I’ve been searching for an appropriate rain jacket. Not a light rain deterrent, but something I can rely on in a sudden Drakensberg downpour while hiking or when I am relentlessly searching for rock art in the Western Cape on a dreary winter’s day.
I made the rash decision to purchase a First Ascent jacket last year (since discontinued) and returned it as soon as I tried it on because of its ridiculous (non)length. I vowed not to do that again and settled for a K-Way Women’s Quinta Rain Jacket instead – the length seemed better and its credentials matched my needs.
Recently on a wet day in Nong Kiauw, Laos, I put it to the test and took a slow stroll around the village. After 45 minutes of purposeless wandering in the rain, my pants and shoes were drenched, so I figured it would be a good time evaluate the state of my upper body. Happily, it largely served its purpose, except for keeping my bum properly dry.
I am not sure what it is with women’s utility clothing, but there seems to be this persistent insistence on making tops and jackets shorter than they should be. When spending R1700 on an item of utility clothing, I am not looking to make a fashion statement, I expect it to work. In this case, I expect it to keep my whole upper body dry and thus prevent me from getting cold. Having a dry torso is great, but drenched underwear defeats the point.
I can’t deny that it’s a good jacket – the quality is sound, the fit is excellent and most people would be pleased by the colour options – but I argue that it isn’t suited for serious adventures where the possibility is high of staying in rainy conditions for an extended length of time. In addition, when spending a premium on a waterproof rain jacket, I’d expect more than a few pieces of valcro to keep the rain hood attached to the jacket i.e. a zip. After a single travel experience, it’s clear that I can expect it to wear out sooner than I’m willing to retire the jacket.