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Salomon Explore Stretch Jacket : Right for the Season

My Salomon Explore Stretch jacket, a lightweight shoulder season rain shell was the perfect hybrid jacket to wear for a hiking trip in Washington's Goat Rocks Wilderness.

Made out of water- and wind-resistant fabric with Climapro wind proofing, the Explore Stretch jacket is extremely versatile. Available in both men's and women's sizes, this lightweight and breathable shell is also relatively warm when the temps drop. (I tested a women's jacket.)

Its sleek design, tailored especially for women, made for a comfortable fit without leaving extra space for cold air to enter. At 5'10", I often opt for men's jackets (the Explore Stretch jacket is also available in men's sizes) because so many women's jackets aren't long enough in the sleeves (to get the right sleeve length, I have to go up a size, then end up with a jacket that's too big in other places). The Explore Stretch is the exception. The women's large fit me perfectly.

Simple features, such as an easily adjustable hood and Velcro enclosure wristbands, made all the difference in strong winds. While the weather cooperated most of the weekend, the jacket acted as a wind shield whenever I stopped at a ridge viewpoint or alpine lake to take in views of Mount Adams.

Although my adventures didn't take me to great heights or through extreme conditions, I think the Explore Stretch will be a good choice for me when I go skiing this winter. It's the right size and thickness (actually, thinness) for slipping over a fleece. The only thing I would recommend adding to this jacket are pit zips. Without them, I think I might overheat for some activities such as on cross-country ski or snowshoe trips.   

Bottom Line: This lightweight yet breathable shoulder season rain jacket is ideal for high alpine hiking and can stand up to the snow, too. You'd be hard pressed to find a better fit. --B.B. (August '07)

Price: $200 (on sale now at REI for $139.83, click on below)

BUY ONLINE : , Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping

Manufacturer's Site:

When traveling, pack a jump rope and some rubber tubing so you'll have an instant workout kit when you arrive.

Source: American Council on Exercise

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