom and have a mesh backing.
On the right side there is an interior breast pocket with a vertical zip that is mesh. So it is waterproof on the outside and not even visible from the front but accessible from the inside. I'm thinking that this may be where I can keep my cell phone.
There is a right side hand pocket that mirrors the left side pocket. All pockets come with glove-grabbable nylon extenders on the zippers.
The entire bottom has a wrap around bungie cinching cord with a left and right adjustble squeeze tab to hold the adjustment in place.
The hood has a cinching cord around its face side with squeeze tabs on left and right to hold the adjustment in place. There is also a hood bungie at the back about half way up the hood to pull the hood tighter to my head and it also has a squeeze tab to hold that adjustment in place.
Each sleeve cuff has hook and loop cinching straps to tighten the end of the sleeve around my wrist and I need that because the sleeves are too long for me.
This appears to be a very well-designed product with thoughtful finishing touches. I look forward to putting it through some winter weather here in Colorado and hopefully some major rain in the spring. I have already worn it with the three layers in 5 F (-15 C) snowy weather here and the snow and wet freezing drizzle just rolled right off. We don't get a lot of real wet snow here, but so far it was a pleasure to wear. More later in the field report that will cover the next eight weeks.
Oh and did I mention that it looked great on me?
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Since a picture is worth a thousand words..
I'm very excited about trying out this REI Telus Rain Jacket. It appears to be a quality product and very functional.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've been wearing the REI jacket for 8 weeks now as much as I can in the baddest weather I could come across. This shell can handle much more than I was able to toss at it. For example, I didn't climb Mt. Hood or climb Mt. McKinley or Mt. Everest, but I did wear the jacket in blinding snow squalls and torrential rain here in Colorado. I also wore the jacket in Florida (humidity ...UGH) and in Massachusetts, and wore it as a travel jacket during my trips.
While many of my wearings were casual in urban or suburban settings, I did get in several day hikes in the mountains around Canon City, two beach hikes in Florida, and one all day beach/sand dune hike in the Provincetown area (Massachusetts). Elevation was as low as sea level to approximately 5000 ft (1500 m). Temperatures ranged from a low around freezing to a very sticky 90 F (32 C).
|Misty Day in Provincetown, MA|
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Well, the most important thing first. I never got wet under the jacket. I stayed dry and warm at all times. So, the main reason I would buy a shell like this is well proven during my trial.
There were days we were hiking in the mountains here in Colorado at over 6000 ft (1800 m) that the wind was gusting to over 55 mph (25 m/sec). I was pelted with driving rain and ice crystals and never felt that the jacket was compromised.
My only issue with a jacket like the Telus with an attached hood, is that if I don't put the hood up over my head early enough I can end up with a bunch of water or snow caught in the hood dumped on my head and dripping down my neck. So planning "ahead" is required.
In rain in Florida at 95% humidity, the jacket actually breathed very well. At 95% humidity, my cotton tee shirts get wet in 5 minutes just walking outside even if it's not raining. So to say that the rain jacket breathed at all is quite a compliment. Granted, when I built up some aerobic activity along the trails, I still needed to vent and the jacket has great venting strips under the arm pits and I could open the jacket pockets, which are mesh, to add even a little more venting. After a while though, I had to open the front zipper half way as well to vent as I was sweating.
I brought the jacket along on trips and stuffed it into my carry-on bag. It does not compress as much as other rain gear I have, but other rain gear I have is not built like a tank either. Let's just say it fit into the carry-on for 5 days' worth of travel with all my other stuff.
In Massachusetts, the weather was rainy, cool and even when not raining, damp. Temps were in the 40 F (4 C) range while we were hiking and there were periods of pretty heavy blowing rain, especially along the coast line as we climbed over rocks. I had no problem with movement at all and, again, stayed dry and comfortable. The jacket has great wind blocking since the winds were wet and cold and I never got uncomfortable.
I was mostly wearing a technical t-shirt, a technical shirt and the inner zipper-out layer from one of my winter technical jackets as layers under the REI jacket.
In Florida I would just wear a technical tee and the REI jacket. Which I must say is comfortable to wear with just the tee. The sleeves are not hard and sticky inside against my bare skin.
I still have to hook-and-loop the end of the sleeves around my wrist to keep my hands free because the sleeves are so long. The long sleeves can cover my hands and keep them dry, but they get in the way of doing things, so I almost always fastened them firmly at wrist level.
The pockets are large and deep. On long treks I now bring a 4,000 maH power storage unit about the size of a cell phone for my cell phone and GPS. The unit fits right into the interior pocket and I was able to power my cell phone quite easily and comfortably while walking. These little gadgets are great to take along. There is a headset port on the jacket for using an MP3 player or iPod but I have not used it. I like hearing what is going on around me when I hike.
In addition to hiking, I also wore the jacket to test it while working on our towers. No sign of wear and tear, even with me putting sharp objects like lag bolts and drill bits in the pockets.
