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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > Red Ledge Allegory Jacket > Test Report by Jennifer Estrella

Red Ledge Allegory Rain Jacket

Test Series by Jennifer Estrella

March 5, 2009

Skip to my Initial Report- October 22, 2008
Skip to my Field Report- January 7, 2009
Skip to my Long Term Report- March 5, 2009


Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Estrella
Age:  34
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California, United States


Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. (I also married a Sherpa to help.) I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.

The author

The author in the Narrows at Zion National Park, Utah.


Initial Report

October 22, 2008

Product Information

Manufacturer: Red Ledge
Product: Women's Allegory Rain Jacket
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer Website: www.redledge.com
MSRP: $89.99 USD

Listed Weight: 16.5 oz (468 g) size medium
Actual Weight: 1 lb 2.60 oz (530 g) size large
Color Tested: Soft Blue
Colors Available: Cool Mint, Grey Vapor, Soft Blue, Delft

Size Tested: Large
Manufacturer Measurements: Chest size 39-41 in (99 - 104 cm), Waist 32-33 in (81 - 84 cm), Sleeve Length 32 in (81 cm)
Sizes Available: XS-XL (also available in men's sizing)

Fabric Coating: T-Core waterproof/breathable coating.
Seams: 100% taped
Shell: Combination of DuPont Tactel nylon and reinforcement rip-stop nylon taffeta with DWR (durable water repellent) finish
Lining: Breathable polyester mesh and nylon taffeta

Care Instructions: Hand wash or machine wash gentle cycle with cold water, mild soap. Do not bleach. Tumble dry, no heat. Do not dry clean.

Allegory in Soft Blue

Picture of Allegory rain jacket. Obtained from the manufacturer's website.

 


Product Description

The Allegory rain jacket is made of DuPont Tactel nylon and a rip-stop nylon taffeta material that has a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. It uses a T-Core waterproof/breathable coating. The coating is fluid applied and has multiple coatings on the inside layers of the Tactel nylon. The hang tag on the jacket indicates that the T-Core coating allows vaporous perspiration, driven by body heat, to escape to the outside of the jacket. This is achieved because the micro-pores in the polyurethane membrane are halfway between the size of a gaseous water vapor molecule and a liquid water molecule.

The jacket lining is made from a polyester mesh and a grey nylon taffeta material. The manufacturer indicates on their website that the lining is breathable. Down in the lower taffeta section is a built in stuff pocket with a double sided zipper. The jacket stuffs into the pocket from the outside in once it is all packed the pocket is inside out and the opposite side zipper pull is available to close it for storage. There is a small hang loop measuring 1.75 in (4 cm), exposed when the jacket is stuffed in the pocket. Only one of zipper ends has a knotted nylon cord pull. When the jacket is stuffed in the pocket it measures approximately 10 x 8 in (25 x 20 cm).

There is another pocket where the label is located near the neck of the jacket. This pocket holds a flap of Tactel nylon and micro-fleece fabric that has two pieces of loop fasteners stitched to it. This flap can be removed from the pocket and can attach to a piece of hook on the rear of the hood to form the hood into a collar shape. The micro-fleece on the flap protects my neck from the hood cord lock when the hood is placed in this position. Located on the inside base of the hood is a hang loop.

Small flap pocket

The seams of the jacket are fully taped. This is a good thing because this jacket has an abundance of seams.

The jacket has waterproof pit zips. These pit zips can be used to increase ventilation and to better help regulate body temperature by allowing cooler air to enter the jacket. The pit zips have one double ended waterproof zipper measuring 11 in (28 cm) in length. There is a knotted nylon cord zipper pull on only one of the zipper ends on each side.

Air out those pits

There are two waterproof side zip pockets measuring 9.5 in (24 cm) in length on the front of the jacket. The pockets are lined with grey taffeta and grey micro-fleece. The micro-fleece is soft and is used to create hand warmer pockets. The zippers on the pockets tuck into a flap of Tactel nylon. This serves as a protector for the zipper to prevent water entering in the top.

The jacket closes with a light blue nylon zipper that is backed by a 1.25 in (3 cm) interior draft stop and a 2 in (5 cm) outer storm flap. Four sections of hook and loop closures and a snap are located at the bottom of the jacket. These help keep the storm flap closed when the jacket is zipped up. The top 4 in (10 cm) of the draft stop are covered with a micro-fleece lining at the top of the flap to help prevent the material rubbing against my face. The jacket zips up very high, covering my entire neck and the lower portion of my face.

neck micro-fleece

The arm cuffs of the Allegory are constructed of elastic and have hook and look closures to adjust the tightness of the cuffs.

