Monday, March 09, 2015

Gear Closet: Rocky S2V Provision Jacket

Summit Day on Kilimanjaro is a long, grueling push to the top of the mountain that begins early hours of the morning, and continues well into the afternoon. It is a difficult scramble up the side of the mountain that – if you're lucky – eventually culminates with you standing at Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the African continent. On the day that I summited a few weeks back it was a cold, windy affair that threatened to make the final push to the top a very uncomfortable one. But fortunately for me I was wearing a new Provision Jacket from Rocky S2V, which proved to be the perfect shell for my high alpine pursuits.

Built from the ground up for outdoor adventures, the Provision Jacket features a form fitting cut that is designed to keep you warm and dry, without inhibiting your ability to move freely. Made from 4-way stretch polyester fabrics and combined with a blend of Hydro IQ, this is a jacket that is meant to repel even the harshest of conditions you'll face during your favorite outdoor activities. In fact, it can resist a torrential downpour, shrug off sleet and snow, and continue to keep you both warm and dry, even when mother nature is throwing her worst at you.

Rocky S2V has incorporated Aerotherm insulation into this jacket to make it the warmest shell possible without adding undue bulk and weight. Aerotherm is made from aerogel, which you may recall was being tested as part of a ultralight, but incredibly warm, climbing suit on Everest a few years back. In this case, the Aerotherm is woven into the chest and arms of the Provision Jacket to provide extra warm and protection from the elements. This wonder-material is unbelievably thin, and yet it is still both water and windproof, something that came in very handy on Kilimanjaro, where the howling winds on the summit would have bitten through lesser materials.

The fantastic design of this jacket doesn't end with the high tech fabrics that are used to keep the elements at bay however. In fact, there are a number of very nice touches woven into this jacket that help to make it a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts who find themselves braving poor weather on a regular basis. For instance, there are numerous pockets both on the exterior of the jacket and the interior, which can help to keep important items organized and close at hand at all times. On top of that, the designers at Rocky S2V also wisely incorporated easy access pit-vents under both sleeves, giving the wearer the ability to regulate their temperature without sacrificing any of the protection that the jacket offers. I found that this feature came in handy while on the ascent of Kilimanjaro, allowing me to stay nice and cool even when I was working hard. But when the situation changed, and I needed to bundle back up, a quick zip of the vents had me warm and cosy once again.

Other nice features include the inclusion of Recco Advanced Rescue Technology into the jacket, which emits an electronic signature that search and rescue and medical first responder units can use to  locate a missing or injured person. An integrated snow skirt, a helmet-ready hood, and an easy to adjust drawstring for fitting help to round out an already impressive package.

As if that wasn't enough, Rocky S2V even includes a nice little kit of "survival essentials" for use with the jacket as well. That kid provides users with some indispensable gear to keep with you at ll times. Items like a signal mirror, an emergency LED flashlight, a company, emergency whistle, and so on. Each slides efficiently into one of the many pockets on this jacket, giving you an extra sense of security while out on the trail.

For me, Kilimanjaro was the ultimate testing ground for this jacket, and it couldn't have performed more impressively. On Summit Day, when I needed it most, it kept me warm all the way to the stop, and prevented the very strong winds from delivering a chill on what could have been a very long, and uncomfortable day. Even after we successfully topped out on the mountain, I wasn't safe from the wind and the cold. That evening we camped at 18,700 feet (5700 meters) in the snowy crater of the volcano, and the Provision Jacket continued to perform incredibly well there as well.

If you're looking for bullet-proof shell to protect you from the weather on your outdoor adventures, you'll be hard pressed to find a better choice than Provision Jacket. It is tough, durable, looks good, and performs even better. Considering everything that this jacket has to offer, the $274.99 price tag is actually quite a bargain as well. Whether you're climbing in the mountains, snowshoeing or skiing in the backcountry, or on a weekend backpacking trip, this is the kind of jacket that you'll want to have with you. Armed with the Provision Jacket, rain, sleet, snow, and wind will hold no fear over you, nor will they prevent you from achieving your outdoor goals.

Great jacket. Great design. Great price. What more could you ask for?