After wearing this jacket so much for 8 weeks it is pretty muddy and dirty. Most of the dirt just brushes off, but now I am going to have to follow the care instructions and clean this thing up and see how it handles a good washing.
I am very happy with this jacket. Not only does it perform very well, but, WOW! it really looks great, too.
Over the remainder of this field trial I may not have an opportunity to test in really cold snowy weather. We're getting into spring now. However, it is going to rain, rain, and rain here in Colorado in the spring, so it'll be tested in good wet weather for sure.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Well, it has been an interesting spring in the Rocky Mountains here in Colorado. We got LOTS of snow in the mountains and a lot of rain in the high desert.
The REI Telus Men's eVent jacket performed well no matter where I took it and what weather was tossed at it.
We had several hikes at high altitude above 8000+ feet (2400+ m) along the Pikes Peak range west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, including an overnight at only a piddly 5700 feet (1738 m) and a nice few nights at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in the Sangre de Cristo Range at about 8700 feet (2652 m). We were only there for a short period of time but the park really deserves at least 3 nights or more. We spent hours climbing only about 100 feet (30 m) up the dunes at a 60 degree angle (yes, very steep) and sledding down on a flat-bottom plastic kid's sled. Absolutely fun!
I needed the REI shell on occasions in the mountains when the rain was going to be heavy ... really heavy ... and there was hail and snow. These were instances that were not constant. Out here it can be nice and then cloud up and snow and hail and drench rain at a moment's notice. So it will be 50 or 60 F (10 or 16 C) and then drop to 40 F (4 C) and change right away. That meant that at times it was too warm to keep the shell on, but that I knew I may need it. Thus, in these transient times, I would always carry a small day pack with essentials including the Telus.
While on hikes, several times, when at higher altitudes, a snow squall would come up and not dump snow, but hail. Mostly small crystal, but it would build up to be a few inches/centimeters high on the ground and would really sting when hitting my face.
The REI Telus jacket was always easy to put on in a hurry and had no trouble going over whatever layers I had on. Heck, there were times when all I had on was a tee shirt and then WHAM! it got dark and started to hail. There was never any damage to the jacket from the hail and never a time that any water or wet penetrated the shell.
The REI jacket packed up fairly well. It's not a thin flimsy jacket so it won't compress down to a golf ball. But it fit into a day hydration pack just fine. And I was glad to have had it along on several occasions.
It is tough. In fact, I used it on one trek to one of our tower sites when it was pouring rain. I mean REALLY pouring. I had no choice but to load my pockets up with wrenches and tools and the jacket worked just fine and kept me dry and warm while working with no ill-effects from the tools stuffed into the pockets.
There were a few times when I was in areas that it was raining so hard, the ground around me was a big puddle and mud mess. Two inches (5 cm) of rain in 30 minutes. There were flash flood warnings up all around. With the hood up and properly sealed around my neck, I did not get wet at all! My pants were soaked. Sure would have been nice to have had the REI eVent rain pants. But even in 50 F (10 C) weather I didn't get wet from sweating or condensation. The jacket vents just great. Note: I had the venting open full at these temperatures.
The REI Telus jacket really didn't get very dirty even with all the mud we've had this spring. It didn't hold any body odors, but after a couple of campfire nights, I did detect a smoky smell when I really tried hard to.
So, for the sake of this report, I washed, well, my wife, Kathy, washed the jacket to see how it would hold up. As per usual, the jacket was totally zipped up and turned inside out and tossed into our automatic high-performance front-loading washer with other smoky backpacking gear using regular detergent, no bleach, and no fabric softener.
When the jacket had finished washing, Kathy pulled it right side out and hung it on a wooden hanger to dry indoors. It turned out just fine. By the way, EVERYTHING we took to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve was covered in sandy dust. Our tent had a film we are still working on getting out a week later and I think I still have sand coming from unmentionable places on my body. The REI jacket shed the sand and dust and wiped down clean with a cloth.
This is a keeper. It's a wonderful shell that took a beating and still looks just great. I am sure that whatever I could dish out to it would be no problem for it to handle.
1.) Keeps me dry in the worst possible weather.
2.) Is rugged and stands up to rough handling.
3.) Is comfortable up to 50 F (10 C) temperatures.
4.) Looks good and wears well.
1.) Nothing so far.
I own several outdoorsy articles of REI brand clothing and have come to expect quality and functionality from them. The Telus jacket lives up to my expectations completely. It does what it is supposed to do; it keeps me dry in wet weather conditions. After lots of wear over the last four months and without being too careful with it in the field, it still looks great without any signs of deterioration anywhere. I plan to wear or pack this jacket any time the weather may warrant it.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
Thank you to BackpackGearTest.org and REI for the opportunity to experience the Telus.
This is a fabulous rain jacket.
John R. Waters
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