Adjust those cuffs

The jacket has a long tail length to help water roll off and allows me to be partially covered when sitting down. There is a cord on the bottom of the jacket to cinch it in place especially to prevent wind from blowing up in the jacket and to eliminate drafts. There is also a waist draw cord which is adjusted from inside the side pockets. Both draw cords use tethered cord locks to allow me to use one hand to tighten them.

The hood has a stiff bill to prevent water from rolling down into my eyes and there is a toggle in the rear of the hood to form the hood into various shapes to help with water run off. This draw cord is tethered and is designed for one handed use. The hood also can be adjusted around my face by pulling the draw cords on either side. The cords tighten without the use of a cord lock, they use a neoprene as a friction stop.

The manufacturer's website has general product information and where the rain jacket can be purchased from an on-line retailer. I could not find any garment measurements on the site and I had to the contact the manufacturer for the sizing measurements prior to beginning this test. I also contacted the listed on-line store and they were unable to provide me with any garment measurements.


Field Report

January 7, 2009

Burr...

Testing Locations

Big Island, Hawaii: We spent six days hiking to snorkeling or scenic spots that are hard to get to without a boat. The hikes were anything from 0.5 to 3 miles (1 to 5 km) each way. The temperatures were between 76 and 82 F (24 to 28 C) and terrain was dirt, (lots of) lava, and sand. We also walked 2 to 3 miles (3 to 5 km) into town for dinner each day. We saw rain just about every afternoon or early evening. I also had the opportunity to wear the jacket on a boat to and from a night snorkeling trip. I wore the jacket to the snorkeling spot for warmth and on the way back to land it started to rain. The elevations recorded were at sea level or above to 100 ft (30 m).

Orange County, California: The temperature was recorded at 61 F (16 C) with light to heavy rain. I was walking in the neighborhood to run some errands. The elevation here is just above sea level.

Denver, Colorado: The temperatures ranged from 23 to 36 F (-5 to 2 C) over the course of four days. There was a light drizzle that turned to snow. I wore the jacket on a 4 mi (6 km) group walk around historic Denver. The highest elevation was at the mile high marker at 5,280 ft (1,609 m).

Southern California: The temperature was recorded at 55 to 57 F (13 to 14 C) with heavy rain over a course of two days. During these two days I wore the jacket on a day hike in the Newport Beach area totaling 4 mi (6 km) and for an evening walk in my local neighborhood, along with regular day-to-day outside activities.

Orange County, California: The temperature was recorded at 52 F (11 C) with misty rain and fog. I wore the jacket on a 3 mi (5 km) morning walk.

Mount San Jacinto State Park, California: This was a 6 mi (10 km) two day snowshoe/backpacking trip. We camped at an elevation of 9100 ft (2775 m) on 5 ft (1.5 m) of snow pack. The temps ran from 40 to 22 F (4 to -6 C).


Performance in the Field

I did not know that it could rain so much in Southern California. I wore the Red Ledge Allegory every chance I got to run errands, daily walks, backpacking, and on hiking trips. I wore the jacket a total of 16 days as either an outer shell or as a rain jacket. At no point in time did water penetrate through the fabric of the jacket. So I would say this jacket is indeed waterproof.

In the warmer climate of Hawaii I found that the jacket did not breathe well while I was sedentary or with activity. I felt like there was steam in the inside of the jacket, and I felt sticky. The temperatures were between 76 and 82 F (24 to 28 C) and I think the warmer temperatures and the high humidity had a direct relationship of why the jacket was not breathing. I had the pit zips open and even the front zipper open using the hook and loop closures during misting rain. I wore the jacket on a boat trip to and from a snorkeling spot and on the way back it began to rain steadily. I pulled the hood up and used the draw cords to tighten it around my face. The hood stayed in place for the boat ride. There were small amounts of rain drops on my face just because we were traveling into the wind.

I also wore the jacket as a shell while climbing uphill on a backpacking trip with a temperature around 40 F (4 C). Again I felt sticky and it felt like there was steam inside the jacket. I was sweating a great deal while climbing uphill while carrying my winter backpack.

