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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > White Sierra Sierra Rain Jacket > Test Report by David Wyman

White Sierra Rain Jacket
Test Series by David Wyman

Image from manufacturers website
Image from manufacturer's website

Test Phases:

Initial Report - April 09, 2009

Field Report - June 16, 2009

Long Term Report - August 20, 2009

Tester Information

NAME David Wyman
EMAIL wyman(AT)wymanhq(DOT)com
AGE 31
LOCATION Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
HEIGHT 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT 175 lb (79.40 kg)

While I've been camping for years, I've only been backpacking for a short time. I'm trying to find the right equipment, alternating between tent and hammock. My dog usually comes along on the longer hikes, and my wife and toddler join me on the shorter ones. I tend to carry more gear that I need resulting in a heavier pack, but I'm working on that. When I hike with my dog and/or my wife and son, we take it a bit slower, stopping frequently to enjoy the forest. I rarely hike fast unless I'm trying to make up time.

Initial Report - April 09, 2009

Product Information

Full view of jacket

Manufacturer White Sierra
Product White Sierra Men's Rain Jacket (Style #X2216M)
Size Tested: Large
  Additional Sizes: M, XL, XXL
MSRP US $100.00
Weight Listed: Not available
  Measured: 18 oz (510 g)
Color Tested: Sage
  Additional Colors: Black, Red, Navy, Corn
Fabric 100% nylon Sierra Dobby DWR with mesh lining

Initial Impressions

Based on the manufacturer's sizing chart, my 42 chest indicated I should get a Large. The jacket is quite big on me and seems ideally suited to be worn over an inner layer or two. Wearing it without an inner layer is still comfortable but seems a bit awkward. At this size, it seems that this might work better on cooler days where a second layer is required. I'll be sure to test the jacket with various combinations of layers and under different temperatures. The hood is also fairly large and covers quite a bit. There is a cord-lock securing a bungee-cord on each side of the hood to allow one-handed tightening of the hood and works fairly well with bare hands.

There are two external pockets, one for each hand, that are opened by pulling down on the bungee-cord tie attached to the zipper. The pockets are quite large and easily accommodated my gloved hand. The bottom of the jacket has a bungee-cord running the whole way around the jacket. There is a cord-lock on either side of the jacket to allow for one-handed tightening of the waist. The jacket is also "systems compatible" and has three attachment points, one at the back of the neck above the tag and one at the wrist of each sleeve, to attach a compatible inner layer jacket/fleece/shirt.

Another feature is ability to pack the jacket completely into the right hand pocket. Once packed, there are two belt loops and a loop to hang the jacket. The packed jacket is approximately 9 in x 9 in x 5 in (23 cm x 23 cm x 13 cm)

Also listed on the website was a "Zip secure chest pocket" but I couldn't find any zippered chest pocket. This is unfortunate as I like to keep a few items in an external pocket so I don't have to unzip the jacket as often.

Closeup of wrist and zipper Sleeves

The sleeves have elastic and are quite adjustable using the additional hook and loop section. They can tighten down quite a bit to make a nice seal around gloves. There is also one attachment point in each sleeve to attach to a compatible jacket/fleece/shirt.

Main Zipper

The Main zipper is a double zipper which allows the jacket to be vented at either the top or bottom. A series of hoop and loop patches seal the flap over the main zipper. The top zipper has a bungee-cord tie to assist with opening.

Closeup of inside pocket Inner Pocket

There is an inner pocket located on the left side of the jacket at mid-chest level. The pocket uses hook and loop beneath a flap to stay closed. This does a very good job at keeping the pocket closed but the way the flap is designed makes it a bit awkward to open.

The pocket is also fairly small for being the only inside pocket. It will hold two or three energy bars but it won't fit a .5L (16.9 fl oz) bottle of water.

Closeup of Underam pit zip vents Underarm pit zip vents

The Underarm pit zip vents have a zipper that is shielded by a flap of material. The zipper has a bungee-cord tie to facilitate one-handed opening and the vent is quite large. Opening the vent allows direct access to the interior of the jacket. I'll be interested in seeing how well this allows heat to vent.

