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Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra Jacket

I hate wearing frumpy clothes, and I really hate being cold, so it’s always a bonus when I find a garment like Sherpa Adventure Gear’s Vajra Jacket that’s both stylish and functional.

I knew this all-purpose insulating jacket would be ideal for me the minute I read it contained PrimaLoft® One, an incredible ultra-light microfiber that’s compressible, breathable, and, unlike down insulation, highly water-resistant. I’m allergic to down, so I’m glad I can get the benefits of down without the asthma!

The Vajra Jacket is a dream to wear because it’s so thin and lightweight. I love getting so much warmth without wearing a bulky winter coat or piling on layers. The jacket’s also easy to pack; I just wad it up and stuff it into a daypack or messenger back.

I live in a drizzly climate, so winter temperatures don’t get below freezing but it’s often windy and wet, so it feels colder. The Vajra Jacket has been ideal because it’s very warm—I wear it over a long-sleeved lightweight merino or cotton top most days, and never get cold—and it’s seriously water-resistant. The polyester shell material is coated with a water repellent, and it works like a charm. Drizzly rain is no problem at all, and even when I’ve spent short periods of time in heavy rain, the jacket kept me dry.

Surprisingly, the Vajra Jacket is also good in the wind. On a recent outing to Snoqualmie Falls with my boyfriend, the gusts blasting across the observation deck had people grabbing their hats and hunching into their coats to stay warm (which, in my experience, doesn’t work!). We just smiled and looked out at the view with confidence since our jackets were doing a stellar job at blocking the wind. (Click here to read more about his jacket.) There’s a pull cord in the hem I can use to cinch the bottom of the jacket tighter, but I rarely use it.

I appreciate the minimal design around the collar and sleeves. When fully zipped, the collar provides good neck protection. There’s nothing extra around the collar to rub against my skin. The sleeves are slightly tapered, and have a stretchy Lycra hem bindings. So, again, nothing to get in my way, no adjustments necessary, and the jacket stays lightweight and simple.

Stylewise, I really like the Vajra Jacket. It was updated in fall 2011. The longer cut through the torso gives it a more sophisticated look than athletic-type jackets that are waist-length (and it prevents wind from blowing up my jacket and freezing my stomach). I also like the quilting; it’s varied enough to be interesting without getting too fussy. Since I’m an urban gal, I appreciate the restraint used in the decorative elements.  There are several, but they’re subtle. There’s a small “Sherpa” logo near the hem of the jacket and a small red logo icon on the back of the jacket, under the collar, which is repeated in the design of an attractive-but-not-distracting ribbon running the length of the fabric underneath the zipper and in the zipper pulls. Finally, the front zipper pull has a set of prayer flags on it. I love that.

At 6’ tall, I was sure the jacket would be too short on me, but it’s not. I actually have enough length in the sleeves and through the torso. The jacket’s cut a bit longer, so it hits below my waistband (even on low-rise pants). Even not-so-tall women will appreciate the exrta coverage. (The Vajra Jacket is also available in men’s sizes at Campmor.) There's a small zippered inner pocket and two zippered hand pockets.

Available in sizes XS-XL in black, purple, green, brown. Men's Vajra Jacket available S-XL, in black, green, orange, blue.

Bottom Line: A stellar all-purpose jacket for daily wear, outdoor adventures, and travel.-- E.D.(Dec. 2011)

BUY ONLINE: $139, men's jacket on sale for $99.98 at Campmor. Click here for women's jacket.

Also available at 248826_RockyMountainTrail.com

Manufacturer's Site: www.sherpaadventuregear.com

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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.