My New Wet Winter Go-To
Let us just start this off with a bang. This is my favorite clothing piece of 2020. Yes, it had a lot of competition. The Original Pile Jacket and Khroma Tour Infinium Glove from Rab gave it a run for its money. But in the end, this jacket really just excels where so many fell short for me before.
For those of you who do not know, I have a problem. I, every year, add more and more jackets to my closet. I can’t help it. I see a new color, insulation type, insulation weight, stitch pattern, material, and so on and so on, and I just can’t resist. Whelp, this year was no different. Except, I picked up the Rab Khroma Kharve Jacket. At first glance it seemed fairly similar to my Arc’teryx Proton LT and that I had just purchased a jacket in the same category and color as another. This could not be further from the truth. This jacket really is from the ground up built for wet and chilly adventuring.
Starting from the face fabric, this jacket is sporting 30D Gore-Tex Infinium Ripstop Nylon. That makes it windproof and highly water resistant. Here in Northeastern Ohio where the temperatures drop and the snow falls hard for a day only to warm up and get washed away with cold rain showers, this fabric is a godsend. Its tough and durable while still being fairly light weight and flexible. Lining the inside is a recycled 20D nylon so you know its tough inside and out. Then nestled between these two perfect layers is a Stratus recycled insulation. All of this adds up to a piece that is warm even when wet and light enough to have packed away just incase you need it.
Lets briefly dive into some of the little features that really make this jacket stand out. One of the biggest deal breakers for me is in sleeve length and cuff design. The cuff is fitted using elastic but not so tight as to make wearing gloves or checking my watch a hassle. The sleeves are also, thankfully, long enough that I can reach for things from the top shelf without showing off my elbows. The hem is also nice and long so if you are sitting on a wet surface or that breeze is kicking up, its got you covered keeping your butt dry and warm. A large helmet compatible hood is comfortable and roomy enough to fit my watermelon head with ease. On that hood is a small moldable brim that at first had me second guessing the jacket. On the hanger it may look weird, however, in practice I can happily say that it did give my face a little more coverage and protection without me ever noticing it there. The double ended full length YKK Auquaguard Vislon zipper on the front is easy to use thanks to large zipper pulls and work to keep moisture and wind out. Thankfully this jacket has two large from pockets that can fit way more than just your hands. The best part about them, the soft microfleece front panel to keep your hands warm even when gloveless. Stepping inside of the jacket you’ll find two very large mesh stuff pockets which I typically use to hold my gloves but can easily fit a large bottle or a few cans of choice. On the left breast behind the mesh pocket is a zippered stash pocket where you can typically find my wallet. All in all, this jacket sports a very sleek overall look and feel while still packing in a ton of very useful features.
I originally picked this jacket up assuming that my Proton would still be my go-to jacket for most of the fall and winter while the Kharve Jacket would just serve to keep me warm and dry without overheating on wet and rainy winter days. However, I find myself constantly grabbing the Kharve jacket over all my other pieces simply because its comfortable and versatile. The best compliment you will ever hear me give a piece of clothing is that it fits and feels so good I forget I have it on. This jacket does just that while simultaneously providing me with the storage I need to keep my winter gear ready at hand. I can honestly say I have not been this excited about a new technical piece in a while and will quickly recommend it to anyone who needs to stay dry and warm while staying active in these wet winter months.