ProView – La Sportiva Hail Jacket

A native Vermonter and former bike and ski racer, Dan was involved in a bike accident that left him with a paralyzed right arm and other injuries. After moving to Colorado in August of 2013, Dan connected with Paradox Sports in June of  2014 has been hanging around since. Always at home in the mountains, Dan can be found skiing, hiking, and climbing with friends when ever possible. Although still a noob, he has an affinity for multi pitch slab climbing and is a “stalwart” of the Front Range Adaptive Climbing club. As an ambassador he looks forward to helping introduce and share with other all the great things he has experienced and gained since becoming a member of Paradox Sports. – Paradox Sports

The weather in Colorado is its own animal and I am always struggling to have the right layers for all conditions. I was stoked to try the La Sportiva Hail Jacket because of the way it was advertised, which is: a light, versatile, waterproof, and highly packable shell for when the weather turns south. So far this is exactly what I have found, and the Hail has quickly earned a permanent place in my pack for every adventure.

Hail 2

During recent trips to Shelf Road and Yosemite I climbed in cool and windy conditions. Perfect temps for sending, but not so much waiting at the base. Layered over my standard kit of a base layer and R1 hoodie, this jacket cut just the right amount of wind and held in just the right amount of heat to keep me feeling comfortable all day.

Hail Jacket

That being said, there are no pockets for your hands. When hiking around or wearing the Hail in town this isn’t too much of a big deal, but when standing around in a harness waiting for your turn on the rope sometimes it’s an issue. However, that can be fixed by moving and keeping your hands busy.

Hail 3

The breathability of the Hail Jacket is great. It does not completely block the wind, but as I mentioned, it cuts it just enough so that I don’t get chilled and allows the air to pull excess moisture out. I found that the waterproofing works well for small squalls and light rain, and it kept me dry and comfortable.

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During sustained rain I did feel like water was getting in through some seams and that the zipper needed to be fully zipped to keep water from coming in from above. That said, when I pulled my phone from the chest pocket it was bone dry and there was no signs of water getting in there so more testing under forced retreats will be needed.

Hail 5

Fit and color on this piece are pretty much what you would expect from La Sportiva: bright, slim fit, euro – traits I am not afraid to admit I am a fan of. Euro seems to fit my lanky 6’2” frame great. Aided by the stretchiness of the fabric, movements never feel restricted in the Hail and I never feel like I’m carrying around a parachute-worth of material. This also aids the packability, which is good enough that I don’t ever question bringing it. Packed it barely took up any room, and I had plenty of space for my other gear.

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Pros

  • Fit is great for my tall, lanky frame.
  • Fit and material make packability a non-issue. Will always be in my pack or hung from my harness. Great for surprise storms.
  • It is actually breathable and cuts the perfect amount of wind and water. When layered it will keep you comfortable all day!

Cons

  • Fabric not as durable as most shells so be careful when jamming and around features where it could snag.
  • Might not cut enough wind for some situations.
  • Price :/  MSRP: $199.00
  • Is it really a jacket?

The debate is still out amongst my friends on whether this is a jacket or a shirt (because of the light weight and lack of pockets), but they are definitely getting sick of me talking about how much I like the Hail Jacket. The fit is superb, colors are fun, and performance is fantastic. As I said before, it now has a permanent home in my kits. Nice work Sportiva!

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