Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: REI Thorofare Jacket

The San Francisco Bay Area is a great place to live.

It's got scenery, great places to eat, great places to drink, diversity, all that stuff.

And the weather is generally mild.

By "mild" I mean, it's often not in-sync with the rest of the world.

There's a claim that Mark Twain said: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

I have no idea if that's true, but it's certainly a statement I've heard others utter.

A reality to living in the Bay Area, especially in the City or East Bay, is that you need to have a jacket with you most days out of the year.

Doesn't usually have to be anything heavy. Just another layer for those days when the fog rolls in while you're taking an out-of-town guest on a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Okay, in that case, it's best to bring polar fleece or somesuch, but in most other circumstances, I've found a light jacket suffices.

As such, I'm always on the lookout for a good light jacket.

I define "good" as:

  • Not too heavy
  • Breathable
  • Looks nice
  • Comes in a color I like
  • Has a fair number of pockets. The more, the better.
  • Affordable
I have previously used several other kinds of jacket. I have a jacket I got from TAD Gear, but it's getting a bit threadbare and they don't make that particular type anymore. The closest I've seen since is their Pathfinder Jacket and that's not really what I'm looking for.

I've gotten a Duluth Trading company coat or two, but those are generally on the heavy side.

I've tried out the ScottEVest jackets before, but I have found they are not generally breathable enough for me and tend to have a few other issues that make me shy away.

So we get to REI.

I've been an REI member for quite some time. I find that funny given that I'm hardly the outdoors type. I originally joined 'cause I found myself buying a lot of bike gear there, then some garments, then bags/luggage, then disaster kit stuff and the next thing I knew, I was a regular when I could afford to swing by.

When you're an REI member, you get a dividend sometime around March that's based on how much you spent the year prior.

I didn't personally spend all that much (though, upon reflection, that may not be true...), but I have family who use my REI number when they make purchases, and that helps add up.

My dividend arrived with REI's 20% off coupon.

THAT makes things interesting. With the two, it's often possible to buy something substantial - good shoes, a nice bag, etc. - for a very reasonable price or simply with the entirety of the dividend.

Took me a while to get to the Thorofare Jacket in this post, huh?

I saw it while perusing REI's site for candidates to spend my dividend. It appealed to me. Given REI's extremely-flexible and customer-friendly returns policy, I figured this was as risk-free a purchase as I'd make this year.

I ordered it and it arrived Friday.

I'm in love.

The Thorofare is very comfortable. It's soft and light without being too light. Has enough substance to it that it feels like a layer while not burdening me. It's breathable and claims to be water repellent. I may test that later, should the promised rain arrive.

The colors please me. The exterior pockets have zipper closures and they're not the flimsy, sticky kind of zippers. These are solid, smooth-action zippers. There's three interior pockets. Two are deep pockets for maps, books, whatever. The third is a tiny, velcro-sealed pocket. Probably for change or a small MP3 player or something. I dunno.

There's snap cuffs on the sleeves and the jacket closes with both snaps and a zipper.

All-in-all, it's far better than I expected. This may well be my new favorite jacket.

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