Sometimes when the packages containing test gear show up in the mail, it’s a little ho hum, but other times, there’s something fun in the envelope. I was pretty jazzed to receive the rather flashy chartreuse and blue shell jacket from Stoic, backcountry.com’s private line. I was concerned about the durability of the gossamer-thin fabric—it’s so thin it’s semi-transparent—but after three months of testing, there are no visible signs or wear.
I wondered if the Wraith would even fit, as it only comes in men’s sizing and men’s jackets usually run tight across my bustline. But the cut is a little more generous through the body than I expected. I’m 5’9 and 190, and my boyfriend is 5’10” and 190, and it fits us both just fine. The sleeves are a touch long for me, but I rolled them up and they didn’t fall down. Details are omitted to save weight—there are no drawcords at the waist or hood, though there are zippered hand pockets. I don’t know about you, but I can live without pockets when shaving grams. Thoughtful design features include articulated elbows, a precisely-cut hood and a dropped waistline in the back, long enough to stay put under a pack, despite the lack of a drawcord.
On an uncharacteristically wet day poking around in Eastern Washington's Chewuch River drainage, the Wraith fended off light rain and wind. I put it to a tougher test in the famously damp Western Cascades, and the DWR-coated nylon has just enough water repellency and breathability that my T-shirt stayed dry with temperatures hovering in the mid 50s. But the Wraith is more breathable than it is waterproof (seams are untaped): It won’t keep you dry in heavy rain if you’re standing still, but if you keep moving and the rain isn’t too heavy, it 's just the ticket. Take the Wraith as an emergency piece when the forecast is favorable, or for a quick run on your lunch break.