The REI Stormbolt GTX is a very pleasant jacket to wear that will keep you dry in just about every condition. It has a combination of features that easily bridge the gap between everyday wear and technical performance. It's highly adjustable with a helmet compatible hood and high pockets that accommodate most backpack waist belts. Its one downfall is that the main zipper isn't completely waterproof. However, we never noticed this as a problem on rainy days, just in the lab. Though it doesn't win any awards this time around, it's still a very good rain jacket that our testers thoroughly enjoy wearing.
REI Co-op Stormbolt GTX - Women's Review
Cons: Not pocket stowable, main zip may leak in prolonged heavy precipitation
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Stormbolt GTX is a 3 layer rain jacket made of Gore-Tex 30D ripstop nylon with fully taped seams. It has two hand pockets and an internal chest pocket and features a helmet-compatible hood, velcro-adjustable wrist cuffs, dual-direction pit zips, and waterproof pocket zippers.
In all our outdoor rainy day trials, the Stormbolt never once let us down. Waterproof zippers keep the pockets dry, and the large helmet-compatible hood with a wide brim shields your face effectively. Unlike some other jackets we tested, the fabric itself also never appeared to soak up any water. The 3 layer design of this Gore-Tex rain jacket delivers what it promises. Velcro adjustable wrist cuffs also let you define how you want to keep your arms dry.
The only issue we had with the waterproof ability of this coat came up during our lab testing. We left water sitting on the zippers, and after a time, the pooled water did eventually soak through the main zipper. With a storm flap behind the main zip and the unlikelihood of finding yourself in a situation with that much water hitting the main zipper, we don't think this is a huge issue. If you're planning on standing on the bow of a speedboat in a rainstorm, maybe, but we never had any issues with leakiness while wearing it in the rainy Pacific North West.
The Stormbolt is solidly comfortable to wear. It's a little stiff and makes a muted crinkly noise but is less annoying than many others we tested. The sleeves and torso are long enough to be protective without being restrictive and do a decent job moving with you. We appreciate the two hand pockets that add everyday usability comfort while still being high enough to use with your backpack on.
An internal chest pocket adds additional storage. Microfleece lines the inside of the chin to maintain comfort even when you're fully enclosed in this coat. It also has a collar inside the hood with a long section of microfleece lining that rests comfortably against your neck, adding warmth and security in stronger storms.
And while we love the protectiveness of the hood and brim, because it's helmet-compatible, it's massive and can easily swallow your face if not properly adjusted. It's easy to make those adjustments both on either side of your face and on the back of the hood - though it does turn the hood into a funky shape that looks a little goofy but still works. And while we appreciate the protection offered by the stiff internal storm flap, it easily gets in the way of zipping up and requires a little extra attention.
This coat is more protective than it is breathable, but it's not without some key features that make it a well-rounded rain jacket. The 30D nylon Gore-Tex fabric is solidly protective against the wind, while 12" dual-direction pit zips help vent your warmer areas.
The slightly textured interior adds a small level of wicking ability while still being comfortable on your bare skin. An adjustable hem securely locks down the bottom of the jacket in windy storms and easily loosen again for warmer weather. While we wouldn't choose this shell for something as intense as running, it works pretty well for moderately intense activities like hiking.
Constructed of 30D ripstop nylon Gore-Tex with fully taped seams, the Stormbolt is heartily constructed and carefully designed. It offers just the tiniest hint of stretchiness and withstood everything we threw at it during several months of testing. The only durability struggle we have with it is that its bright red color picked up a few small stains along the way. Aside from that, we're quite pleased with how solid this coat is.
Weight and Packability
At 12.3 ounces, the Stormbolt is one of the heaviest jackets we tested, though this can hardly be considered heavyweight. It's also one of just a few that doesn't stow into its pocket. It can, of course, be rolled up into its own hood, but that package is a bit sloppy and not ideal. This is a jacket that's meant to be worn, not carried.
The Stormbolt is one of the more expensive rain jackets we tested. We certainly think there's a lot to love about this jacket, though. It has excellent features that crossover well between casual dog walks and weekend backpacking trips. If its unique set of features is exactly what you've been searching for, we think the initial investment is a fair price for what you get.
The REI Stormbolt GTX is a rain shell that's easy to love. It combines some of our favorite features for both everyday and more technical uses. Though it's not the most packable option, it's solidly protective, built to last, and well-liked among our testers.
— Maggie Brandenburg