Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Outdoor Research Jacket and Gaiter Review

Outdoor Research was founded in 1981 Ron Gregg, a scientist and adventurer who watched his partner get airlifted off of a glacier on Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America.  They planned their route and halfway to the summit, a pair of gaiters failed, causing their climb to be cut short and his partner’s injury.  Ron came to the realization that he could fix the problem with his friends gear and devoted his life to pursuing his passion for adventure. 

Outdoor Research was founded on the idea that life is an adventure and the best gear makes it more fun.  Ron died in an avalanche over a decade ago, but his legacy still remains at the core of the company.  They want to help people enjoy the outdoors and have strived to make the best gear to do just that.  They take pride in the fact that they are more than just a company that makes outdoor gear.  They are part of a community of friends whose lives are connected by the common need to be outside.

It has been a really wet winter here in Northern California.  I know that the rest of the country is getting worse weather than we are.  I was thrilled to get the Helium II jacket to test out.  I got a water resistant jacket at the California International Marathon Expo on sale for around $70.  It is great if you just want an extra layer because it’s cold out or there’s a mist in the air.  If there is any measurable rain though, the moisture will soak through the jacket in less than 30 minutes.  All you have at that point is a really heavy piece of clothing. 

The Helium II jacket is completely waterproof.  I tend to overheat really easy and I love the fact that while the rain won’t soak through this jacket, it still breaths really well and is extremely light weight (weight 6.4 ounces).  All of the seams are fully taped and it uses a waterproof zipper as well.  The only way that water is getting in this jacket is if you don’t zip it up.

Other great features of the Helium II jacket are the internal pocket that you can use as a stuff sack, a carabineer loop, elastic arm cuffs, and a drawcord hem along the waist.  The coat fits really well and is not restrictive at all.  How did it do in my real world test though?

Just my luck, it rained right before I got the jacket and then the forecast called for 2 weeks of sunshine (please don’t hate me for complaining).  I went to the next best thing for testing the jacket.  I put it on and hopped in the shower.  I won’t post picture (for everyone’s sake), but it worked beyond what I expected.  It didn’t let a drop of water in.  This jacket is awesome!

Completely Waterproof
Looks Great
Price is very reasonable for a fully waterproof jacket

I also tested out the Stamina Gaiters.  If you have ever been trail running, there is a good chance you‘ve had a rogue rock or piece of debris end up in your shoe.  It doesn’t matter how small it is, a grain of sand can seem like a boulder is chilling underneath the ball of your foot.  A gaiter is made to help keep that debris out of your shoes so you can enjoy your run.

The Stamina gaiters are made with a breathable polyester/spandex blend with a drawcord at the top and hooks/Velcro on the bottom.  The gaiters come with Velcro that you can attach to your shoe or some shoes like the Altra Lone Peak 2.5 already come with the Velcro attached.
I found that the gaiters worked really well and I didn’t notice that they were even on.  I was worried that my feet would overheat, but they didn’t.  They are made to stretch with how your feet and ankles move and they are made with flat seam construction to eliminate irritations.  I ran on a rather dirty path with tons of little rocks.  I didn’t have a single piece of debris in my shoe, even after 8 miles.  My only area of concern was that the elastic dug into my leg, but that was soon remedied after I realized that I tightened the drawcord too much.  That is my error, not a design issue.

Keeps debris out of your shoes
Looks Great
Great Price
Easy to attach

Just don’t tighten the drawstring too much, it works just fine if it is looser.

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The Helium II jacket is awesome.  Not only is it completely waterproof, but it is light weight and breathable.  If you run in the rain, this is a must have jacket.  The price is very reasonable for what you get too.  The Stamina gaiters are awesome for trail running as well, especially if you don’t like rocks or debris in your shoes.  Outdoor research makes great gear at a great price.  Give their gear a try and let me know what you think.
All Outdoor Research products are backed by their Infinity Guarantee.  They believe so strongly in the quality of their apparel and gear, that if their products fails to meet your needs at any time, Outdoor Research is happy to replace it. Their products are guaranteed forever, and your total satisfaction is their primary goal.  Pick up your Outdoor Research gear at their website or at a local retailer (click here for locations). 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

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