July 5, 2012
It must be tough being a cheap, light, easily packable jacket
It must be tough being a cheap, light, easily packable jacket. Most of your life is spent at the bottom of a Camelbak rubbing shoulders with forgotten unpalatable energy gels, punctured tubes and rusty multi-tools. Little loved and seldom thought about, you sit there waiting. Then, when called into action, big demands are made of you; keeping people dry without wetting out, or causing them to sweat to death and being labelled a boil-in-the-bag jacket. You might even be referred to as the ‘emergency layer’; a big name for a little jacket. Expectations high, financial outlay low. The Endura Pakajak is one of those jackets.
The Pakajak isn’t an out-and-out waterproof, Endura labels it as ‘showerproof’ and that’s about right. I’ve managed to wet it out on minging commutes and prolonged death marches across the moors; it’s happier acting as more of a windproof with light rain repelling qualities, and if you choose one of the more colourful options it’ll also stop you getting run over on the road or help you get found by mountain rescue on the hills.
The jacket is made from 100% polyester with ripstop so it should, despite its fragile feeling, go the distance; especially if you keep it in its stuffable bag to protect it from wear and tear while in storage. The addition of vents on the sides seems a bit unnecessary to me, I’d rather do without and decrease its bulk and weight. It’s a windproof after all,if I have this jacket on I want to keep warm. Either that or I’d rather do away with the vents and have the jacket be able to be stuffed into its own pocket; as it is there are no pockets, so the stuff bag can end up being, er, misplaced. Ahem. When fully stuffed the bag measures 13cm x 7.5cm, which means it’ll stuff into a jersey back pocket for those mid-summer rides where the sky has a tint of doom on the horizon and the 158g weight means it won’t trouble your backpack either. The bag has a little hook which allegedly means you can get it to hang from your saddle rails, but why you’d want to I’ve yet to fathom as it doesn’t seem terribly secure and looks like the mountain bike equivalent of a bum-bag. Maybe it’s for our road brethren.
The cut is on the slim side, fine for us skinny boys but if you’re ‘average-plus’ you might want to go up a size; the line between slim-fitting sex bomb and too-tight sex pest is a fine one and if you don’t realise it your mates will. And they’ll tell you. Elastic on the cuffs and hem keep the wind out and you looking aero, which will please Strava heroes.
Whilst there are cheaper jackets, more waterproof jackets, more compressible jackets and lighter jackets, the Pakajak does a fine job of combining enough of all of these to make it a solid partner who’s happy enough waiting for the moment to prove itself to you in an unexpected shower 20 miles from home.
Overall: Much like a keen trail puppy the Pakajak will follow you everywhere without complaint and with a wag in its tail. Just make sure you don’t rip its legs off asking too much from it.