In Canada’s Yukon, weather is unpredictable. Despite it being mid-August, when RFT Editor Anne Weaver and I headed for a week in this great northern land, we both took along TravelSmith’s Anorack Rain Jacket (item #60176) – just in case. And I’m glad we did because TravelSmith’s Anorack Rain Jacket saved my life, not once, but three times!
When we packed for our Yukon trip, the first thing I noticed was the jacket’s carrying case. “What the heck is this?” I thought. “Why would this jacket come with this silly little Velcro-flapped carrying case?” I folded the jacket up and slipped it into the case. Voila! It fit neatly, snuggly, and took up very little space in my suitcase. Good thinking, TravelSmith.
The first two days of our trip, the temperature in Whitehorse was warm, even hot. As we traveled onto Dawson City, the site of the Klondike gold rush, we turned on the RV’s air conditioner and I mused, “Why did I schlep this raincoat with me?”
We pulled into Dawson City at 6 p.m., just in time to board the Klondike Spirit, a sidewheeler paddleboat that offers tourists and residents cruises up and down the mighty Yukon River. It was the first time TravelSmith’s Anorack Rain Jacket saved me.
As the sidewheeler churned through the silty water, a stiff breeze blew off the glacial water. Burr! Feeling smug that I’d tossed in my little carrying case with the rain jacket, I unpacked it, put it on, and zipped it up. Instant warmth! I pulled the collar up against the breeze and the soft microfiber completely stopped the wind.
Despite the relief from the cold, two things bothered me about the jacket: the fussy zipper and the baggy cuffs. The jacket’s zipper is metal, but lightweight, a good thing for keeping packing light. However, if you don’t get the zipper perfectly lined up, one side tends to zip up, and it’s tough to get the zipper back into place to close it properly. Even more irritating for me are the cuffs, which are too big, allowing cold air up the sleeves and making the jacket feel sloppy. The cuffs are closed with sturdy snaps. A second snap or even a piece of Velcro could resolve the baggy cuff issue.
I did appreciate the attractive styling of the TravelSmith jacket, including its zip pockets and the drawstrings that enable the wearer to pull the jacket in at the waist. The neat styling combined with the Anorack’s soft, lightweight fabric make this rain jacket feel more like a comfortable, casual jacket rather than a bulky rain jacket.
After our chilly sidewheeler cruise, the weather warmed again and I didn’t give my rain jacket another thought. We celebrated Discovery Days in Dawson, experienced the breath-taking Top of the World Highway, and survived a slow, dusty convoy over washed out roads that took two hours to travel 13-miles, before finally landing in Haines Junction, a little town bordering the snow-capped St. Elias mountain range, where the weather was a balmy 70.
However, the following day, we woke to the beginning of fall. Wind howled off Dezadeash Lake and rain drops spattered the windshield. Despite the unsettled weather, we jumped at the opportunity to hike and use the canoe owned by the folks at Dalton Trail Lodge.
We set out on the trail to St. Elias Lake, talking loudly to alert any nearby bears of our presence. The rain held off and, an hour later, we arrived at a small, picturesque lake and the Lodge’s aluminum canoe. There’s nothing more fun than canoeing, but there’s nothing quite as hard or cold on the knees and legs as the bottom of a metal canoe on the water. TravelSmith to the rescue! I’d cleverly packed my TravelSmith Anorack Rain Jacket in its handy pouch and it made the perfect canoe cushion, keeping me comfortable and allowing us to slice through the crystalline water until threatening weather and common sense forced us to call it a day.
The onset of fall continued the next day when we returned to Whitehorse to meet cookbook author Michelle Genest. Despite the cool weather and periodic rain, we decided to forage for wild berries to go with the meal Michelle had planned for us. Both RFT Editor Anne and I donned our TravelSmith Rain Jackets. They kept out the cold and we never felt the raindrops. Once again, my TravelSmith Rain Jacket saved me.
By the time we flew home, our TravelSmith Jackets and their carrying cases were pretty dusty and dirty. Following the washing instructions on the label, I popped them into the washer on cold; then into a warm dryer. Both jackets came out looking perfectly soft and winkle-free and ready for our next adventure.
What about really cold weather?
After returning home, I learned that TravelSmith’s Anorack Rain Jacket has a Thinsulate liner available (item # 60178), so I ordered one. I was glad I did. I took the jacket with its liner with me on a trip to Quebec City in mid-November. The temperature ranged from 20 to 50 Fahrenheit and when the wind howled off the St. Lawrence, it felt really cold. But my TravelSmith’s amazingly impervious fabric kept me warm. The addition of the liner Kept me snug and the jacket’s collar, which stands up, made a good windbreak for my neck and face. Once again, TravelSmith’s Anorack Rain Jacket to the rescue.
Real bottom line: TravelSmith’s Anorack Rain Jacket is a lightweight, versatile traveler that takes up little room in the suitcase, but delivers plenty of wind and rain protection. The optional liner makes it even more versatile for colder weather. This jacket isn’t one you’d take in extremely cold weather, but for most traveling weather, this jacket with it’s button-in Thinsulate liner is just the right weight. Its fashionable styling makes it terrific for both the back country and the city.
To resolve the too-big cuffs, I had a friend add a second snap (we couldn’t add just part of a snap because TravelSmith uses a proprietary snap that we couldn’t match). It’s not a perfect solution, but it snugs up the cuffs and makes the jacket more windproof and fit more neatly. This is a great all-around travel jacket. By adding a second snap and resolving the fussy zipper, TravelSmith’s Anorack’s rain Jacket could be the best travel jacket out there.
— Real Tested by Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT editor