For the day hikes and the walks around town there were no ventilation issues encountered. Only in the two climates above did I run into ventilation issues. In cold temperatures I have worn the jacket as a shell with wool and fleece base layers with no ventilation issues. With the base layers underneath the jacket I was not restricted in any movement or uncomfortable in any way.

I noticed something a little bit odd with the light blue fabric of the jacket. After drops of rain fall onto the jacket they are water dropped shaped. But after about a minute or so the water drops begin to shed off or disappear and there are dimples in the fabric where the water drops were (this can be seen in the pictures below). These dimples stay in the fabric until the jacket dries. The first time I saw the dimples I was alarmed as I thought I brushed the jacket against something rough.

Initial water drops on fabric

Water drops on the fabric

Dimples from water drops

Dimples in the fabric

The Allegory jacket covers my behind well when I am walking or hiking. However, when I sit down my back is covered to the surface I am sitting on and my bottom is only slightly covered. I can not sit comfortably on the tail of the jacket, it just is not long enough. In my initial report I thought the tail would be long enough, but then when testing the jacket I sat on a wet surface and my bottom became wet. This really has not caused me too much grief as I avoided sitting on wet surfaces. I would like to see the tail of the jacket slightly longer so my bottom does not have to get wet when sitting on wet surfaces.

At first I was not too fond of the location of the front hand pockets. I found them to be a bit too high. But, while wearing a backpack or a day pack they are in the perfect location. On some of my jackets the pockets are set low so that they can be used comfortably without a pack on, and then when wearing a pack they are just non-functional. The pockets are large enough that I can fit may items inside of them (a hat, gloves, mittens, tissues, treats, and lip balm). I love the softness of the micro-fleece lining inside the pockets. The lining has definitely increased my hand warmth.

I love the hood of the jacket with the small bill. The hood draw cords are easy to use with or without gloves on (I can not manipulate them with mittens on, but there is not much I can do with mittens on) and with one-handed functionality. They enable the hood to be cinched down around my face. The friction stops stay in place. While wearing the jacket on a boat and in gusty wind during a rain storm the hood stayed on my head. The small bill on the hood prevents the rain from rolling off the hood and landing right smack on my face. The small tether cord on the back of the hood also helped me better position the hood to help the rain roll off the hood correctly. I like that the hood can roll up and be placed inside the jacket using the hook and loop fastener to keep it in place.

When the jacket is zipped up my mouth is covered and the soft fabric inside the collar feels comfortable against my face. The soft fabric does become slightly damp from condensation after wearing the jacket for a few hours with it zipped up.

At this point in time I have not used the draw cords on the body of the jacket. Even in strong winds no rain or precipitation has blown up the bottom of the jacket.

The sleeves of the Allegory fit nicely over gloves and mittens and can be adjusted appropriately with the hook and loop closures. There have not been any issues with the sleeves riding up or the sleeve closures becoming undone.

There is a plethora of hook and loop closures running down the main zipper flap (outer draft stop) of the jacket. If I am not careful the hook fastener part has a tendency to latch onto all fabrics in contact with it. It seems to really like to adhere to fleece and wool fabrics. The outer draft flap stays nicely in place when fastened with its hook and loop closure and sometimes I just fastened the jacket with these closures when it was too warm to zip up the Allegory.

All the zippers work well on the Allegory. I am able to zip and unzip the pit zippers one handed which I find to be a plus. I can also zip and unzip the hand pockets one handed. There have not been any instances of water leaking into the zippers.

I have yet to wash the Allegory. The fabric had some dirt smudges on it that I wiped away with a wet cloth. The jacket is not odorous at this point. I plan to wash the jacket during the long term reporting phase.

Setting up camp


Long Term Report

March 5, 2009

Testing Locations

During the field reporting phase of this test series I wore the jacket on two day hikes, to and from work while it was raining, and on two morning walks. I carried it in my pack during one day hike and one overnight backpacking trip.

Crystal Cove State Park, California: This was a day hike for a total of 5 mi (8 km). The temperature was recorded at 53 F (12 C) with light rain in the early morning. The elevation here is just above sea level. I wore the jacket in the morning while it was raining.

