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A Breathable Bargain: REI Shuksan Jacket with eVent Fabric

Nov 13, 2008  ·  04:53 PM  ·  permalink

REI Shuksan Jacket with eVent FabricThe Shuksan Jacket with eVent Fabric is REI's hardworking mountaineering shell. I've been chomping at the bit to try an eVent jacket for a couple of years, but the Shuksan is one of the first I'm aware of that is widely available--and at $289.00 it's certainly accessible.

If you haven't heard, eVent is the waterproof, breathable fabric that has been touted for some time as a GoreTex killer. It hasn't been fast to reach the market in consumer products, though, so it's been hard to judge for yourself. But if promo videos like the one below are any measure, Gore will have its work cut out.

I've been wearing the Shuksan around for a couple of weeks now, in all types of weather and so far I really like it. The weather in Boulder hasn't been particularly cool yet the Shuksan has never felt the least bit stuffy or clammy. With a light sweater underneath, it's very comfortable when it cools off and provides a nice wind barrier. It also feels comfy when working up a sweat with the dog or riding to get coffee.

The Shuksan's design is fairly minimalist with a breast pocket and two side pockets, two internal mesh pockets (for skins or whatnot), a bottom hem cinch, and full hood adjustments. It does not have a powder skirt, which is a problem for my purposes, but it is really well-constructed with a durable feel, fully-taped seams, and sealed zippers. The breast pocket has a cool three-way pouch presumably designed to hold a range of electronics, but since they are mesh-backed (i.e., open to the inside of the jacket) they will allow your cellphone or iPod to stay warm.

The small fits me nicely and feels true to size. I'll be trying this on the slopes, but whether I or not I like it there, I'll be keeping it as a replacement for my Marmot rain jacket. I think the Shuksan will be really nice for drizzly conditions whether it's warm or cold and not get all clammy like the Marmot.

Specs: REI Shuksan Jacket with eVent Fabric
Price as tested $289.00
Shell Ripstop nylon
Weight 18.5 oz
524.5 gm
Sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors Amber, Graphite, Timber
  • eVent fabric
  • Two-way zipper
  • Drawcord adjustable hood
  • Adjustable hem drawcord
  • Snow-resistant rip-and-stick cuff tabs
  • Two mesh-lined front pockets are placed to clear shoulder straps and hipbelt
  • Two mesh-lined chest stash pockets
  • Two inner stretch mesh pockets hold skins and one has an earphone cord port
  • Windproof to 60 mph


Nov 14 | Ryan Lewandowski said …

I actually bought a Shuksan too. Please tell me you didn’t get the orange, or we’re going to look pretty silly next to each other on the slopes.

I’ve only worn it a few times now, so a full review will have to wait until I get it into the backcountry. This jacket is replacing my old REI soft shell. It’s not going to be as warm as my soft shell by itself, but I think it will be great for layering.

The pocket placement on this jacket is interesting. As you can see in the picture, they’re pretty high. This enables you to wear a backpack with a hip belt and still have access to all of your pockets. That will be a nice feature when I’m hitting the slopes with a pack.

A couple things turned me on to this jacket over some others I was considering. First was the eVent fabric of course. A close second was the inner mesh skin pockets. When I’m backcountry skiing I prefer to put my skins in my jacket instead of taking off my pack and shoving them in there. Not only is it faster, but my body head helps keep the glue warm and sticky for my next ascent. Third, I liked the number and placement of pockets.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent this much on a shell, but I think it’s going to be worth it. I was able to save $60 on mine by using the REI 20% off coupon from last month.

I have a couple early minor gripes:

  • The shape of the breast pockets. I’m used to shoving my hand in there and stuffing in a hat, but these pockets aren’t very wide at the top. They are, however, long and they widen at the bottom. (They go all the way down to the same bottom seam as the lower pockets. ) The reason they’re aren’t as wide at the top is because they run into the tall lower pockets. I’m sure its something that I’ll get used to, and not that big of a deal.
  • The hood. I’d like to be able to roll up the hood and keep it out of the way. Maybe it won’t be an issue, so Ill reserve judgement until later.

Nov 14 | Jason Swihart said …

You’re in luck: I got the grey.

Agreed on the hood—that was something I forgot to mention. Also, I went outside this morning in the slight chill with only the Ibex Shak underneath and, yeah, the Shuksan definitely won’t be adequate by itself (not that I would expect it to be).

Dec 14 | Will Coleman said …

I’m looking at purchasing one of these jackets too. Now as you said you got the small, is this because your short and it works or because it fists better. i’m around 5’11” and usually order large for my clothing. so i’m asking you, should i go down a size than normal or stick with the large?

Dec 14 | Jason Swihart said …

The Shuksan is a pretty typical fit for technical wear—it definitely doesn’t run large.

I’m 5’10” and on the slender side (155 lbs). I could have gotten away with a medium but the small is the right length everywhere, and is more fitted through the chest and shoulders, which is what I am going for. If you have broad shoulders or chest or want a roomy fit, go with a large.

Mar 21 | Troy said …

I have the orange as well but live in another state. A couple of comments on the jacket I have starts with the pockets. I like the Napoleon cut but the pockets all end up in the same place. If you put skins in the inside pockets, an extra pair of goggles, an MP3 player and some power bars next thing you know you have a bulge that sticks out so far I can’t see my skies. The breath ability is awesome. I am that sweaty guy and with some good wicking base layers I have been the driest in my life. That is not to say that I don’t still get wet. the sweat still has to go through the layers but there is nothing more uncomfortable than taking a break and putting on a soaking wet jacket. The Shuksan would be dry after 15 minutes and ready to go. As for the storage of the hood, well that has not been too much of a problem since once it is behind me i don’t even realize it is there even if I am wearing a pack or riding my bike it doesn’t seem to act like a parachute. So far this is the best jacket i have ever purchased and have really enjoyed all of my outdoor activities while wearing the it. I hope everyone else gets just as much out of it as I have. P.S. Don’t forget to wash it frequently to keep the vents from getting clogged from your body oils!

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