Flashback. ORSM 2005. Hottest gear of the show? The Sierra Designs NanoLite Series Raingear (e.g., Isotope Jacket) ranks high. A full-zip, hooded, waterproof-breathable jacket with taped seams and handwarmer pockets for 4 ounces and change? Get outta town. That’s newsworthy. Alan Dixon, our product review editor, gets to go home with it, calls it "Best of Show?", and leaves the rest of us soaked in envy.
Flash forward to two weeks ago. In a remarkable display of generosity, Alan loans me the jacket. Red flag #1. When it arrived in my mailbox, I immediately had the chance to test it in some good hard rain.
We’ll post a review of the Isotope at Backpacking Light, but for now, suffice it to say that it’s better classified as a heavy windshirt than an ultralight rain shell that’s something less than, well, waterproof. Sierra Designs says "yeah, we know" and promise to upgrade the fabric prior to its public release this spring. Hopefully, they won’t "upgrade" the weight, too.
Outdoor Research, have no fear: The 7-oz Zealot successfully defends its crown.