Tuesday, June 18

Happy Berfday

What did I get for my birthday, other than a nice quiet evening with The Pie, some spinach and eggs, and a Happy Ending?

What else?

Remember that I mentioned my need to replace my dependable Goretex Paclite coat that I lost, perhaps to the Pacific Gyre?  And by "need," I mean before I leave for BC Bike Race as it is required, if not smart to bring, gear.

Well what makes more sense than replacing an important piece of gear in celebration of my 44th year on this planet?

I'll tell you what makes more sense... replacing one piece of gear with two.

I wanted packable.  I wanted rain protection.  I wanted a close fit.  I wanted to not want so many things in one jacket to make it easier to replace.
So two then.

First up, the ALP-X Windstopper Active Shell Light Jacket.

Wait.  What's that you say?  Windstopper?  Not Rainstopper?

Indeed.  From my intensive googling, I have found that many outdoor garb pundits say that the Windstopper fabric IS waterproof.   It's just that the Windstopper garments do not have taped seams, meaning that the jacket is not waterproof itself.  So why bother?

Form fitting, windproof, and very, very packable.  How packable?

That's a business card sized bottle opener, so I would say this fits nicely in a jersey pocket with room left over for said bottle opener.

What else does this jacket got going on?

A tiny little pocket that allows you to keep two fingers out of the wind at a time.  It also has a loop of cord in it to secure keys, but that does limit finger room quite a bit.

Other nice touches?  The jacket is minimal, so it packs down tight, but they still were nice enough to put a loop of fabric inside the neck for hanging it on a hook.  Sorry, but it's a pet peeve of mine when there's no tidy way to hang it on a hook.

That's real rain on the shoulder.  Not a dramatic simulation.

The other jacket?

The Oxygen GORE-TEX Active Jacket.  This is RAINPROOF.   It is minimal and yet has some bells and whistles in the name of keeping dry and happy.

Dat extended tail... almost platypusical.

Plenty of coverage with little grabby do-dads to keep it in place.

Ventilation?  Sweet little air entry duct work right at the wrists.  Very nice and on the bottom so you stay dry and cozy.

This neoprene'esque (I have no idea what it's made out of) cuff at the neck seals the back of the jacket so the rain doesn't pour in and trickle down to your ass crack.  That's an issue I've had with countless other coats, so I'm pretty stoked on that.


Not as much a the ALP-X, but yes.  It comes with its own stuff sack.

But the stuff sack adds bulk, so unless I'm tossing it in my messenger bag or a hydration pack, I'd just bundle it.

Still a little big for a jersey pocket, but it fits.  You might have to leave the bottle opener at home though.  Sacrifices have to be made sometimes.

So two jackets...

Some of you might remember that I made it through four rainy 50° or so races this year with just a wind vest and a sleeveless jersey.  That would probably continue to be my MO.   So what's the point of this two jacket system and why one and not the other or vice versa?

The ALP-X will be my "save my ass" coat.  Headed out on Stage Two of the Breck Epic with more than just a slight threat of rain at 10,000 feet?  My Paclite saved my ass last year and this coat would get the call up in such a scenario.  I don't mind being a little moist, but wide open descending for twenty minutes or so in the rain calls for more than just a wind vest.

Starting a barely into the 40's day in a steady downpour, like a certain stage at the 2005 Trans Rockies knowing that it will be an all day affair?  The Oxygen gets the call up.  Same goes for shitty commutes and all day work in the rain.

I am a picky person.  I rarely find something that meets my full approval.  I've taken the time to remove cargo pockets from a pair of riding baggies just because I thought they were stupid.  It's not often I'm 100% happy.

These jackets are all I want in a (two) jacket(s) and nothing more.

So who's got two thumbs, a dandy blue collar job, and gets to test out a coat today?

This guy.

1 comment:

Big E said...

Well if this whole racer thing doesn't work out I think being the new Assos model could be in your future. I mean, you have the arm/hand positions down already...