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Product review: The super light Pack Trench jacket
The Pack Trench from Sierra Designs strikes a fine balance of simplicity and versatility. - photo by Grant Olsen
THE GREAT OUTDOORS Spring adventures often bring an accompaniment of rain. While a light drizzle can be an absolute pleasure during a hike, it can cause major discomfort at higher elevations where the temperatures are cooler.

Because hikers arent keen on lugging heavy coats around with them in case the weather gets nasty, lightweight jackets have always been popular. Shell jackets fall into this category, and manufacturers have responded to the demand by taking these jackets to a whole new level of sophistication. Theyre lighter and more effective than ever.

The Pack Trench from Sierra Designs strikes a fine balance of simplicity and versatility. First off, its a sleek shell with very few bonus features. You wont find a built-in compass or a battery-powered hand warmer in the pockets. Because of this, it only weighs 15 ounces.

At the same time, the Pack Trench excels at doing everything it needs to. Its windproof and breathable. Most importantly, it keeps you dry with its three-layer, durable nylon/polyester shell, soft-knit backer and waterproof, breathable membrane. Water beads up and rolls off with ease.

To give more comprehensive protection from the elements, this shell is thigh-length. Another nice feature are the hip zips that give you easy access to your backpack belt, without compromising your coverage. To seal out the cold, it also has adjustable cuffs and hem.

Whether you're out for a stroll in a meadow or attempting a summit, it's wise to have a shell in your pack during the spring months. And the Pack Trench is certainly a solid option for the job.

PRICE: Varies by retailer

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