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Outdoor Research Credo Jacket : A Mountaineer's Best Friend

I've taken a huge liking to my Credo Jacket by Outdoor Research. It's a great all-purpose outdoor top that's protected me during from frosty winds, rain, and even an alpine snow flurry. It's one of those rare articles of clothing where every feature is perfectly thought out and engineered. No gimmicks!

The first thing I noticed about the Credo is it's weight. It's not a skimpy shell -- rather, it's got a thin layer of fleece beneath the wind- and water-resistant outer layer, making it the perfect top to bring into the mountains from April to October. It's a good weight for three-season adventures. Not too warm, not too cool. I've donned it during crisp morning belay sessions, taken it off and rolled it in a tee for the next few hours, and put it back on when the rain and winds came blowing in around 3 o'clock. It's been a do-everything top for hiking, alpine scrambles, and long all-day climbing outings. I like having one jacket that does it all.

One feature I found super nice during a recent Colorado summer thunderstorm was the complete waterproofness of the zippers. The clouds came in over Rocky Mountain National Park in the blink of an eye, and the rain was super intense. My old soft shell, despite being fairly water repellent, would leak -- particularly in the chest pocket -- but my Credo withstood the rain perfectly.

I also like how windproof this shell is. I hiked one of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks a few weeks ago and was blasted toward the summit with intense gusts. I cinched the waist cords tight to keep the air from coming up my back, and then I got totally stoked when I realized that the Credo has double storm flaps on the front zipper. I don't know if I've ever had a shell with that feature, and it completely kept the wind at bay. Add that to the taped seams, and I've got a jacket that will protect me from some pretty inclement weather.

I also dig Outdoor Research's attention to detail with the Credo. Take for example the draw cord cinch on the collar -- it's hidden beneath a flap, which is a huge bonus for those of us with long hair. I used to sport a pony tail, and would always get my locks caught in my old jacket's collar cinch. This annoyance just can't happen with the Credo. I also like the fact that the hook and loop fasteners around the cuff are cut to the right length. On some jackets, the closure tab is too long, and the hooks on it rub against the jacket fabric instead of the loop patch. Eventually, this type of jacket will fray and the stitching will blow out. Not so with the Credo.

Sizes: S-XL. Available in black, and two-tone blue, two-tone green, and two-tone orange. A women's version, The Solitude Jacket, also comes in several colors, and in sizes XS-XL

Bottom LIne: All the right moves here. A winner for OR, a big bonus for me.--N.W. (Sept 09)

Price: $170 (half off at Sierra Trading Post), click here to shop - , free shipping at:

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.



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