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Moonstone Nemesis and Banshee Jackets : Superior Rain Gear

I'd never heard of Moonstone Mountain Equipment until I saw their products at a outdoor gear trade show last year. Of course, I was impressed by the styles, quality, and beautiful colors of their clothing. I was even more happy to learn that they're headquartered just a quarter of a mile from my house. Naturally, I had to investigate.

The folks at Moonstone were happy to show me their entire line, an impressive display of garments featuring lightweight performance fabrics designed to handle all sorts of weather and abuse. I know how important it is to have quality gear, but living in a rainy climate, where I end up wearing trail gear around town to stay dry and warm, I also appreciate a company that understands fashion. I'm tired of the same old royal blues and drab greens used in too many rain jackets.

Both the Banshee jacket for women and its twin, the Nemesis jacket for men, come in cool, rich colors such as true blue (a beautiful light blue shade, women's style only), pine (a Kermit The Frog green), rust, and black, as well as dark slate and navy in the men's style.

I've been testing the women's Banshee jacket for a few months now. The first thing I noticed about Moonstone is that they take their sleeves seriously. They understand that an active person moves around, reaches, and lifts. An actives person needs sleeves long enough to cover their arms even when her arms are over her head. As a tall women with long limbs, I'm happy to finally find a company whose women's products fit me. Usually, I have to wear a men's garment to get the torso and sleeve length I need. I think the raglan sleeve design is a great style and fit feature. It allows a variety of differently shaped bodies to find a good fit and it's less binding than a set-in sleeve.

Another thoughtful detail that Moonstone offers its customers -- listing the torso length of each product on it's web site to help people figure out the right fit. I wish all clothing companies everywhere would do that.

The Banshee is definitely the fanciest, best-constructed jacket I've ever worn. Made out of Gore-Tex® PacLite® Diamond Ripstop fabric, this jacket provides serious rain and wind protection, as well as breathability. I've worn it over a thin long-sleeved merino wool top on several long walks in the pouring rain, and come back completely dry. With sealed seams, waterproof zippers, a protection rain flap under the front zipper, and a brim with a significant brim, it seems virtually impossible for water to get through this jacket. I've also worn it over a fleece on cold days, and found it easy to adjust the temperature (by unzipping the pit zips) as I got warmer.

The Banshee has hidden toggles (in the side pockets) to tighten or loosen the bottom of the jacket and a similar toggle system in the collar and hood that allows me to customize the hood to my small head. I love the zipper garages on the two size pockets and arm pocket (another thoughtful detail since a chest pocket doesn't always work for women...the men's Nemesis jacket does have a chest pocket); they provide just that extra bit of rain protection.

Bottom Line: This super lightweight (it weighs less than 26 ounces), super stylish jacket is a must have for anyone who spends a lot of time in the outdoors or lives in a rainy climate. --E.D. (Oct. '05)

Price: $240

Manufacturer's Site:

BUY ONLINE : Moosejaw Mountaineering

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