New eVent shells from REIPosted By Mark on Sep 5 '08
Well, it's finally happened. That wonder fabric, eVent, has been in existence for a couple of years, but before now, there weren't really any mainstream North American companies that had picked it up for use in their outerwear; it was mainly European companies which had used it. But now, REI has released a hard shell jacket and pant for both sexes that uses eVent, reportedly the most breathable fabric out there.
The Men's Shuksan and the Women's Kulshan both have a helmet-compatible hood, exterior pockets which are clear of any potential straps from your pack, and interior stretch pockets. If you'll notice here (www.rei.com/category/1/q/REI+eVent+Outerwear), you can see the fabric working, literally letting the sweat out, as the company claims. It's pretty amazing. REI reports that it lets sweat vapor out up to twice as fast as conventional waterproof/breathable membranes. They are so confident of this that the jackets don't even have pit zips. Amazing stuff, huh? Well, there are some downsides. It's not windproof. Yes, very highly wind-resistant, but not windproof, like Gore-Tex. And, also unlike Gore-Tex, it takes some special care, as opposed to just throwing it in the washer with a powdered detergent. And, the stuff doesn't come cheap. Both the men's and women's jackets retail for $289, with the pants coming in at $229. But are these small prices to pay (no pun intended) for a new wonder shell? I vote for absolutely. Well done, REI!