Monday, May 25, 2015

Gear Review: The New Dare 2B Stalwart Jacket

This morning I finally had the opportunity to test the Stalwart Jacket, a new line of outdoor apparel from Dare 2B, an outdoor clothing company out of the United Kingdom. In addition to cycling, running and snow sports, the clothing company also focuses on apparel for hikers.

And, just in time for the spring and summer season, Dare 2B has launched a new line of active wear which now includes its new Body Seamless technology, which is designed to reduce friction in critical areas during active sports, while ensuring that you'll have maximum comfort at all times and at all levels of activity. As part of this new line is the brand new Stalwart Jacket.

Dare 2B touts the jacket as "the ultimate fast and light defense from the elements". This 4-way stretch shell is waterproof, breathable and is super lightweight. The jacket features taped seams, has a full front zip and underarm zips for ventilation, an adjustable shockcord hem system, multiple pockets, adjustable cuffs, a shaped hood with a technical wired peak to keep the rain out, and has a roll away hood function.

So after hanging in my closet for a couple of weeks, I finally had the opportunity to give the jacket a real live field test this morning. I was waiting for the opportunity to take a walk in the rain to see if the jacket lived up to its billing. Overall I was very pleased.

During my somewhat brisk half-hour walk around the neighborhood in a steady rain, the jacket kept me completely dry. Moreover, at 65 degrees, I worried that I was going to overheat inside the jacket. To my surprise this didn't happen. In fact, I felt completely comfortable during the entire circuit. This surprised me because the jacket is thicker than a standard shell, and even has a light lining. Now, if I had to climb some substantial elevation in these same conditions, the result might be a little different. That, however, remains to be seen.

I also thought that the wired peak feature on the hood was a plus, acting similarly to that of a baseball cap.

My only real complaint with the Stalwart Jacket is with the design of the hood. When turning my head from side to side, the hood wouldn't move. To remedy this I had to pull the hood with my hand in order to see on either side of me.

Americans will also have to get used to the zipper being switched to the opposite side. Maybe its because I'm left-handed, but it takes a little practice to get used to the English/European version. Potential customers should also note that the Stalwart Jacket is cut a little more slimmer than their American cousins.

All in all I thought this was a great jacket, and look forward to using it in the mountains when the weather turns sour.

Grand Teton Hikes

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