If you’re spending any time in the outdoors at all, you will need a reliable outer layer of clothing. This is one area where you can spend anywhere from a few dollars to your whole paycheck. So if you’re looking for the ideal balance between cost and quality, I recommend the Thunderlight jacket from Red Ledge!
Let me start by telling you a few basic features about Red Ledge jackets that are necessities. First, it is waterproof, an absolute necessity in any piece of outer layer for the wilderness. Second, a rip-stop nylon outer shell that will hold up when your bushwhacking your way through the forest, climbing rocks, or crawling through caves. You have to know that what you’re wearing on the outside won’t catch and snag and leave you vulnerable. All the seams come 100% sealed as well so you won’t need to worry about any splits or tears here either.
Now let’s get into what really sets the Red Ledge Thunderlight apart from the competition. As the name suggests, this is a lightweight jacket. This is a vital part of my lightweight kit! I love that it doesn’t feel like a burden to throw this in my pack and carry it with me. Next, it’s really comfortable in any weather condition. Being waterproof, it will keep you dry. I have been very pleasantly surprised at how warm this jacket will keep me! I’ve had this thing on in complete downpours and winter snow storms and been very comfortable with only a long sleeve shirt on underneath. It also breathes very well during hot days. With a caped back and mesh pocket vents, it allows air flow when you want it and will also help keep your core temperature stable to avoid sweating. There is also a drawcord running around the bottom of the jacket which can be tightened to keep out snow, rain, and whatever else you’re hiking, crawling, and running through.
Another thing that is a very useful feature is the attached hood. Never make the mistake of buying a jacket like this without a hood! (Trust me, I’ve made that mistake once.) The Thunderlight hood is awesome because it has a built-in visor as well that you can adjust with drawstrings to cinch everything down when it gets nasty out. It can also be rolled up and tucked under to keep out of the way if you prefer. The neck guard is also really useful. I love being able to zip the jacket up over the bottom half of my face!
My favorite feature of the Red Ledge Thunderlight is that it stuffs itself completely into one of its pockets. This makes it that much easier to carry inside your pack or stow away in a pinch. Being self contained, it can tuck away until you need it and it’s not floating around taking up vital space inside your pack. This really is an awesome feature that really sold me on Red Ledge. The newest models even come with a stuff sack if you’d prefer that instead. And even though I’ve had mine for a couple of years, I just discovered a secret pocket behind the neck tag that’s perfect for storing your keys or some spare cash! And it even makes for a great pillow to sleep on at night.
My only complaint with the Red Ledge Thunderlight jacket is that I recently pulled it from the dryer and the inside lining had ripped away from the outer shell on one side. I need to say again that I’ve owned mine for over two years and I probably should have let it air dry instead of putting it in the dryer, but that was a real bummer. So be cautious of that. I will still replace it with a new Thunderlight from Red Ledge because I’ve been so happy with it and the price is great, but just be careful when cleaning it.
Check out the Thunderlight as well as other Red Ledge products at their website: http://www.redledge.com