REI Co-op Stormbolt GTX Review
Cons: Average weight and compressed size, bulky cut
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Stormbolt GTX
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|Pros||Great weather resistance, long-lasting DWR, breathable, pack-friendly pockets, helmet-compatible hood maintains good peripheral vision||Top-tier storm-worthiness, mobility and range of motion, hood design, long-lasting DWR, exceptional breathability, harness and hip-belt friendly pockets||Stormworthy, versatile, durable, comfortable, high level of ventilation||Great storm protection, above average breathability, no clammy feeling, packs tightly into reversible stuff pocket, deep helmet-compatible hood, less crinkly||Incredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume|
|Cons||Average weight and compressed size, bulky cut||No ventilation options, expensive, no easy way to clip to a harness||On the heavier side||Average freedom of movement, less stretchy than most other air-permeable models, fit, low handwarmer pockets could be more functional||Wets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior|
|Bottom Line||Top tier weather protection and breathability, coupled with an excellent set of outdoor oriented features make this one of our favorite models for soggy excursions into the backcountry||This stormworthy and function focused model is exceptionally versatile, offering some of the best performance in our review||A fantastic all-around shell with some of the best ventilation features out there, in a fairly light, durable, and stormworthy package||This jack-of-all-trades jacket offers some of the best weather protection and durability for an air-permeable model||One of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Stormbolt GTX||Arc'teryx Zeta SL||Outdoor Research Foray||Outdoor Research Microgravity||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (18%)|
|Packed Size (7%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op...||Arc'teryx Zeta SL||Outdoor Research...||Outdoor Research...||REI Co-op XeroDry...|
|Measured Weight (Medium)||14.5 oz||10.9 oz||16 oz||14.5 oz||12.5 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||3-layer GORE-TEX||2-layer Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof breathable laminate||2.5 layer Gore-tex with PacLite Technology||Ascentshell 3L||2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite|
|Face Fabric and Layer Construction||30-denier ripstop nylon||40-denier ripstop (N40r) Gore-Tex Paclite Plus||50D w/ Gore-tex PacLite waterproof breathable membrane||100% nylon stretch ripstop||Polyester|
|Pockets||2 hand||2 hand pockets||1 chest pocket, 2 hand pockets||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand|
|Are lower pockets hipbelt friendly||Yes||Yes||Almost||No||No|
|Helmet Compatible Hood (not only fits but not too tight)||No||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Stows Into Pocket?||No||No||Yes||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
One of REI's higher-end pieces of rain gear, the Stormbolt GTX is a function-oriented piece of storm protection geared for the outdoors. With some of the best weather protection in our review, along with raised, pack-friendly handwarmer pockets, a helmet-compatible hood, and a layering-oriented fit, this is a jacket that any outdoor enthusiast will appreciate.
The Stormbolt uses a 3-layer construction with a Gore-Tex membrane. It performed exceptionally well in all of our tests, proving to be one of the absolute best models at keeping us dry, even for extended periods in heavy rain. After directly comparing it to the rest of the products in our fleet, via a series of hose and shower tests, as well as a week-long backpacking trip in the North Cascades, it truly impressed all of our testers.
It took longer to "wet out" than some in our fleet, and its hood, front zipper, and cuffs did a great job of sealing out the elements. Its front zipper isn't a true waterproof zipper, and it's designed with a
minimal storm flap on the bottom; however, this was not an issue for us during testing.
All of our testers loved the oversized hood; it features a wide range of adjustments, yet still maintains some of the best peripheral vision of any model we tested. It easily fit over nearly all bike or climbing helmets, but still cinched down nicely on just our bare heads. If you have a particularly bulky helmet, this model should still fit — it just might be a little tight.
Breathability and Venting
The Stormbolt's Gore-Tex fabric is among the more breathable options in our review, particularly if we are working hard — which is when you generally want a jacket to breathe more.
Air-permeable models have a generally lower, but more static level of breathability. In contrast, this amount of breathability in this model (and all other Gore-Tex options) fluctuates more depending on internal heat build-up, and to a lesser extent, external temperature. When we were building up heat, say during a hike, this model (as well as most others in our review featuring Gore PacLite Plus and Gore-Active) breathed better than models featuring an air-permeable fabric, such as the Outdoor Research Microgravity or the Rab Kinetic Plus. However, these models performed better if it was exceptionally hot and humid out, or once we had cooled off (say, while setting up camp), and allowed us to keep drying out.
Comfort & Mobility
The Stormbolt's articulated shoulders offer decent mobility. We could reach our arms straight in front of us and straight up with, minimal movement at the hem and cuffs.
While we liked the freedom of movement, we do think some of this mobility comes from its slightly boxy cut. It isn't so big that you need to size down, but it is slightly on the bigger side, and is certainly cut with layering in mind.
Our entire review team absolutely loved the pocket set up, particularly for those looking for a more outdoor-focused piece of rainwear. Its handwarmer pockets are slightly raised, keeping them accessible, even with the waist belt of a pack on. More importantly, having the pockets raised up of the way means they are unlikely to pinch your hips if the zipper gets pinned under the waist belt. We like the single, Napoleon style chest pocket, which was big enough to fit a smartphone, and was completely waterproof.
At 14.5 ounces, the Stormbolt weighs an average weight among models in our fleet. As far as a hardshell goes, it's on the lighter end of the spectrum. It's on par to other models in its price and performance range. It's still light enough for most backpackers and hikers, and packs in significantly more weather protection than any sub 10 ounce model. While it is a little heavier, it provides better weather protection for only 4-5 ounces more of weight.
Similar to weight, this model is pretty middle-of-the-road in this metric. It's compressible enough for most outdoor enthusiasts and is ideal to carry as a just in case layer.
While this model offered okay weight and packed size performance, these two attributes are what kept it from earning our top award. The
Arc'teryx Zeta SL offered similar performance characteristics for weather protection and breathability, and was 3.5 ounces lighter and 15-20% more packable, pushing it into the top spot.
This model is made with 30-denier ripstop nylon and is reinforced with a slightly thicker 40-denier ripstop nylon in the shoulders/waist. This was fairly average, with the Stormbolt providing middle of the road abrasion and tear resistance. Our review team was impressed by the longevity of its DWR, and its ability to bead water and not wet out.
The Stormbolt is fairly expensive; however, it presents a good value. It bring a high level of performance, particularly among jackets in the sub $200 range, particularly in weather protection and breathability.
The REI Stormbolt GTX is a top-tier contender; it's perfect for any outdoor enthusiast, and brings across-the-board performance that any user hunting for a reliable rain shell will appreciate. From its raised handwarmer pockets to its oversized hood, the majority of this model's features are geared towards outdoor users. It also boasts excellent weather resistance and breathability, and is prepared to keep you dry for days of stormy weather when out on the trail.
— Ian Nicholson