Cleveland National Forest, California (San Mateo Wilderness): This was a two day backpacking trip on the Tenaja Trail to Fisherman's Camp then to Tenaja Falls. From Tenaja Falls we went back to Fisherman's Camp to spend the night. We hiked 9 mi (14 km) on the first day and 3.5 mi (6 km) on the second day, all up-hill. It hit 75 F (24 C) for a high and got down to 28 F (-2 C) at night. The high elevation was 2,000 ft (610 m) with a total of 1,300 ft (396 m) of elevation gain and loss. I carried the jacket in my pack just in case of rain. I did not wear the jacket on this trip as I needed warmth in the evening from my down jacket and I was not cold enough to use the Allegory as a shell on this trip.

Crystal Cove State Park, California: The jacket was worn at this location on one day hike and carried in my pack on one day hike during the testing period. The elevation was from sea level to 60 ft (18 m). The one day hike completed was on the beach mostly in wet sand as we followed the coast in and out of the tide pools. It was raining right before we left so it was a bit cool. The temperatures were between 50 F to 68 F (10 C to 20 C). Both trips were 5 mi (8 km) each. On one of the hikes in this location there was a light misty rain.

Orange County, California: I wore the jacket for eleven days during the field reporting stage to work during rainy and cooler days. I also wore the jacket on two morning walks when it was drizzling. The temperatures ranged from 48 F to 75 F (9 C to 24 C).


Performance in the Field

I am very happy with the performance of the Red Ledge Allegory Jacket. I have washed the jacket and it has retained its waterproof properties. At no point during this test did water penetrate through the fabric. All the zippers and the hook and loop closures are working as though they are new. The hook sections on the jacket, mainly on the storm flap, seem to adhere to my clothing, especially if I am wearing wool or fleece garments or gloves.

As seen in the picture below the inside mesh lining of the jacket has a large amount of snags. Sometimes the hook of the storm flap adhered to the inside lining of the jacket when I was putting the jacket on or taking it off. This caused some of the snags on the lining.

Inside mesh snags

Inner lining snags.

I am happy with the large pockets on the front of the jacket. At first I was not happy with how high they are placed. But, I found this location ideal when wearing a pack. If the pockets were set lower I would not be able to access the entire pocket while wearing a pack.

One of my favorite features of the Allegory is the hood with the small bill. The hood draw cords are still easy to use with a one-handed technique. The bill on the hood is still effective in preventing water from rolling down on to my face. I am very happy that the hood does not obstruct my peripheral vision when it is cinched into place.

I had the opportunity to use the draw cords on the jacket. During one of my day hikes it was very windy and I cinched up the draw cords so the misting rain and wind did not blow up into my jacket. I was able to cinch the cords easily one-handed.

In warmer temperatures with high humidity I am still finding that the inside of the jacket becomes steamy. I notice this most when I am wearing multiple layers beneath the jacket, climbing uphill, or light walking when the temperatures climb up above 60 F (16 C). Even with the pit zips open I feel sticky inside the jacket.

I have received many compliments on the style and design of the jacket. I was on a day hike and a woman asked me about the jacket and where she could purchase one.

I would like to see the jacket just a tad bit longer so that when I sit down on a wet surface my bottom is fully covered. Right now when I sit down the jacket does not cover my bottom completely. But, if I am sitting down and rain drops are rolling down by back they roll of the jacket and my bottom does not get wet in that case.

The jacket easily stuffs inside the storage pocket. On my backpacking trip I never removed the jacket from the storage pocket. The zipper to close the storage pocket when the jacket is stuffed inside is large enough that I do not need a pull tab to help with opening or closing the zipper.

The jacket had some black markings and dirt on the outside material and these washed away using a mild detergent. Spot cleaning with just water was also effective in removing some stains and markings. I dried the jacket in my home drier with no heat as indicated on the care tag.

Things That Rock

  • The bill on the hood of the jacket
  • Placement of the hand pockets
  • Waterproofness
  • The jacket is stylish

Things That Are So-So

  • The jacket can be a tad bit longer in the back

Summary

I am very happy with the performance of the Red Ledge Allegory jacket. The fabric is very waterproof, but has breathability issues in temperatures above 76 F (24 C) or when I am sweating inside the jacket while climbing uphill. I love the bill on the hood, especially that it helps the water roll off properly and not into my face. The pockets and the pit zips can be open and closed with one hand and with or without gloves on. I wish the jacket was slightly longer in the tail so that when I sit down on a wet surface my bottom does not get soaked.

Remarks

This concludes my long term reporting on the Red Ledge Allegory rain jacket. Thank you Red Ledge and backpackgeartest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the women's Allegory rain jacket.

 



Read more reviews of Red Ledge gear
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