Want to travel? You’re going to be out in the rain. Get a good rain jacket that’s specially made for world travel.
Travel is rainy. It’s just the way it is — especially if traveling in the tropics, where long rainy seasons are just a part of the experience. Without proper rain gear travel can quickly be degraded into a tour-de-force of sitting around inside, lamely playing on your laptop or downing yet another mango lassi.
Global Travel Clothing sent me a one of their soft shell travel jackets, and their timing couldn’t have been better:
Over my last bout of travels across China and Kazakhstan my trench coat proved to not be as water resistant as I’d assumed, and I paid for it miserably on marked occasions in Shenzhen, Xi’an, and Urumqi, where I was left soaked and cold. I needed an upgrade, and I truly got one.
The Global Travel Jacket is in every way made for travel. This is a jacket that is designed for people who are going through multiple security checks, riding airplanes, and need to carry a lot of gear and protect it well. The outside is not flashy, the style being more or less “global standard issue,” which is a positive thing as it gives you the ability to better blend in almost anywhere.
The outer shell of the Global Travel Jacket is fully waterproof, being made from 100% nylon. Although it is a little stiff and crinkly, it’s not like wearing a parachute, and doesn’t stand out as being a “rain jacket.” That said, there is also an inner liner that is smooth to the touch and feels far better on bare arms than the somewhat course outer nylon.
Although what is really special about this jacket is its 11 waterproof pockets.
On the outside — the pick-pocket layer — there are just three zipper pockets, where you can store more mundane items like gloves or chap stick. These pockets are inconspicuous and can be confidently zipped shut, so there is little worry about gear falling out of them.
The real business of this jacket is what’s on the inside. When you open this jacket up you will see that it is decked out with pockets in almost every available position. By my count there are six fully functional inside pockets in this jacket. There are breast pockets on both sides that have parallel secret pockets inside of them. Both are specially sized to fit a smartphone, a wallet, or a passport. Below them are giant pockets that are sized to fit a tablet, but can be used for an entire array of items. There are also two elastic bottle straps, so you can carry water with you without needing to hold it in your hands or carry another bag.
Another advantage of all of these pockets and interior storage space is that you can load up your jacket to subvert airline carry-on restrictions.
Also on the inside of this jacket is a built-in microfiber cloth for cleaning the lenses of glasses or the screen of an electronic device — which is a really innovative and useful addition.
The detachable hood of this jacket also has some interesting features. Inside the front part of the hood is a built-in eye mask that you can use to help sleep on long flights or train journeys. There is also a strap connected to the hood that you can fold the entire jacket up into and then attach it to a piece of luggage.
The only thing that I really did not like about the design of this jacket was the excessive use of velcro, which really cheapened an otherwise premium product. Velcro is prone to breakage (when the two sides stay stuck together and the back peels off the fabric), is loud to open, frustrating to use, and it doesn’t feel very good against the hands or other body parts. In many places I feel as if snaps, buttons, or zippers would have been a much better option.
As for performance, this jacket fit well, it doesn’t leak, is lightweight, and it folds up really small, which makes it easily to pack and carry. The manufacturer claims that it will keep you warm in 15 degree c weather, but you can add a zip-in insert or just layer up in a sweatshirt or sweater to make it warmer.
As far as looks go, it’s a waterproof jacket so you can’t expect much — these things are not meant to win fashion shows. Calibrating for that, it’s appearance is more than acceptable. You can wear it through day to day activities without looking like you’re ready to assault a hiking trail at any moment and it’s suitable to wear through immigration procedures or around airports.
Umbrellas just don’t cut it, rain ponchos are awkward, and cotton fabric leaks. There really is not a substitute for a good waterproof jacket when it comes to traveling, and Global Travel Clothing provides one that’s truly designed for the traveler.
Find out more about this jacket here.
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