Dynafit Traverse Gore-Tex® Jacket

Dynafit, a company with a long history serving serious athletes with performance gear and apparel, calls its brand new Traverse GTX Jacket “one of the lightest and most minimalist Gore-Tex® Active Shell jackets on the market.” It’s minimalist indeed, with a lean cut, tapered sleeves to eliminate the need for Velcro or snaps, welded seams instead of glue or stitching, no pit-zips and only one small zippered breast pocket. These elements combined with its super light weight, respectable water resistance and the high breathability of 3-layer Gore-Tex® Active Shell fabric, are married in the Dynafit Traverse Gore-Tex® Jacket to deliver an impressive product for strenuous wet-weather outdoor pursuits.

I put the jacket through its paces this fall with several extended road and trail runs in the rain, a full-day hike to a high lookout and climbers’ camp in mild dry weather and another extended hike through rocks and brush to a pass with snow flurries and serious wind chill, followed by a 4-hour descent in steady heavy rain. This is what I found:

 

Dynafit Traverse Gore-Tex® Jacket

Pros:

  • Lightweight – at 9.2 oz, few truly breathable hardshells are lighter[1] – and it packs quite small (think 1L Nalgene).
  • The jacket was impressively waterproof, with no moisture inside or even that ‘clammy feeling’ after 4 hours hiking in a downpour – and the generous adjustable hood and visor and the high collar kept my glasses and face dry through said downpour.
  • During strenuous hikes and extended runs in 65o weather, the jacket kept me reasonably cool. Yes, I still broke a sweat, and I did have to stop to adjust layers partway, but I would have been much more uncomfortable in a traditional hardshell. It also offered excellent insulation from cold wind.
  • The fabric is soft but tough, resisting abrasion and puncture from trailside rocks and brush.
  • The athletic cut was flattering and afforded great comfort and mobility.

 

Dynafit Traverse Gore-Tex® Jacket

Cons:

  • The gathered-elastic tail of the jacket with no added length in the back meant that the back rode up when not held in place by a pack waistbelt; and once it had ridden up, the collar and hood no longer fit as well. This was a serious irritant on extended runs without a pack – I kept having to tug it down. Even when pulled down to its full length it was a bit short, well above my tailbone – I prefer a jacket long enough that it doesn’t drain rainwater onto my rear.
  • Yes, the fabric is more breathable than traditional hardshell fabrics – but still, on long intense workouts in warm rain, the heat and moisture exchange properties of the jacket would be helped immensely with the addition of pit-zips. Yes, this would probably pop the jacket over the magic 10oz threshold, but for its target market of very active outdoor runners, skiiers and hikers, it’s still very light, and the ability to shed heat and sweat is paramount.
  • The front breast pocket is too small: maybe big enough for an iPod (no headphone hole) and some ID or cash, but far too small for a phone.
  • The price: at $370, this jacket is quite a splurge.
  • NOTE: The jacket runs a bit small.

Dynafit Traverse Gore-Tex® Jacket

Bottom Line:

In the Traverse GTX jacket, Dynafit and Gore-tex® have partnered to create an impressive product for intense cardio pursuits in wet weather. A few small improvements seem warranted, and it may not be worth the price for less intense pursuits, fair-weather adventurers, or for those willing to carry a little more weight or put up with a little more sweat and more frequent adjustment of layers. Still, for extended, strenuous hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing or trail running, the waterproof breathable comfort, toughness, style and very light weight of this jacket make this my go-to rain jacket for the future.

Dynafit Traverse Gore-Tex® Jacket
 
Tech Specs:
Manufacturer: Dynafit
Date available: 2015
MSRP: $370
Weight (listed and actual): 9.2oz
Materials: 100% Goretex® Active-Shell
Size Tested: Women’s M (44/38)
Colors Available: Seafoam green, orange

 

[1] Mountain Hardwear Blazar Pullover at 7oz, Haglofs Gram Comp Pullover at 7.2oz, Patagonia M10 at 8oz. Based on Outdoorgearlab.com, all three have durability issues and two lack a full zip.

Dynafit Traverse Gore-Tex® Jacket

$370
Dynafit Traverse Gore-Tex® Jacket
7.8

Weight

9/10

    Comfort

    8/10

      Price

      2/10

        Waterproofness

        10/10

          Fit

          10/10

            Pros

            • Lightweight
            • Impressively waterproof
            • Both breathable and insulative
            • Soft but tough fabric
            • Flattering and comfortable cut

            Cons

            • Short back rides up
            • Lack of pit zips
            • Small breast pocket
            • Pricey
            • Jacket runs small
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