Thursday, October 22, 2015

Gear Closet: Dare 2b Provision Jacket

Now that fall is fully upon us, and winter is closer than we think, it is time to start thinking about the layers we'll be using to keep us warm during the colder months ahead. After all, our outdoor activities don't stop just because the weather gets a bit chillier and the snow starts to fly.

A good jacket is essential to enjoying the winter weather, allowing us to stay warm and dry even when the conditions around us are deteriorating. That is exactly what the Provision Jacket from a company called Dare 2b has been designed to do, but it also delivers some nice features, while managing to look good too.

For those not familiar with Dare 2b, it is a U.K. based company that has been making outdoor apparel for more than 15 years. The company prides itself on creating products that are not just highly functional, but fashionable as well. They use an array of high tech fabrics in their line of clothing, providing apparel that performs at a very high level whether your cycling, running, hiking, climbing, skiing, or just traipsing around town.

The Provision Jacket falls into Dare 2b's mountain line of products. Both waterproof and breathable, the jacket has all the features you would expect from a shell that you would take into an alpine setting. Its outer fabrics are adept at repelling moisture, and the inside of the jacket is lined with a warm, soft fleece that feels great against the skin.

The cuffs, hem, and hood can all be adjusted to dial in the exact fit you're looking for, which comes in handy when wearing this with additional layers, on in the case of the hood, a helmet. The hood is also fully removable in case you find you don't want or need it at all times.

Dare 2b has also incorporated a number of pockets into the Provision jacket. There are two very large zippered hand pockets, each with a soft lining s well. There is also a zippered pocket on the left wrist which is great for keeping small items close at hand, such as energy gels or a small flashlight. Additional pockets are stitched into the interior of the jacket as well, two of which are large enough to carry a water bottle.

Other nice touches include taped seams that help to repel moisture and pit zips that aid in venting when you work up a sweat in the mountains. The jacket is also made from four-way stretch fabrics that allow you to move well on active excursions too.

This jacket is a bit bulkier than similar products that I've used in the past, but part of the additional thickness comes from the inner fleece lining. This isn't just a waterproof, breathable shell that fits over your other layers. It actually has some substance to it, which allows it to be warmer on its own, without the need for a mid-layer for instance. Of course, you can always add another layer if you need to, but in all but the most extreme cases, you probably won't feel the need.

I wasn't all that familiar with the Dare 2b line before meeting with them at Outdoor Retailer this past August. What I saw was outdoor apparel that was designed well, looked good, and offered solid performance at affordable prices. The company is still trying to break into the North American market, and the Provision Jacket is a nice entry point for them. And since it sells for just $112 it will certainly be an attractive option for outdoor enthusiasts on a budget.

I am impressed with the build quality, design, and overall performance of the Provision. It is warm, performs well in foul weather, and won't crush your wallet. It also happens to look good, making it a great option for both the backcountry and around town. If you're in the market for a new jacket, and want performance at a great price, take a look at what Dare 2b has created here. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

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