Gear Box: Sierra Designs Jive Jacket


Summer may not have officially slipped away just yet, but its days are certainly numbered. The changing of the season will bring a rainbow of colors to the trees, not to mention cooler temperatures and crisp fall air. While that won’t slow down our outdoor adventures of course, it will change the clothing we wear while out on the trail and add to our packs. During the warmer months of summer we can often get away with lightweight gear and a simple rain jacket, but as temperatures drop, we’ll need something more substantial.

Climbers and backpackers looking for an excellent shell to keep them warm and dry in the months ahead need look no further than the Jive Jacket from Sierra Designs. Built to take on the worst weather conditions, the Jive is a perfect addition to any gear closet and great companion on any adventure where the weather could turn bad.

The first thing I noticed about the Jive was how incredibly light it is. Weighing in at just 15 ounces, it’s hard to believe that a jacket this light can perform as well as it does. Even better, the shell packs down to an incredibly small size as well, which means it doesn’t take up much room in your pack either. That combination of attributes means that you won’t have any excuses for setting out on a hike without bringing the Jive along.

The jacket uses lightweight, yet breathable, fabrics to keep you comfortably dry while on the move and in a variety of conditions. Of course, these days most gear manufacturers boast about their breathable fabrics in all of their marketing materials, but few actually live up to the hype. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sierra Design’s Cocona Xcelerator fabrics more than met my expectations in this regard, allowing moisture to exit the jacket, while preventing rain from getting in. Integrated pit vents under each arm further aid in keeping you cool in a variety of weather conditions.

You only need to pull on the Jive one time to realize that a great deal of thought went into the design of the jacket. For instance, two spacious chest pockets are within easy reach, even while wearing a pack, and an interior pocket helps to keep your most important items secure and dry. High quality, heavy duty, waterproof zippers abound and the adjustable cuffs and hem help you to adjust the fit as needed. Throw in a helmet-compatible hood, and what appears to be bomb-proof build quality, and you have a product that gets nearly everything right. The jacket even looks great, both on the trail or while kicking it around town after your adventure is done.

The Jive does seem to run a little large, so keep that in mind when sizing. The extra space does come in handy when using the jacket as part of a layering system however. This isn’t a knock on the jacket in anyway, just something that should be pointed out for potential buyers.

The Jive is a fantastic rain jacket, and thanks to its high level of breathability, it is more versatile than most competing products. Sierra Designs has a real winner with this jacket, and I’m incredibly impressed with the entire package. I have a feeling that this is one piece of gear that I’ll be using for a long time to come.

MSRP: $279

Kraig Becker

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