Review: Endura’s Trusty PakAJak pack jacket

Just what is a pack jacket? It’s pretty simple: a pack jacket is a jacket that lives in your pack. While compactness and light weight are key, so too are fit and function as it’s likely to be a rider’s most-worn piece of outerwear. Perfect (and always at hand) for early starts or when the sun drops below the horizon, the pack jacket should be showerproof enough to keep some unexpected rain from becoming horribly uncomfortable- but not so waterproof that it’s uncomfortable to wear when temps are just a bit cool.

At $65, available in 5 colors, and packable to the size of a pair of oranges, Endura’s Pakajak is just such a jacket. And over the past 15 months its been on literally hundreds of rides. How has it performed? Hit the jump to find out!

In a word? Great. The Pakajak is made of a very thin, lightweight nylon ripstop material. While thin and lightweight rarely cross paths with durable and reasonably-priced, the fabric has done a good job at fighting off the advances of trailside branches. Sure, a good tumble or extra-pointy stick would undoubtedly puncture and/or tear the jacket- but seeing as it’s received no particular care in in my pack or on my back its current condition is impressive.

Out of the included stuff sack, the Endura’s fit is slim enough for road use without ever being restrictive. At 6′ tall, the medium’s sleeves are long enough to cover my sleeves in a tuck- something that’s not always the case. The long tail is appreciated when splashing through puddles and the reflective hits on the ride from the trailhead (more traffic-appropriate colors are available if regular commuting is planned).

Soft enough to be worn against the skin, the Pakajak’s fabric breathes well and is aided by underarm mesh panels. Just this thin layer is enough to take a long-sleeved base layer and short-sleeved jersey down to the freezing mark- and it’s easy enough to stash in a pack or jersey pocket as the day warms. While I never want for more adjustability than the elastic cuffs provide, they’re snug enough to make removing the jacket over gloves difficult- meaning no 20mph wardrobe changes.

While Endura call the Pakajak “showerproof,” the fabric is better at keeping the chill away and will soak through if rain is more than moderate. In other words, it’s more what used to be called a windbreaker than a rain jacket. If storms threaten, it’s best to pack something heavier, but the Endura easily beats no jacket at all when the skies open. For the vast majority of rides, it’s just about right: small enough to always have along, tidy thanks to the included stuff sack, and comfortable enough that I’ve never once avoided pulling it on. This little guy ranks right up there with a mini tool, pump, and snack as a pack essential.

marc

www.endurasport.com

all photos courtesy Kip Malone, Photographer.

Comments

fraser - 04/27/13 - 9:32am

Your poses are badass! :D

Rob - 04/27/13 - 1:36pm

Got one in yellow about a year ago. Very happy. Small, light and good for showers. Can get a little steamy inside but that’s expected given no vents. Also great as a wind breaker. Very recommended.

Milessio - 04/27/13 - 3:29pm

Rob, somebody stole his bike during the first pose, so had to pretend to be riding it for the second!

(I think his saddle is too low, unless he’s popping a wheelie?)

noodles - 04/27/13 - 6:52pm

light drizzle, backwoods poop-pose.

Ill allow it.

thanks for the helmet comparison.

Bayard - 04/28/13 - 11:36am

Sport I use to hate your posts bc you signed them like a letter and took sideways photos. Then the other guys here did weirder things. No that you showed a pic of you riding a clear bike I like your posts.

David French - 04/29/13 - 10:43am

Before this I had a Montane packable jacket, but I decided the Endura one in green was a nice enough colour to justify buying one in itself.
I agree with the comments that it makes an ideal wind stopper as well. The fit is spot on and I personally her no problems getting it on and off whilst wearing gloves. The only downside is it doesn’t seen to pack down as small as my Montane, but it is lighter (mainly it’s the bag that’s lighter a the Montane I’d harder wearing and has a Velcro strap).

Slow Joe Crow - 04/29/13 - 12:17pm

I like Endura’s kit but the Novara Stowable (REI) jacket I use is a better choice since it fits into its own pocket so you don’t need a stuff sack and it crushes down small enough to fit a seat pack or jersey pocket.

Frank - 05/02/13 - 6:37am

Here’s a hint: any (lightweight) jacket can pack into its own arm. Just stuff it into the arm from the shoulder without pushing through all the way. To unpack, grab the cuff and shake wildly. No need for a packsack or a packing pocket.

Pedro LB - 01/15/14 - 4:30am

Just bought one. In red.
Yesterday, on a night ride, took it, as the weather was instable.
Weather conditions – Some wind, and probable rain (didn’t happened), temperature was about 13ºC.
Ride – 22km/ 90mn. 80% offroad, 10% road, and 10% urban.
Rider equipment – Just took a long sleeve base layer underneath the pakajak…
Conclusions:
The fit/ size is alright and is light and compact. However, it doesn’t have any pocket…
Fabric resistance – Seems very good as I encountered some spikes bushes branches that almost rip off my shoulder. Got worried with this.. but no, the fabric is fine.
Moisture/ Breathability – Not good at all, after some 10km, starts to fill with moisture… not happy with this at all. Sweat starts to accumulate, and that’s uncomfortable. My base layer was absolutely full of water… as the sweat did not evaporate.

It’s expensive for what we get….

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