Dunham Nimble: Over the Hills, and Through the Woods
These eye catching shoes live up to their name, and then some. Read about these shoes and other trail products in our upcoming issues.

REI Groove Jacket : As Good As It Gets

I've been looking for a good soft shell jacket for a long time, and the REI groove jacket is as good as it gets as an outer layer. Made of 98% windproof Polartec Power Shield and abrasion-resistant nylon, this jacket provides excellent protection from the elements. It's also lightweight and has a soft, cozy fleece lining.

I've worn my Groove jacket back country hiking,
walking through the woods, and boating at my cabin with my brother (and his crazy friend who sprayed water
everywhere--I was the only one who stayed dry). In each instance, I stayed warm and found this jacket to breathe quite well. In addition to its excellent windproof capacity, the Groove jacket protects against moderate levels of rain quite well.

I know true outdoors people aren't supposed to care about the look of a product as long as it performs well, but the Groove jacket really stands out for its design (as well as its durability). I like the sleek, streamlined fit--more important, I can wear it comfortably under my backpack. The zippered pockets are perfect for carrying keys, mini-flashlights, maps, and other small items. And when the weather turns nasty, I can tighten the hood to make it fit like a cap that hugs my head and keeps me toasty and dry.

Another one of my favorite features: I can share this jacket with friends. Over the past month, six of my differently-sized friends have borrowed my Groove jacket--and it fit each of them like a glove. It's a little bit different on each person, but seems to conform to many different body types.

Bottom Line : This soft shell has it all: comfort,
resistance to the elements, breathability, and style. Don't head off into the woods without one.--K.M. (Aug '04)

Price: $249.00 men's, $239.00 women's.

Manufacturer's Site: www.rei.com


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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