Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra jacket

Sherpa's Varja jacket is warm, weatherproof, attractive and the perfect piece for times when a big, puffy jacket is a little too much.

Big, puffy jackets are wonderful things, but when air temperatures are cold, and not frigid, it’s great to have a thinner piece, such as the Vajra jacket from Sherpa Adventure Gear.

This fall, members of the SNEWS® team tested a women’s and men’s version of the Vajra, which is made of ripstop nylon and is filled with synthetic Primaloft One insulation. From the remote corners of Montana to the mountains of north Georgia, our reviewers tested the Vajra in temperatures ranging from the upper 30s to the mid 50s, and came away very impressed.

First of all, our male and female testers gave glowing reports concerning the fit of the jacket, and noted that it has a low profile and fits close to the body without being too snug. It’s not boxy, but also not overly fitted -- a perfect balance between the two, really. As a result, the jacket offers a good range of motion and never feels restricting. Plus, our testers were able to wear a couple of layers beneath the Vajra, with room to spare.

The overall look of the jacket is very clean, with subtle stitching and thin, soft bands of elastic Lycra at the neck, cuffs and hem of the jacket. Our testers said the elastic material did a good job of blocking cold air from entering, and they liked the low-key elastic cuffs versus those with bulkier hook-and-loop closures. “It provided a nice air-draft seal, but the elastic didn’t pinch the wrists,” said one tester. “I also liked the elastic on the waist, which allowed for a custom fit when zipped.”

The jacket is also lightweight (women’s medium: 10. 9 ounces, men’s large: 14.3 ounces), and compresses down to the size of a football. “I was able to stuff the jacket into one of its inner pockets, so it was easier to stuff in a backpack,” noted our female tester.

The two pockets on the interior of the jacket are large and made a great place to store gloves and a hat. The zippered hand pockets on the exterior are lined with fleece, so they are soft to the touch and help warm your hands.

Our testers found that the Vajra is well suited to handle windy conditions and even light rain. The full zipper at the front covers the neck well, and there are no edges or scratchy materials to irritate your neck. Also, the DWR coating on the jacket stood up to light and moderate rainfall, and the ripstop nylon effectively blocked wind. While we wouldn’t wear this jacket in a deluge, it’s nice to know that the jacket is outfitted with synthetic insulation, so it will dry quickly and retain some ability to insulate if soaked.

Of course, one way to measure the value of a jacket is simply how often you go to it, whether you’re headed out for a hike or a trip to town. And our testers said they’ve been wearing their Vajra jackets consistently since they first put them on. “Overall, I just really liked this jacket and it has become my go-to piece for hikes and on the street,” said one tester. No doubt, the Vajra has claimed a center spot on the coat rack.

SNEWS® Rating: 5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: $130

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