Field Report - June 16, 2009

Trips Taken

I was able to fit one three-day backpacking trip, one overnight car camping trip, and one day hike in during the month of May. The day hike was along the rivers in Pittsburgh for a bit more than 4 miles (6.5 km) on the Riverfront Trail. It looked like it was going to rain but never did. The temperature was in the upper 60s F (20 C) and, while I didn't really need the jacket, I wore it to see how it did in warmer, humid weather.

Both the car camping trip and the backpacking trip were in Raccoon Creek State Park. The weather for the car camping trip was excellent - no rain, temperatures in the low 60s F (16 - 18 C) and cool breezes. The backpacking trip didn't fare quite as well weather-wise. The temps over the three days ranged from low 60s F (16 - 18 C) to the upper 70s F (24 - 26 C) and there were numerous, short rainstorms.

Thoughts and Impressions

The pit zips worked very well for me. The small bungee-cord on each zipper made opening them very easy without a pack. With a pack on, the zippers were a bit harder to access but, when open, still worked well.

The jacket handled the rain without any problems. The jacket kept the water out and kept all but the strongest winds out as well. The hood works, but is rather awkward - the hood is designed to keep the sides from collapsing towards the face which helps keep a large field of vision. Unfortunately, this doesn't hold up well under windy conditions and it's not very comfortable with the edges of the hood flapping around my face.

The only other issue I've had is with the main zipper. Once zipped up, it does an excellent job of sealing the jacket shut. But getting the zipper started can be tricky. It takes a bit of patience to make sure that the zipper is fully seated before zipping it closed - it sometimes seems as if it's fully seated but the zipper fails to close. After a bit of practice, it became fairly easy to handle, but when a sudden rainstorm hit, it was harder to zip closed because I was rushing to get it on.

Overall, the jacket has worked fairly well. It has been comfortable wearing it with and without a pack, it has done a good job keeping me dry, and it packs up fairly small making it easy to keep in my backpack. It's large enough that it layers well but is still light enough that I barely notice it.

Long Term Report - August 20, 2009

Trips Taken

This summer was a busy one due to the arrival of my second child. Though I wasn't able to get as many trips in as I had planned, I was able to squeeze in three separate overnight trips in August while my in-laws were in town. These trips all took place in Raccoon Creek State Park (picked the closest place so I could spend less time driving) in the first and second weeks of August. Two of the trips had reasonable temperatures (highs around 75 F / 24 C and lows around 55 F / 13 C) and light, intermittent rain - usually just a drizzle. Both of these trips were very enjoyable and, despite all the walking, quite relaxing. The third trip had temps from 70 F (21 C) to 90 F (32 C) and quite a bit of rain. This trip was hot, humid, muggy, buggy, etc - if it could annoy me while hiking, it happened. On the positive side, the jacket had its best test yet on this trip.

Thoughts and Impressions

I think this jacket is fantastic when used within its limits. It has done an excellent job keeping rain out and hasn't required any special treatment to continue doing that throughout the test. In fact, it has worked admirably as a rain jacket despite being folded, stuffed, jammed, and crammed into different packs, pockets, and other small spaces. The pit zips also worked fairly well for me, most noticeably on the really hot and muggy day. They didn't stop me from feeling muggy and sweaty, but they did keep it to a somewhat manageable level.

There are a few things that could use some improvement, but they are fairly minor. The main zipper has a tendency to stick and be fairly difficult to start. It doesn't always happen, but I attribute that to luck on my part. Once it's set properly, it works fine. The hood seems to be a compromise between decent rain protection and good visibility, but not the best compromise in my opinion. If it is tightened down to keep the rain out, it really cuts down on the field of view more than I'd like.

Overall, I think this jacket has more positive features than negative ones. I will definitely keep using it!

This concludes my test series for the White Sierra Rain Jacket. I hope it was helpful and informative.

Thanks to and White Sierra for this opportunity.

Read more reviews of White Sierra gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wyman

Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > White Sierra Sierra Rain Jacket > Test Report by David Wyman

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