Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Golite Tumalo Rain Jacket Review

I suppose it's fitting that it's raining while I write this.  I'll be climbing Mt. Whitney for the second time at the end of August and am slowly putting my gear together.

I recently upgraded my rain jacket to a Golite Tumalo and have been testing it over the last week to see if it's the one I want to bring.  Verdict?  It's definitely the one I'm bringing.



The Tumalo is extremely compact and lightweight yet still offers full protection.  The Pertex Shield DS fabric really is waterproof, breathable, and stretchy making for a comfortable ride even in a downpour.

Last weekend, I wore mine on the Maid of the Mist beneath Niagara Falls.  While everyone else who wore the disposable plastic raincoats they hand out was soaked with sweat, I was bone dry wearing my Tumalo:

Golite Tumalo vs. Niagara Falls.  The Tumalo won.

Here's a quick video I shot just a few minutes ago in my backyard showing how well the jacket sheds water without wetting:



Waterproofing and breathability aside, I also like the cut of the jacket.  It's very comfortable and not confining like many other rain jackets I've had for backpacking.  The sleeves, hood, and torso all have ample room to give you freedom of movement without feeling like you're wearing an oversized garbage bag.  BTW, I'm 5' 10" and a size medium fits me perfectly.

For a 10 oz. jacket, they sure did pack a lot of nice features in (some that are missing from many much heavier jackets).

The hood is just the right size and has a nice cinching system that isn't too complicated or that adds a lot of weight.  It has a visor though it's fairly small and isn't reinforced.  They probably did that to save weight and it's fine with me since I usually wear a baseball cap anyway to keep the rain off my glasses:



Pit zips with a minimalistic zipper are a nice touch and are rare in a jacket of this weight:



Hand pockets are water resistant with ergonomic, yet light zipper pulls:



Two huge interior mesh pockets are large enough to hold a Nalgene bottle.  This gives me lots of internal storage for glasses, a camera, or anything else that I want to keep dry, yet close at hand:



Overall, I'm very happy with this jacket.  I think Golite did a great job keeping the hardware minimalistic to reduce weight but still be functional and comfortable.

My only nitpick is the elastic cuffs.  They aren't tight enough to seal around my wrists so if I have to raise my arms to adjust my hood, water can trickle in:



It's not a deal breaker by any means but it would be nice to have adjustable cuffs to prevent this.  I'm sure they could do it for another ounce or so.

If you're looking for a lightweight rain jacket for backpacking, the Golite Tumalo is definitely worth checking out.  For the $150 price tag, I haven't found an ultralight rain jacket I've been this impressed by.  So when I post my pictures on Mt' Whitney, you'll see me sporting my ocean blue Tumalo--that is, if it rains.

What are you currently using for your UL rain jacket?
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18 comments:

markswalkingblog said...

Jason, thanks for the write up. I am very interested in this Pertex fabric and I am looking at this jacket as well as the Montane Minimus, so this was very useful information.
Mark

Breck said...

I've been looking for a new jacket and searched out this one after seeing your review and found it new for $60! I couldn't pass up that type of deal.

Stick said...

Jason, nice review. I too have this jacket and my feelings pretty much match yours. The only other thing that I would add is that I swapped the little foam hood cinches with some micro cord locks. I didn't much trust those foam cord locks for much. The new cord locks add zero weight and it was super easy to do.

Jason Klass said...

Breck,

WOW, nice deal! That's almost 50% off. You won't be disappointed.

Stick,

I know what you mean about the foam vs. the cordlocks but I've had other jackets with the foam and have never had a problem. I'll keep an eye on them. You're right, micro cord locks don't weigh a thing and are more secure.

MIke W. said...

Awesome. Jason, thanks for the timely review. I was just starting to look for a jacket that was a bit more breathable than my Golite Virga. The Tumalo sounds like a winner. I'm looking forward to getting mine - ordered yesterday.

Eugene Smith said...

The Tumalo jacket is selling for $90 over at Mountain Plus Outdoor Gear, and the pants in L, XL for $36... I'm not affiliated in any way, just passing a smoking deal along.

Jason Klass said...

Breck & Eugene,

Jeez, you guys find the best deals! I need to talk to you before I pay full retail price for my next gear purchase!

Breck said...

Google Shopping is your friend. It lead me to my deal at mpgear.com. $60 with with free shipping is tuff to beat.

Brian said...

Wait a minute... it can rain on Mt. Whitney? Oh crap that changes everything :-p Great review, I'm actually in the market for a new rain jacket.

Some old guy said...

Packa.

Ray Anderson said...

I still use my Marmot. I bought it nine years ago, and it weighs a bit more, but it is indestructable.

Jesse Herche said...

Im not sure if your still checking this. Whats the long term looking like? Does it wet out?

Jason Klass said...

Hi Jesse,

I'm happy to report that after a lot of use hiking, fishing, and daily wear, the Tumalo hasn't wetted through yet. Feel free to email me if you have specific questions.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

How breathable is it during and after strenuous exercise? TIA

Gary said...

Our University of Alabama patented personal solar desalination product (U.S. Made) uses no electricity, can be taken anywhere and extracts pure water from any contaminated water source. It removes radiation, fluoride, salt, pesticides, bacteria, dirt and other contaminants from any water source.

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Josh Jacobson said...

Hey Jason, is this review of purely the Tumalo or is it the Tumalo Trinity? Either way what's the difference?
Also, what sleeping bag do you use, just curious?

Adriana said...

Tumalo rain gear is 50% off at golite.com right now.