|ZPacksô Challenger Rain Jacket
Made from Waterproof-Breathable Cuben Fiber - eVent
This is the third generation of our Waterproof Breathable Cuben
Fiber Rain Jacket. We have dubbed it the "Challenger Jacket" after
our 2014 Great Outdoor Challenge test hike. In our testing the strength, waterproofness, and
breathability have all proved to be very good. The jackets are breathable
enough to sleep in or hike in if it is cold out without getting
clammy, and the durability can handle typical trail wear and tear.
Constructed from 1.62 oz/sqyd Waterproof Breathable Cuben Fiber
material! The material is a three layer laminate consisting of an
eVent membrane on the inside, Dyneema fibers in the center, and a
thin layer of nylon on the outside. It is thick enough to withstand
light brush and abrasion from your backpack, while still being among
the lightest possible choices for WPB rain gear.
- The eVent Membrane provides industry
leading water vapor transfer. The jackets are
completely waterproof, while still being breathable
enough to sleep in or hike in if it is cold out
without getting clammy. On a warm day you will still sweat
just like you would in any jacket if it is too hot,
but this is about as comfortable as you can get.
Armpit zippers are an available option for additional
venting in warmer weather.
- Dyneema fibers provide extremely high tear
strength and rip-stop qualities.
- A thin layer of Nylon on the outside gives
the jacket abrasion resistance and allows the fabric
to by dyed a nice solid color.
- As with all Cuben Fiber material,
repair tape sticks extremely well so repairs in
the field are a cinch.
- Full length water proof front zipper.
- Adjustable elastic at the waist, cuffs, and hood.
- Fitted Hood with stiffened visor keeps water off your face. A
small strap on the back of the hood allows you to make vertical
adjustment to keep the visor out of your eyes.
- The hood is not specifically designed for a helmet, but it is
a decent fit over a Climbing, Skiing / Snowboarding, or Cycling
helmet. When the hood is
worn over a helmet (photo) it can only zip up to chin level
rather than up to your nose.
- Bonded seams! No seam sealing necessary.
- Packs up a little bit smaller than a soda can. Roll the jacket up and secure it with the waist
elastic. No stuff sack necessary.
- Combine this jacket with a Rain Kilt or a pair of matching
Pants and Mitts for a super light rain
- A chest pocket with a waterproof zipper is standard. The
pocket is positioned just below where your sternum strap sits, so
that you can easily access the pocket while wearing a backpack.
The pocket is roughly 8 inches wide by 9.5 inches tall. It is the
perfect spot to store your rain mitts, phone/GPS, maps, or a
- The back of the hood has a strap for vertical adjustment. This
allows you to pull the brim up out of your eyes if you have a
smaller head. The same strap can also be used to roll up the hood
and tuck it away if you aren't wearing it.
- Waterproof Armpit Zippers are Optional. They aid in venting
when it gets hot, but they may not be necessary for everyone. They
add $15 and .4 ounces (11 grams).
- This material is machine washable, but Line Dry it, or air dry
on low heat. High heat can shrink Cuben Fiber!
- 1 year warranty against defects in materials or workmanship on
all ZPacks gear.
|5.1 oz (145 g)
||5.5 oz (156 g)
||5.8 oz (165 g)
||6.3 oz (179 g)
|Fits Chest Girth:
||Fits up to
36" (91 cm)
|Fits up to
38" (97 cm)
|Fits up to
42" (107 cm)
|Fits up to
46" (117 cm)
|Actual Chest Girth:
||40" (101 cm)
||42" (107 cm)
||46" (117 cm)
||50" (127 cm)
|Actual Bottom Hem Girth:
||40" (101 cm)
||42" (107 cm)
||46" (117 cm)
||48" (122 cm)
(nose to hem)
|30" (76 cm)
||32" (81 cm)
||32" (81 cm)
||32" (81 cm)
(back center of neck to cuff)
|35" (89 cm)
||37" (94 cm)
||37" (94 cm)
||39" (99 cm)
My chest is about 37" around. I am comfortable in a size Medium
jacket which is about 42" actual chest girth. Measure your chest using a string
or cloth tape measure. Add at least 4-5" for wiggle room and
layering. It generally doesn't hurt for a rain jacket to be baggy
if you have to choose.
