Misty Mountain Rain Jacket by ISIS

Just as Seattle residents know about rain, ISIS knows about making women feel feminine in clothing. From curvy, fitted styles to beautiful, sassy colors, ISIS looks fabulous. I recently put their ISIS Misty Mountain Rain Jacket to the test in some perfect conditions: Seattle winter rain.

I spend most of my “rain jacket moments” on the trail rather than running around town, so I was excited to see how this little beauty held up. There were a couple hitches and a couple disappointments. But first, the things I loved. This jacket is offered in three colors: Marine, Papaya  and Royalty, which if I was naming them, would be called teal, bright orange and dusty fuchsia. All three are bright and lovely, but the teal is exactly “my color,” so I put it on. One of the big selling points for a jacket like this is its heavier weight. It has more to it than just a slick shell, but still light enough to pack down into a backpack. It adds little to your total pack weight.

The ISIS Mountain Mist jacket succeeds in its stylish detailing, pretty zipper pulls and crisp design. The inside fabric pattern is another unexpected “pretty little thing.” I was a little worried that such a delicate-looking piece of outerwear wouldn’t do well in the rugged outdoors (next to my Army surplus canvas it looked more than a little out of place). I was also worried how it would wear with a backpack, but it did fine on both counts. The fabric darkened, as if the waterproofing was failing, but I didn’t get wet.  It was comfortable and worked well with my backpack’s shoulder straps. The whole thing folds into itself using one of the side pockets flipped inside out. It also has easy care instructions: throw it in the washing machine. Gotta love that.

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It’s a pretty basic coat in function, but has velcro cuffs,  finished like the zipper pulls and bungie clips, and my very favorite unexpected thing: a fortune in the pocket. I opened the left pocket to put my hand in, pulled it out and read it. I was grinning ear to ear because it had the ISIS logo on one side and said this on the other:

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Now for the unfortunate parts. Waterproof jackets in Seattle are a tricky thing. Even if the outside does a good job, it’s hard to tell during a three-hour hike because everything gets wet regardless of whether the jacket failed or not. That said, the outside of the jacket beaded water for my first 3-4 wearings. It worked like the old rubber kind that the fishermen swear by. But after that, it began to soak through. On my fifth hike in the rain, the fabric turned dark in spots and looked as though it was soaking through. I am not certain that there was any actual leaking because everything everywhere is clammy after hiking in a deluge, but the jacket touts breathable technology to keep you dry. I didn’t see that. I was very clammy (whether through sweat or rain) by the time that fifth hike was done. In light rain, and weather that most reasonable people (Seattle area hikers excepted) would consider hiking in, the jacket did a very fine job.

The zippers are waterproof and remained so. They functioned well in keeping me dry at points of entry, but I had a hard time moving the zipper pulls along the rubberized fabric that waterproofs the opening. In general all the zippers were sticky like other waterproof zippers, but I had trouble making them open and close without both hands and a lot of effort. These aren’t pockets you can open casually while you’re just hiking along.  – specifically starting the main center zipper was difficult. I wrestled it to get the end seated enough to pull it up. When I had to do that with cold, wet fingers, it was nearly impossible.IsisEK02

My biggest peeve is the Velcro wrist closures. They work very well for their function, but the hook side of the Velcro is very hard to the point that it drew blood when it came in contact with my skin. Let me explain: Toward the end of one hike, I’d become hot and sweaty enough that I unzipped and pulled down the hood even though it was still raining hard. At one point I wiped the raindrops off my forehead and the Velcro on my sleeve caught my skin and slashed it. My forehead was bleeding. I wrote it off as a fluke, but not 40 minutes later I did the same thing again (shame on me). Then I demanded that my hiking partner compare the velcro on his rain jacket with this one. It is much harder, sharper and easier to slice yourself on than any of the other 3 jackets I have with Velcro on the sleeve. Sadly, I wasn’t just having a bad day. One other time when I wore the jacket I also succeeded in cutting myself with the Velcro. It seems like a really bizarre complaint, but the Velcro sleeve closures on this jacket are nearly lethal! I’d challenge ISIS to make their velcro closures as soft and feminine as the rest of the jacket.

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Pros:

-Pretty, feminine, stylish

-Great colors

-More rugged than it appears

-Easy care

 

Cons:

-Sharp velcro (it drew blood!)

-Sticky zippers

-Rainproofing seems to fail occasionally

 

Summary:

The ISIS Misty Mountain is a beautiful rain jacket with sweet, feminine details. It works well in a light to medium mist and under low to moderate stress out in the back country. It would make a great outer layer and keep you completely stylish while running around town, but in a deluge in the wild country, I’d trade style for functionality and choose another option.

Technical Data:

Manufacturer: American Rec (parent company for ISIS)

Date available: Now (on clearance in some stores and at ISISforwomen.com)

Manufacturer’s Website: ISIS for Women

MSRP: $99

Actual Weight: 13.4 ounces

Materials: 2.8 oz nylon ripstop w/XPR™ coating and DWR finish, Velcro, nylon cording

Size/Model tested: Women’s Large

Colors Available: Marine, Papaya  and Royalty

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