Gear junkie: Lightweight jacket good for emergencies

2013-04-04T00:05:00Z 2013-04-04T10:23:49Z Gear junkie: Lightweight jacket good for emergenciesSTEPHEN REGENOLD For The Gazette The Billings Gazette
April 04, 2013 12:05 am  • 

My new jacket has more in common with a plastic bag than a Gore-Tex shell. But that's not a put-down. The Salomon Light Jacket weighs less than an iPhone. Folded up, it fits in the front pocket of my pants.

But in unexpected high winds the thin piece of apparel has saved me from freezing.

Called the S-LAB Light Jacket, this emergency top has a zipper and is made of an ultra-thin sheen of fabric. There is no hood and the fabric does not double as rainwear.

In a time of need, though, the Light Jacket will work in an unexpected drizzle. It blocks wind and offers an outer layer for spring or summer hikes that can add significant warmth.

Essentially a highly-packable windbreaker jacket, Salomon (www.salomonrunning.com) built the piece for runners, hikers and climbers. It offers protection in an instant and a boost of warmth from a package so small you'll never think twice about carrying it along.

The fabric, a synthetic polyamide material, is silky and see-through. It is durable enough to stand up during hikes and normal use, just don't expect to bushwhack in the top.

It is comfortable on bare arms or over layers. The material is slippery and does not stick to skin.

At $80, the Light Jacket costs a margin more than many average windbreakers. But the packable nature of the jacket and its light weight, at about 2.5 ounces, will make it worth the cost for trail runners, climbers, ultra racers, and other members of the "fast and light" crowd.

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