The jackets are straight cut (like Men's jackets) and do not flair
out at the hips. They are fine for women, but make sure your hips
will fit the bottom hem girth, or size up.
The length of the standard jacket zipper is 32" (81 cm). The
zipper zips up to just below your nose. Stand up straight and measure from
the bottom of your nose down to see how long the jacket will hang.
There is also an option to upgrade to a 40" two-way zipper that
comes down almost to knee level.
The Sleeve Length is measured from the back
center of the neck to the
cuff. They are generously sized. Compare against a jacket you own
if in doubt.
Machine Washable. Line Dry. Do not dry any Cuben
Fiber Gear on high heat or it may shrink or delaminate.
Jackets are made to order. There is currently a lead time of about 1-2 weeks on clothing. If you have a hard due
date within that window make sure to let us know after you order so that we can
Armpit Zippers +.4 ounces (11 grams)
This option adds waterproof zippers under the arms. They aid in venting
when it gets hot, but they may not be necessary for everyone.
40" (101 cm) Two-Way Jacket Zipper +1.5 ounces (42 grams)
This option extends the length of the jacket zipper to 40 inches.
Measure from just below your nose down. It hangs to just above the knees
on an average height person, or mid-thigh on a taller person. This is a
good option for those who hike in running shorts and want to skip rain
pants in the summer months. The two-way zipper is a larger #5 size
zipper. It opens from both the top and the bottom for venting and to
allow a longer stride.
Click for larger photos
Click for larger photos
Will "Redbeard" Wood discusses the features of his rain suit in
Jacket Review Video.
Fellbound discusses the merits of his Arc Blast Backpack and his Challenger Rain Jacket
in this Challenger Rain Jacket Review.
"Iíve used the pants for a year and they have officially
replaced all other rain pants in my kit. Iíve worn the jacket for just a
few trips in 2014 so far, and I foresee the same future for my other
rain jackets. Iíve experienced their effective breathability and
comfortable next-to-skin feel (e.g., when worn over shorts or a
short-sleeved shirt); I love the fit, finish, and manufacturing quality
of the garments; and have been impressed by their waterproofness and
durability when bushwhacking, sitting in a pack raft all day, and
sitting and kneeling on wet ground."
"I bought your stuff sacks, food storage bags, and a long length
rain jacket. All of them got a thorough workout during the trips and all
of them performed much better than expected. I used the rain jacket both
for rain protection and for a mosquito protection layer, and it was
great, much better than the Marmot Precip jacket it replaced and much
lighter." -Barry W.
"We're now in Abisko on our Scandinavian hike. So far its been 3 months
and I just wanted to let you know how the gear is holding up. The rain
gear is truly the best I've ever had. By far! It's wearing astoundingly
well, performing much better than some of my other gear." -Henrik W.
"I just wanted to say that the jacket is absolutely awesome - I own
so many shells that it is embarrassing and this thing is one of
the coolest pieces of gear I have ever owned, I just love it."
"I ordered the full rain suit for my 500 mile Peak Races run. 9
days, 5 hours, 15 minutes. Running up and down a mountain that
is equivalent to doing Mt. Everest 4 1/2 times. I
am now only one of four people in history to have ever complete
this race. The rain gear worked perfectly. We had down pouring
the first few days and nights. It kept me dry and warm and
prevented hypothermia during the night. The jacket stayed in my
pack when I didn't need it, and it added almost no weight at
all, nor took up any space. Thanks again for the superb gear!"
"Just completed our 5 day trek of the Bailey Range in Olympic National
Park, Wa. Your Challenger jacket, pants, and mittens were thoroughly
tested. Through the clouds, fog, rain, and wet vegetation I stayed drier
than I expected. Very happy." -Mike M.
"I had a 4 days hike this weekend. The weather turned a little worse
than I had expected, but at least I got to test the equipment in strong
wind and rain. After walking against the wind in heavy rain for a full
day I was amazed how good the challenger rain jacket performed." -OddbjÝrn
"Just wanted to say thanks for yet another great product, the challenger
rain jacket. Just got back from 2 weeks in Patagonia and it held up to
all four seasons like a champ." -Matt B.
