Our gear tester at Roam'n Around was never surprised by South Dakota's unpredictable weather because he had a shell to go everywhere with him.

When Mother Nature shows us who’s boss, having a layer that can stash away, but do battle when needed, gives us confidence to get outside year round.

I enjoyed a number of hikes this spring in South Dakota’s Black Hills. But outdoor enthusiasts in the area know that storms frequently pop up over the Black Hills without much notice. On a few such occasions this spring, the weather changed from sun to high winds, rain, and sleet. Fortunately, I had packed my Cotopaxi Palmas Active Jacket ($100).

Cotopaxi Palmas Jacket

The Cotopaxi Palmas Active Jacket comes in Sea Blue (pictured), Slate, and Jungle for men. It's also available for women.

This jacket can be forgettable—packing small and light into its right-hand pocket with ease—but easy to pull out at just the right moment. With a quick zip to open the pocket, I pulled the jacket on me when the South Dakota weather changed rapidly one afternoon. My only coat was my Palmas Active Jacket. With temperatures in the mid 40s and dropping, along with increasing winds, I was hoping this jacket would provide the protection I needed. In short, it did.

I was impressed with how well the DWR finish beaded the rain (and sleet); droplets flew off with a shake. The driving winds and wet snow never penetrated the jacket, plus the pull cord in the hood allowed for quick and easy adjustments when needed.

Besides mentioning how the Palmas jacket is waterproof, windproof, and packable, I feel it is important to mention how well it fits. It is true to my size (large) with a little extra room. This is advantageous because I can wear a t-shirt or a fleece midlayer, and the jacket still fits well.

Some jackets sound loud and crinkly. This one is actually quiet and soft, as it is made with 100 percent polyester.

Confidence and trust built, the Cotopaxi Palmas Active Jacket is now the shell I grab every time I leave the house, whether it is for hiking, biking, or going out to run errands.

How will the Palmas Active jacket sell in stores?

This jacket will fit in well with our lineup at Roam'n Around, as we currently carry jackets similar to the Cotopaxi Palmas Active Jacket. However, there are a few key accolades. The material of other shells is either lighter or heavier than the Palmas, and is typically noisier. The feel, weight and method in which it packs into the right pocket will be easy to convince hikers of all skill levels that this is could be their go-to emergency shell always in a day pack. There are three different colorways to choose from, so I’m excited to show off the Palmas and see what our customers think.

This review is part of our new Retailer Review program, written by retailers, for retailers to help guide their buying decisions and provide brands honest feedback from those selling their products.

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