Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $150 - $165 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros: Big net pockets inside, one of the lightest jackets, inexpensive, made in Nepal with fair labor practices.
Cons: No wind flap behind zipper, zipper is fragile and gets stuck easily, does not zip closed when stuffed.
Best Uses: Hiking, climbing, skiing, general outdoor use.
With a couple minor additions, like a zipper on one net pocket on the inside, this jacket would turn into a lightweight must-have layer. But as is, it just barely misses the mark. This jacket is a great deal for its price, and overall it functions really well as a light and compressible insulation layer. It is only slightly heavier and bulkier than the Montbell UL Thermawrap Jacket, and $15 less. If you prefer one that does zip into itself, the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket - Women's has that feature. If you want a thicker jacket, or one with a hood, the Arcteryx Atom SV - Women's is a great alternative, though it is much pricier.
To read more about how this jacket compares to others, check out our Best Insulated Jacket for Women Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Sherpa Vajra is warm, soft and shiny, and surprisingly wind resistant. It is a thinner jacket that fits well under shells.
Compressibility & Weight
If you are just going to toss your jacket into your pack, and attaching it to your harness for a climb isn't important, then this is by far the easiest to stuff jacket. The Vajra has two huge net pockets in the inside, and the whole jacket easily packs into either one, but with no closure once its in there. This makes it compact for squishing in a corner of your already full pack. Once it stuffs in, it does not zip closed and does not have a carabiner loop to make it easy to bring along with you on a climb. Its nice for compacting down, but in our opinion, leaves off the most functional elements.
These roomy net pockets are a fantastic feature on their own – we love being able to stuff extra gloves in there when ice climbing with none of the usual fear of them falling out the bottom of the jacket. They are also perfect for items such as goggles, sandwiches and even small water bottles.
The zipper used on this jacket is low-quality: it is thin, fragile and gets stuck frequently. This makes it especially hard to zip when wearing gloves. There is also no wind flap behind the zipper so the wind cuts through, which is not ideal especially on an already decently wind-resistant layer.
This jacket makes a great mid or outer layer for climbing or skiing. It is on the thinner side so it layers well under shells.
One of the coolest things about this jacket is the company itself. It is a company created by a descendant of one of the original Sherpas on Edmund Hillary's first ascent of Everest, with the intention that he could help make life better for other Sherpas. He only sponsors other Sherpas, celebrating them as the phenomenal athletes they are, and he gives 50 cents from each sale to a fund for children in Nepal. Check out the details.
The Vajra is the least expensive jacket in this review and an excellent deal if you are on a budget but need a synthetic insulation layer. It weighs roughly the same as the Patagonia Nano Puff, but is $46 dollars less. This jacket is completely worth the money, and is made by a company that is worth supporting.
— McKenzie Long
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: September 26, 2013
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