Gear Review: REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Jacket
Weight: 8.6 ounces
Materials: Membrane is three-layer Gore-Tex Active; face fabric is 20-denier ripstop nylon
REI has recently released rain gear with Gore-Tex membranes, utilizing one of the highest performing waterproof/breathable technologies available. The jacket is priced well, performs outstandingly, and there are several options to choose from regarding fabric weight and price points. The Drypoint is the lightest option, built with fast-and-light backcountry travel in mind. It is hip-length for hiking with a pack, has smart pocket placement, streamlined features, and is lightweight and comfortable to wear while moving for extended periods of time.
Circumstances of Use
Montana has (somewhat unfortunately) seen a lot of rain this spring, so I’ve taken this jacket on numerous rainy hikes and outdoor excursions. I’ve worked up a sweat in light rain, endured miserable downpours, and taken several camping and overnight trips in rainy conditions, carrying both a day pack and an overnight pack.
Hood: The hood is deep and has a “bill,” which allows rain to drop off the front without dripping inside the coat. It’s snug enough through the chin and down to the zipper to turn your head without staring into the inside of the jacket… always a bonus. The zipper comes up high and has drawstring closures that tighten around the front as well as adjust through the back of the hood.
Cuffs: “Hook-and-loop cuff tabs” (like Velcro, but not the brand) cinch down tight, and are lightweight and secure. As this isn’t glued to your skin, there will always be the chance for rain to come in if you’re hanging a bear bag or doing something else with hands above your head.
Coated Zippers: Coated zippers are easy to maneuver, don’t get stuck in the fabric, and never allowed water to come through.
Zippered Hand Pockets: This jacket was made with backpackers in mind, and that includes the hipbelt most of us wear with long-distance packs. The mesh-lined pockets are situated in a place where most belts won’t interfere with usage. The mesh lining helps vent at your core, taking the place of “pit zips.” Pockets have coated zippers as well.
Taped Seams: All good rain gear has fully taped seams, preventing saturation through these vulnerable points. Seams are also one of the more fragile parts of a garment, and the taping helps prevent cracks in the membrane along these flex points.
Bluesign Approved: This means jacket construction and materials meet Bluesign criteria, a certification in the ongoing attempt to make manufacturing more sustainable by working to eliminate harmful substances from the manufacturing process and setting standards for more sustainable production throughout the outdoor industry. This is a really cool initiative. Find out more here.
Fit / Comfort
The jacket is hip-length, ideal for wearing a pack and being able to sit down without water running down your butt. It’s a slimmer fit, so you won’t be able to stuff a high-volume down jacket in there, but it’s perfect for wearing on the go, and the cut allows for maximum movement without constricting. Gore-Tex Active is the lightest-weight offering from Gore, and the jacket feels both minimal yet stretchy and durable.
The jacket was built with active performance and wearability in mind. All features are slim and streamlined for people moving fast and light in the backcountry. I’ve owned rain gear built with Gore-Tex before, and the performance (in my experience) is unparalleled. Everything is lightened up and streamlined, including removing the zippers and pit zips. More and more “fast and light” rain gear is eliminating the pit zips and thus extra zippers—this is really is a pared-down backcountry travel jacket that can keep up with the top brands. The face fabric is lightweight yet durable, and has endured abrasive, narrow trails without fraying or wearing. There are no wet spots, and even with excessive spring-rain sweating, the jacket maintains as dry a microclimate as possible, then dries completely when I stop moving. This is hugely important in colder temperatures, when staying dry is paramount to staying safe and avoiding the misery of post-exercise chill.
There are a few proprietary waterproof/breathable membranes out there. Gore-Tex is the original, and one of the best. This jacket uses the Gore-Tex Active laminate, a three-layer membrane with microscopic pores that are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet. This allows water vapor to release (i.e., from your sweat) without allowing the outer water droplets to permeate. This membrane is protected by the face fabric and the liner. A Gore-Tex layer is ePTFE sandwiched between technical face fabrics to create a waterproof, breathable garment. Gore-Tex Active is optimized for activities with a high aerobic output, when you will be sweating but still need protection. Garments with this membrane are usually on the more minimal side, as people out doing these activities look for protective layers without added bulk and weight.
Lightweight materials, breathable waterproof membrane, and the sleek performance fit all make this jacket a go-to for backpacking. The face fabric is durable yet lightweight and flexible, and I haven’t seen anything that would lead me to believe this jacket isn’t going to last for many seasons. Also… I love the color.
Not much. I’ve gotten used to venting excess heat with pit zips, but the core venting mesh-lined pockets work well. If you want to vent, you just won’t be able to keep gear in your pockets, as they need to be unzipped. The collar is tall for more coverage, but can occasionally feel like a lot of material around your neck.
The Stormbolt GTX is the other Gore-Tex offering from REI. It weighs in at 12.6 ounces and has a somewhat burlier construction, perfect for multisport adventurers. Instead of Gore-Tex Active, it’s built with the OG Gore-Tex membrane and a 30-denier ripstop nylon.
A Gore-Tex raincoat for $249 is an incredibly good deal. While you can get a raincoat for a fraction of the price, paying for the higher-quality construction, materials, and performance is well worth it. Good rain gear can make or break your outing, and it’s something absolutely worth investing in. This jacket fits true to size, is well designed, and keeps the water out while staying as breathable as possible. I’m continually impressed with the quality, design, and performance of REI gear, and this jacket is no exception. I would take this jacket on any long-distance hike where the gear needs to shake out fast, keep me dry during periods of high exertion, and doesn’t take up too much room in the pack.
This jacket was donated for purpose of review
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