Great, ultralight jacket; dubious DWR
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
- Fit: Runs small
- Size Bought: Medium
The Germans have done it again-- a blend of merino and nylon that feels like nylon!? What will they think of next? Hopefully a water repellent coating.
I bought this as a three-season kind of garment for use on the, ahem, "high seas" (being near the ocean), fall cycling, commuting, and recreation, and specifically for a few trips I had this fall where I wanted something compact and comfortable that would still provide a tiny bit of warmth.
It met those goals with flying colors. It is super packable and lighter than any jacket I have ever owned. It breathes and will block out a modest amount of wind or a cool breeze and, though you don't want to rely on it in specifically cold weather, I can imagine it would layer very nicely with a wool blend baselayer. Most of the time I was wearing this over a t-shirt or poplin button-down and it kept me sufficiently warm on commercial aircraft, Amtrak, and frigid, over-air-conditioned restaurants in the late summer and early fall in northern climates. The pocket can fit a cellular telephone or a Kindle Paperwhite. Annoyingly, there are no side pockets beyond this lone one, but you get used to this surprisingly quickly. It has incentivized me not filling my pockets with random stuff and then wondering where I put those things weeks later.
The hood is a fantastic design, fitting over my poofy hair with this little elastic band thing over a sort of mini-hood layer, but providing a bit more protection on top.
The claim of a "durable water repellent" coating, however, seems to be among the greater lies told in the history of western civilization, not, by any means, limited to Ortovox. I wore this in a very light drizzle in Chicago and managed to get soaked in a three block walk from the bus to my destination. I am not sure what sort of water this is meant to repel. Mist condensing on the surface of the jacket, but only once before evaporating again?
I have ridden ten miles across the forgotten Midwestern metropolises on my ebike in monsoon-grade rainstorms and arrived, dry as a bone, under Gore-Tex (Marmot, Rab, 45NRTH, Garneau). If you are looking for something that will actually provide any modicum of water protection, look elsewhere.
Fit: I am not a big guy, and people are frequently shocked when I tell them I'm in the 195-200lbs range-- until a recent phase of inadvertent upper body muscle building resulting from months of protracted house projects, I could comfortably fit into a mens 38, almost any medium and many small shirts, and I still wear medium to small size pants. That said, while I can almost wear any medium, this ran small. It will fit over a bulky sweatshirt, for example, but awkwardly, so I usually just wear one layer underneath, for which it is ample and fits well. I prefer a smaller fit and this is *barely* within the realm of tolerance. I have a Marmot Gore-Tex Minimalist jacket in a medium that feels like an old school poncho in comparison and that I can wear over a sportcoat or heavy sweater with room to spare. This is clearly designed for a specifically tighter fit, so, if you are wondering and can usually fit into only some [smaller size compared to your regular one] (as I can some smalls), definitely go with the bigger size.
It's a great jacket. It isn't worth the full price unless you're made of bucks, which I am not, and if I'da knowed that the "durable water repellent" thing was as weak as it is, I probably would have looked for something else, but I am certainly going to make the most of it now that I have it!