"After having used this latest version of the ZPacks Rain Jacket, I have
sold all of my previous versions. This really is a rain jacket worth
Challenger Jacket Review by John Abela of Hikelighter.com
"I hiked through monsoon rains and hail on the JMT with your Solplex tent and
Rain Suit in 2014. The rain jacket and pants were perfect for keeping me
dry and warm both in camp and on the trail. They doubled as windy
weather gear on passes and around camp. The new black finish wore well.
After the JMT, my tent, rain suit and I hiked the Wonderland trail too.
I couldn't be more pleased with the performance and quality of the gear
ordered from you. Thank you!" -Cindy L.
"I used the jacket on a stop and
start drizzly day, the humidity must have been very high. As the dayís
weather was so unpredictable I left the jacket on until I returned to my
car. I was able to regulate my heat by unzipping the main zip and
zipping up again when the cloud and mist got heavier. I was delighted
with the small amount of perspiration I found on the inside of the
jacket while I was taking it off. Iím very pleased with the performance
of the jacket, the only negative comment is I have difficulty getting
the 40" main zip started, unless itís perfectly aligned. Thanks!"
"The challenger jacket performed wonderfully in Washington's Cascade for
nine days, eight of which were of consistent rain. The material let ZERO
water through and the pit zips and front zipper adjustments prevented me
from sweating. Thanks for making quality gear!" -Ken D.
"Thank you for helping me to choose the correct size. The Challenger
rain jacket fit me perfectly over my fleece and other layers, and it
kept me dry and warm during the rainy hikes in Nepal. I'd highly
recommend the Challenger to my eco tour clients. My next purchase will
be the Rain Pants." -Tim T.
"I used my ZPacks rain jacket for the first time during a long climbing
route and It worked great. This season is so stormy in Spain it is hard
to choose whether to bring your jacket or not during the climb. The
ZPacks jacket is very light and so small that I can pack it inside my
shoes attached to the harness during the climb! That is great!" -Hilo M.
"I wore my rain suite a lot on the last 800 miles of my CDT hike. Some
light showers and some very heavy downpours in thunderstorms along the
Montana Idaho border and again in
Glacier. Pants and jacket couldn't have performed better. They kept me
dry and breathed very well for waterproof rain gear. I was glad for the
pit zips when I had to hike uphill in warm rainy weather. The pants show
the most sign of wear, but I had them on often to keep me dry from wet
vegetation encroaching on the trail. After around 800 miles, both the
pants and jacket are still good to go for more use. Best of all...I
didn't have to suffer through carrying heavy rain gear when it wasn't
raining. They are permanently a part of my base weight. The mitts worked
well too in the heavy rain." -Chuck S.
Our original Cuben Fiber rain jackets were white in color. We have now
switched over to a new version of the waterproof-breathable material
with a thin layer of nylon on the outside. The nylon gives it a nice
solid color, and better abrasion protection.
In May 2014 Joe Valesko, Matt Favero, and Steve Kaiser tested the new
rain gear on The Great Outdoor Challenge, a 200 mile cross-country
trek through the Highlands of Scotland. We wore our rain gear almost
every day, either for rain, or for wind protection and warmth on the
cool sunny days. (Trip
The rain suits kept us completely dry from pouring rain, and they were
comfortable enough to hike in on cold days without becoming clammy.
The material allows water vapor to escape well enough that the jackets
can be hiked in on cold mornings, or slept in on cold nights. The
material really cuts the wind and makes a big difference in warmth
when fighting driving wind on a mountain ascent.
abrasion resistance is much improved. Unlike the previous generation
of material we didn't have any wear under our shoulder straps or from
our backpacks rubbing against our backs.
From left to right:
Matt Favero w/ a Classic Jacket and Challenger Pants. Steve Kaiser w/
a full Challenger suit, and Joe Valesko in a Challenger Jacket. Photo
taken during a windy ascent of Ben Macdui, Scotland's second highest peak.