Product review: The super light Pack Trench jacket

Posted May 5

THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Spring adventures often bring an accompaniment of rain. While a light drizzle can be an absolute pleasure during a hike, it can cause major discomfort at higher elevations where the temperatures are cooler.

Because hikers aren’t keen on lugging heavy coats around with them in case the weather gets nasty, lightweight jackets have always been popular. Shell jackets fall into this category, and manufacturers have responded to the demand by taking these jackets to a whole new level of sophistication. They’re lighter and more effective than ever.

The Pack Trench from Sierra Designs strikes a fine balance of simplicity and versatility. First off, it’s a sleek shell with very few “bonus” features. You won’t find a built-in compass or a battery-powered hand warmer in the pockets. Because of this, it only weighs 15 ounces.

At the same time, the Pack Trench excels at doing everything it needs to. It’s windproof and breathable. Most importantly, it keeps you dry with its three-layer, durable nylon/polyester shell, soft-knit backer and waterproof, breathable membrane. Water beads up and rolls off with ease.

To give more comprehensive protection from the elements, this shell is thigh-length. Another nice feature are the hip zips that give you easy access to your backpack belt, without compromising your coverage. To seal out the cold, it also has adjustable cuffs and hem.

Whether you're out for a stroll in a meadow or attempting a summit, it's wise to have a shell in your pack during the spring months. And the Pack Trench is certainly a solid option for the job.

PRICE: Varies by retailer


Grant Olsen joined the team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. He is also the author of the book "Rhino Trouble." You can contact him at


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