REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Review
Cons: Cut is slightly on the boxy side, not as durable as other models
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Drypoint GTX is a fantastic all-around jacket. Despite missing our highest award, it's an excellent jacket for hiking or backpacking. We loved it for these applications because it's light, packable, and stormworthy. To meet the demands of outdoor recreationists, its stretchy fabric and top-tier breathability make it perfect for more aerobic activities that demand freedom of movement.
The Drypoint GTX uses a Gore-Tex Active waterproof breathable membrane in a three-layer construction. Gore-Tex Active is Gore's lightest and most breathable material in their Gore-Tex fabric line.
This model's hood was easily one of the best in the review and did an excellent job of keeping the elements out without affecting our peripheral vision. All of our testers commented that no matter how far we turned our heads to either side, our faces never were forced into the hood. The hood features three easy-to-adjust cinches to fine-tune tightness, headwear, and the size of the person's head.
This model features a small internal storm flap at the front which is tucked behind the main zipper. In both real-world use and side-by-side testing, we did not get any water on our base layer, even after directly spraying the jacket down with a hose. After several months of intense testing, the DWR held up well. For activities that involve reaching your hands above your shoulders, this contender featured low-profile but functional and effective laminated Velcro cuffs, which help minimize how much water ran down our sleeves.
Breathability & Venting
After real-world testing and our side-by-side treadmill test, we found the Drypoint GTX, with its Gore-Tex Active waterproof membrane, to offer the most breathable fabric in the review. Our testing found this fabric to be even more breathable than Gore-tex Paclite or air-permeable fabrics — while we were working hard.
The advantage of air-permeable fabrics is that while they might not have a "peak" breathability rate that's as high as some, they keep passing moisture, even after their user has significantly cooled off. After extensive use, we'd still say the Gore-Active is more breathable, as you need a jacket to breathe well when you're working hard.
The Drypoint doesn't feature any sort of traditional pit-zip or major ventilation feature. Its two primary pockets, however, are lined with mesh that can double as vents. These two pockets do an okay job of ventilating and can dump some heat and move a little bit of extra moisture. We found this after a few fall mountaineering trips hiking up an overgrown trail in the rain. In the end, most of our testers thought the combination of the Gore-Tex Active fabric, along with a little extra help with the zip-to-vent pockets, make this one of the most breathable jackets on the market.
Comfort and Mobility
The Drypoint GTX uses Gore-tex Active, which is one of Gore's few stretchy waterproof membranes out there. A generous cut with articulation allows for good freedom of movement. Its cut lets users lift their arms forward or raise them above their heads with only minimal sleeve pull-back or hem raise. These two attributes contributed to this model offering some of the better range of motion, making it suitable for most outdoor activities, no matter how rigorous. The material is unquestionable stretchy and we loved the feel of the inside of this jacket; several of our testers noted they did not experience clamminess when wearing it.
The Drypoint GTX features one of our review teams' favorite hood designs. Not only does it do a fantastic job of keeping its wearer's head dry in a storm but it stayed put during aerobic activities or when the wind picked up. The sleek design cinches in three places, enabling it to snug up around our head nicely, regardless of headwear or head-size. The hood also did a great job of maintaining decent peripheral vision. The hood doesn't really fit over a bike or climbing helmet very well; it can fit over a helmet but it really depends on the bulk of the helmet.
Our testers loved the functionally designed pockets; while slightly on the higher side for classic handwarmer pockets, none of our testers minded. Our entire review team appreciated that you could access these pockets while wearing a pack or a harness and liked that the zippers didn't press into the wearers' hips under a waist belt (while backpacking with heavier loads).
At 10.5 ounces, this award winner is one of the lighter membrane-constructed jackets on the market. It's also lighter than all the Gore-Tex Paclite models, though it should be noted that it is only .5 ounces lighter than the Gore-tex Paclite Arc'teryx Zeta which featured a slightly more durable face fabric.
This model is constructed with 20-denier ripstop nylon and offers enough durability for most backpacking and hiking adventures. Its fabric is slightly thin and thus more prone to tearing, compared to models with beefier exteriors. With that said, this jacket is more than tough enough for the needs of most backpackers, hikers, and mountaineers, and will serve you well.
The Drypoint GTX packs down smaller than all 3-layer construction jackets and was one of the more compressible models in our review. The only two models that packed down slightly smaller where the Outdoor Research Helium II at 6.5 ounces or the Black Diamond Fineline, at 8 ounces. Both of these models compressed down about 20% smaller than this one.
One very small disadvantage is unlike many of the jackets in this review, the Drypoint GTX does not stuff into its own pocket. While we rarely use this feature backpacking (because we more frequently pack it to fill empty spaces), it is nice for day hiking or general use, where it keeps it a little more contained.
At this price, the Drypoint is one of the more expensive models we tested. However, it's one of the least expensive models you can buy with Gore-Tex Active, Gore-Tex's most breathable fabric. The Drypoint GTX's performance characteristics, primarily its combination of low weight, stretchy fabric, minimal packed volume, and excellent stormworthiness was enough to justify paying the extra money.
The REI Drypoint GTX is a top-tier contender that's perfect for any outdoor enthusiast and is a model that nearly any user will appreciate. Low weight and compact size mean it nearly disappears in your pack but it still offers enough storm resistance and breathability for a week long backpacking trip where it rains every day. While its performance will be appreciated by any outdoor enthusiast, it's also ideal for folks walking the dog or a rainy walk to the nearby farmers market. The Drypoint is a true all-arounder.
— Ian Nicholson