Hunters Element XTR Extreme Hunter Jacket
For those who have read my Ridgeline Monsoon review – you will know, that while I like the jacket, I did want something lighter and more suitable for a layer based clothing system.
Ideally, I was after a hard-shell that was going to be light, easily packable, and obviously waterproof.
Again, like the Monsoon – I was keen on a smock design – as I would generally be wearing either my full pack or my front-pack over it, so didn’t need pockets down low.
I had liked the look of the Hunters Element products – they looked like a progressive company that were pushing technical garments rather than just creating more products to fit into the market.
Light Weight and Packable
Because I was looking at a system that would ultimately spend most it’s time in my pack (weather permitting) – light and packable was important to me. The XTR Extreme Hunter Jacket is certainly both. At 690 grams it’s light – and can roll down into about half the size of my Monsoon. This basically means it’s a no-brainer to include in everything from overnights to day walks – just-in-case things get a bit wet.
Waterproof and Quick Drying
Obviously, a hard shell jacket is fairly pointless if it doesn’t keep the water out. This jacket does.
The XTR Extreme Hunter Jacket is made of Hydrafuse PacSTEALH material. This material has a soft to the touch outer, not as soft as Brushed Tricot, but not as slick as GoreTex or Event. It means it’s a lot quieter than the Gore/Event fabrics, though not quite as quiet as the Tricot or Fleece would be. I don’t really view this as an issue – if I am wearing the jacket, it’s raining, so a little more sound is going to be covered by the rain coming down anyhow. Additionally, single layer fabric system that means the jacket can be lighter (no multiple layers).
I had been wearing it a lot, and the DWR (water repentance) has been worn in a few places – so I recently re-coated the jacket. Good as new!
Design and Functionality
As I mentioned, I like the idea of smock jacket designs – less opening for water to get into, less zips to rub against pack straps – so the design of the jacket appeals to me – 2 large pockets are big enough to store maps or binoculars without any issue, and are waterproof as well. The hood fit’s well and is adjustable depending on how tight a fit you like, and the cuffs and waist can be cinched down nice and snug if the wind gets up. Overall, I like the look of the jacket as well – I have it in the High Country Brown – which means I can just as easily wear it around town as I can in the bush without it looking out of place. This means the jacket is also ideal for trampers and backpackers that want a jacket that is technical, but not in the bright colours that many of the local manufacturers like to produce ‘outdoors’ clothing in. Not everyone wants’s to stand out.
While I have mine in brown – Hunters Element recently also released the jacket in their new Veil Camo – a disruptive, high contrast pattern that heads away from the traditional hunters ‘photo realistic’ camo, and into the realm of digitally generated camo. I had been a fan of the camo’s coming through like ATACS FG, Kryptex Mandrake and Pencott GreenZone camos – soana NZ version was welcomed – the NZ army has recently transitioned from their tradition DPM to a disruptive pattern – so it’s certainly looking like the way camo is going to develop.
I really like this jacket. I gave it a bit of grief recently by trying to push through some Bush-Lawyer – which has caused a few marks on it – but that’s my fault – a future article is going to discuss more about appropriate clothing for bush bashing – a technical jacket is not it.
Regardless, this jacket is coming with me whenever I head out – when the sky starts to open up, it’s going on!