Tuesday, March 22, 2011

GoLite Black Mountain Thermal Wind Jacket Review

Last Friday, the UPS guy dropped of my new Go Lite Black Mountain Jacket.

Just in time for me to take it with me on a hike to Oyster Dome and Alger Alp in the Chuckanut Mountains of western Washington.

Official Description:
With the GoLite Black Mountain Thermal Wind Jacket for Men, you don't have to choose between wind protection, warmth and superior ventilation, you can have them all. Built with thermal windproof face fabric and ventilating brushed fleece side panels, the Black Mountain Thermal Wind Jacket is the perfect jacket for cold weather aerobic activities like running, hiking, Nordic skiing and backcountry adventures. Lightweight and seriously warm, the Black Mountain weighs in at just under a pound and is one all-weather piece that you won't want to leave behind.

Official Specifications
* 100% polyester face and back with PU membrane and DWR water-resistant finish
* 35% Minerale™ and Brushed fleece panels
* Windproof chest and shoulders
* Fast wicking Minerale™ Fabric in back
* Auto-locking zipper with draft flap
* Secure-zip side pockets
* Media pocket with internal cord routing
* Reflective logo
* Semi-fitted
* Weight: 13.4oz / 379g

Unofficial Front photo:

Unofficial Back photo:

Initial Opinion:
I originally requested a Medium size as my measurements seemed to correspond with the specs for that size. Upon its arrival, it was clear that this size was not going to work... simply too small. So, I sent it back on Monday and had a size "L" arrive on Friday.

The color of this jacket is beautiful: Chili Pepper & Granite. I love it. It's so nice to have some color back into my jacket selection.

The coat fits perfectly and the fleece is very soft against the skin, without being hot.

In addition, the coat lays well on my body frame - it seems to be well sewn and a very quality product. That may sound like a simple sentence and maybe an obvious observation, but the quality is far superior to the REI Neo jacket that I've been wearing for four years.

Since this is a semi-athletic cut, there isn't a lot of extra room between the coat and my skin. It slides on easily with short sleeve shirts, but long sleeves (particularly cotton) tend to roll up in the arms. Probably wouldn't be an issue with a synthetic shirt, but I haven't tried that yet.

On The Trail

Our hike on Saturday (trip report coming soon) included mild temps... 40/45 degrees F (guessing) but also substantial winds blowing in off Puget Sound while at the higher elevations of Chuckanut Mountain. Also, there was a light dusting of snow the previous night which coated the tall evergreens and left a dusting on the ground.

With the above freezing temps and the wind, it meant that half the trip to Oyster Dome had us catching snow bomb after snow bomb falling from the trees. It was more wet on this hike than when I hike in actual rain!

Great conditions to check out a new thermal wind jacket!

The DWR finish worked as expected... repelling water for the duration of the hike. I think. It's a little hard to tell because inevitable water from my head would work it's way downward. Since the jacket doesn't have a hood, that's one of the issues that you have to tackle with by using other gear.

In the strong and brisk wind atop Oyster Dome, the Black Mountain Thermal Wind Jacket exceeded my expectations. Despite the wet conditions and the perspiration from climbing 1,500 feet and the strong wind gusts from the north west, this jacket kept me at a very comfortable temperature.

The jacket seemed to be moderately breathable, but it could benefit by adding a set of pit-zips. The side pockets have a see-through fabric used to construct the pockets - leaving the side zippers open might also help to get a little extra air flow into the coat.

While the inside of the coat was a bit wet when we completed the Oyster Dome hike, the entire jacket had completely dried out by the time we arrived at the trail head for our 2nd hike of the day.

Probably in an effort to Go Lite, someone decided to make really small zipper pulls for the side pockets. These can't be opened while you are wearing gloves... the handles are just too small. See pics.

The front zipper is larger and I was able to easily use it with gloves on,

There is a little elastic loop near the chest. Wasn't sure what it is for, but have concluded it must be for keeping control of headphone wires from your .mp3 player.

Here are the sewn-in tags for the coat:

In conclusion, this is a great jacket that will be perfect for keeping me warm throughout many trips in the near future!

I will gladly recommend this jacket to my friends and give it two thumbs up!

1 comment:

  1. Review Update:
    This coat transitioned into my winter running coat - perfect combination of breathability and warmth for running in sub-20 degree weather!
    Now that spring is here it will move back into the hiking wardrobe.
    Quality remains high!