The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

REI Co-op Stormrealm - Women's Review

This is a great entry level model; it is affordable and lightweight.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $249 List
Pros:  Lightweight, versatile, affordable
Cons:  Less durable, not best for severe weather
Manufacturer:   REI
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 26, 2018
  • Share this article:
74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection - 20% 7
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Breathability - 20% 9
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 6
  • Versatility - 5% 7

The Skinny

REI discontinued the Stormrealm in mid-2018.

The REI Co-op Stormrealm is a lightweight, breathable hardshell jacket well suited to milder climates and infrequent use. It is not the most durable, but it will provide adequate weather protection for summer mountaineering trips and year-round hiking. This is an exceptional hardshell for someone who needs one sometimes but isn't going to use it all the time.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Stormrealm is an impressive and lightweight hardshell jacket. It performed consistently above average in our tests but wasn't strong enough to outcompete some of the top contenders in this review.

Performance Comparison


The Stormrealm has a simple and effective hood that seals out the weather.
The Stormrealm has a simple and effective hood that seals out the weather.

Weather Protection


The DVAlpine eVent 3-layer nylon ripstop fabric in the REI Stormrealm is light and breathable but doesn't inspire as much confidence in extreme mountain weather. In extended downpours in the Pacific Northwest, we still find that nothing quite competes with Gore-Tex products for weatherproofness.

We always like bottom cinches that help seal you up against the elements.
We always like bottom cinches that help seal you up against the elements.

Mobility


The eVent fabric may be a little less burly, but it is very supple and lightweight, offering improved mobility in a typically plasticky and stiff category of jacket. We liked the use of raglan sleeves to improve arm mobility. And the hood adjusts well, with and without a helmet, so it stays with you when you turn your head.

The many faces of the REI Co-op Stormrealm
The many faces of the REI Co-op Stormrealm

Breathability


The DVAlpine eVent 3-layer nylon ripstop excels at breathability, which might make up for the fact that it is slightly less burly than Gore-Tex Pro fabric, depending on your needs, uses, and climate. This jacket also features pit zips, two of them, which open at either end of the zippered segment under your arm. This is still a relatively rare feature, but we loved it. It means you can unzip a small hole on your arm and torso, and create a draft which more efficiently wicks moisture from your body and out of the jacket. It also allows you to minimize the size of the hole you need to unzip to dump that excess heat.

The Stormrealm fabric is supple  yet burly  and has excellent and smooth zippers.
The Stormrealm fabric is supple, yet burly, and has excellent and smooth zippers.

Weight


At 9 ounces, this is a reasonably lightweight hardshell jacket. It is middle of the road for this review, but perhaps on the heavy side, given the Arc'teryx Alpha SV, one of the burliest jackets we've ever tested, is just one ounce heavier. For the lightest jacket in this review, scope out the inspiring Arc'teryx Beta SL.

Features


The Stormrealm has an excellent collection of features: not too many, and they're simple enough to be light, but enough to add value.

We love the pit zips that unzip from either end of the vent—that way you have more venting options  and you can create a draft by opening small vent holes at either end of the zipper  rather than just opening it up wide and having the fabric flap around
We love the pit zips that unzip from either end of the vent—that way you have more venting options, and you can create a draft by opening small vent holes at either end of the zipper, rather than just opening it up wide and having the fabric flap around

The hood has three adjustable points: the waist hem has two, which are pretty standard and very useful.

The adjustable draw cord on the back of the hood helps it fit and form to your head.
The adjustable draw cord on the back of the hood helps it fit and form to your head.

The pit zips unzip from either end rather than being joined in one spot—we loved this for dual venting options per arm (see Breathability above).

The simple shape and design of the Stormrealm make it a great choice for a lightweight hard shell.
The simple shape and design of the Stormrealm make it a great choice for a lightweight hard shell.

The cuffs have a simple velcro adjustment system, and the two hand pockets are placed high enough to rise above your harness, but they are not waterproof. We love the internal zippered chest pocket. Have we mentioned chest pockets are our favorite feature?

The hand pockets are high enough to allow access even when wearing a harness.
The hand pockets are high enough to allow access even when wearing a harness.

And our favorite: the chin patch is made of ultra-soft microfleece—some of the softest in this review.

We loved the microfleece on the collar!
We loved the microfleece on the collar!

Durability


The DVAlpine eVent 3-layer nylon ripstop will hold up well to potentially catastrophic tears, which is arguably a big and important safety feature in a hardshell jacket. This fabric is not as good against abrasion, however, and can degrade after a lot of miles rubbing under backpack straps.

The cuff is simple and easy to adjust under or over gloves.
The cuff is simple and easy to adjust under or over gloves.

For an inspiring combination of light weight and durability, check out the award-winning Norrona Trollveggen.

Versatility


The Stormrealm is an excellent if basic, hardshell. It is versatile enough for most mountain use, but less optimized for more technical or higher consequence adventures. We liked this one for hiking, biking, and general mountaineering, but not as much for technical alpine climbing.

Best Applications


The Stormrealm is a great model for moderate use and is well designed for hiking and light mountaineering. This is a fully featured hardshell that would be an excellent choice for someone's first hardshell jacket. It is much less of an investment than the rest of the jackets in this review, so if you're not sure you'll use it a lot, but you have to have a legit hardshell for an upcoming trip, this will serve you well.

Overall a great lightweight hard shell!
Overall a great lightweight hard shell!

Value


This model from REI is a great value if you're not going to be an avid user, or if you just need a hardshell for a few trips in a year. At that rate, it'll last a long time. This is also a good hardshell for summer mountaineers who want something light and cheap and don't think they will take it out of their backpack on most of their trips.

Venturing out onto the farm in inclement weather  wearing the REI Stormrealm.
Venturing out onto the farm in inclement weather, wearing the REI Stormrealm.

Conclusion


The REI Stormrealm is a very affordable hardshell. It's also one that makes a great first hardshell for someone just getting into hiking or summer mountaineering, and it is not the most durable or stormproof in this review.


Lyra Pierotti