REI is a big-box style outdoor manufacturer and retailer based in the US (most goods imported) and most of us are familiar with them. Today I’m going to share my experience with their Kimtah rain jacket which is primarily constructed of eVent, a high-end waterproof breathable material.
- eVent/Nylon construction
- Front zipper with storm flap
- Dual zippered front pockets
- Zippered chest pocket with earphone port
- Adjustable hood with brim
- Fully seam sealed
- Total weight 14.5 ounces on my scale (Men’s Medium)
- Suggested Retail Price – $239
Prior to owning this jacket I have tried some of the lighter ‘disposable’ types, which are not very durable and usually offer either decent rain protection or decent breathability, but not often both. I’ve also used a heavier, inexpensive, rain jacket which was plenty durable, offered good rain protection, and so-so breathability… of course it was a bit too heavy to carry in the pack. I had been wanting an eVent jacket to cut down on weight while gaining performance, especially in the breathability department. I found the Kimtah on clearance at REI (about a year ago) for $89 so I grabbed it.
It’s a good looking jacket. Although not the lightest out there, it does give a good impression of durability and appears to be very well made. It is fully featured which most people will appreciate but minimalists will frown on. The fit is athletic, or ‘active’ in REI jargon, which just means it’s close fitting. It could be worn over a down sweater, for example, however it’s going to compress the down a bit.
Since owning it I’ve had it out on a handful of hikes and trips, including the Lost Coast, Marin Redwoods area, Desolation Wilderness in winter, and to the Arenal area of Costa Rica where it saw a lot of use. I’m tall and thin (6′-3 165 lbs) and the medium fits just about perfectly for me. The rear of the jacket is slightly longer to keep rain from sneaking in when sitting, reaching, etc… The hood is great and the brim actually works. The close fit and adjustability make it impossible for the hood to be blown off my head when I’m all zipped up; some jackets fail in that department which is a huge letdown. I also like that the cuffs have adjustable closures, and they are even cut at an angle so they don’t bunch up when my hands are in the pockets.
I probably could do without the zippered pockets but they do sort of serve a dual purpose; the lining of the pockets are mesh-like so they act as a sort of vent when unzipped. This goes for the chest pocket also. Still I probably would have preferred to have just the chest pocket and pit vents instead, which this jacket lacks. Yeah, they say with eVent you don’t need pit zips… but ‘they’ say a lot of things.
The breathability of eVent is great. I’m not noticeably clammy whilst being active, yet the jacket doesn’t wet out after extended time in the rain. It’s no mystery why high-tech 2½ and 3 layer materials such as eVent have become popular choices in the outdoor industry.
- Breathes Well
- Fit and Finish are great
- Good balance of features, performance and weight
Not So Much…
- The (full retail) price
- Would have preferred dual pit zips to dual pockets
- Wish it was a 2-3 ounces lighter 🙁
Famous Last Words
In the world of uber-expensive rain jackets the Kimtah is a pretty decent value… especially if you find it on sale or clearance. Hike It. Like It.