Recently the team at Woolrich sent me one of their newly-revived Mountain Parkas, a re-release of a much beloved design from 1978. Over the weekend, I got the chance to take the jacket outside in a bit of the SoCal rain … which people from most other parts of the country would probably refer to as “light drizzle.”
The jacket has the same cut and stylings of the old-school model, with a few modern improvements. The lightweight Ramar cloth has been treated with Teflon waterproofing – and the few times I was caught in mini-downpours it worked admirably. Rain beaded up on the surface and rolled off very quickly. The front of the jacket still has four surprisingly large velcro pockets, but now there’s also an internal zippered pocket with a loop for headphones, too.
The light jacket gets a bit more body with its interior 80-20 wool liner in an attractive red and black plaid. This adds a little bit of warmth but I don’t think it’s enough to make you want to take this jacket out in any legitimately frigid winter conditions – although it’d probably be a decent outer layer on a SoCal snowshoe trip when the air temperature’s a bit higher. I was very comfortable in the rain over the weekend, although I tend to run a bit on the warm side.
Unfortunately, the lining in the jacket is about as much layering as you’re going to get. Sizing on this coat seems to be a bit off for a lot of people. I usually wear a small or medium on my outer layer. When Woolrich said the only size they could send me was a Large, I was a bit concerned … but my arms and shoulders fit snugly in this coat beneath a t-shirt and light flannel, while the front definitely looked about two sizes two big for my frame. It’s odd to have a jacket fit properly in one area and be so oversized in another – and if I had gotten my usual size, I don’t think I would have been able to fit into this. That said, the jacket does have several internal cords to help fit more properly, but it’s definitely something to be aware of if you’re ordering one online.
The jacket retails for $179, which in my opinion is a bit too much for the use you’d get out of it. The style and look of the jacket are great and the fitting issues can be compensated for as long as you plan on buying a size or two larger than you’re used to, but I don’t know how often you’d reach into the gear closet for this piece. Its not quite warm enough for a full winter coat and we don’t really get that much rain here – although I did find it to be excellent at keeping me dry.
He has also been featured on Good Morning America, NPR, and the Associated Press, as well as in documentaries for Columbia Sportswear and the OTIS College of Art and Design.
Casey is currently writing a book on day hikes in Los Angeles for Mountaineers Books.
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This post was written by Casey Schreiner on November 19, 2012