Westcomb’s Mirage SE Women’s Jacket is meant to withstand the most versatile of activities, while maintaining their signature promise of providing you with one of the most breathable pieces of gear you will ever own. The concept of using eVent fabric throughout is to allow perspiration to evaporate three times quicker than other jackets, keeping you dry and comfortable. The Mirage SE is equipped with two (2) outside pockets, along with one (1) external and two (2) internal chest pockets, and one (1) forearm pocket for additional storage options. Core venting is achieved via pit zips underneath each arm, extending past the elbow for maximum ventilation. The zippers are all fashioned with narrow seam taping construction to prevent any moisture from entering the jacket once zipped. This jacket was a medium and is the color harvest. Westcomb also manufactures this jacket in Black, Vampire Red, Swamp Green, Redrock, and Blue Night and produces sizes available in extra small to extra large.
I started using this jacket during the late fall and early winter months while hiking and backpacking in the Ozark Mountains of Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas and then on an Expedition trip to Patagonia. With un-predictable weather at our backs at all times, it was easy to have this jacket with me at all times, due to its ease of packing in between other, more bulky items in my backpack. As I began utilizing the jacket, I immediately took notice of its superior breathability, even with other heavier layers on beneath. The Mirage’s lightweight and breathable qualities allowed me to move freely and uninhibited, while the eVent fabric allowed the jacket to breath extremely well. The narrow seam taped zippers throughout the Mirage performed well and allotted for peace of mind, while hiking through snow, sleet, and heavy downpours. When hiking in the rain, I have a tendancy to develop a large amount of body heat, however this was not a problem with the Mirage SE, as I utilized the core venting (pit zip) system, along with the overall breathability of the eVent material.
To contour the jacket to my specific body size, and to further ensure that adverse weather did not make its way inside the jacket, I enlisted the help of the many pull ties available at opportune positions along the jacket. To start, I pulled tight the two (2) side chords on the base of the hood by the neck, as well as the other two (2) front chords that brought the hood to a comfortable position on the top of my head. The great thing about the Mirage jacket are the two (2) extra chords found at the back of the hood, both doing their part to adjust the hood to the particular person’s liking. I found this incredibly helpful, as I could adjust the jacket to keep the elements at bay and still see everything that nature had to offer. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to see well due to your hard shell jackets lack of hood adjustments.
I then utilized the jacket’s powder skirt and its rubber grip to help keep my midriff free from renegade raindrops. I pulled the bottom of the jacket closer to me by pulling the chords found on the inside of the jacket on either side of the main zipper. By doing all of these adjustments, I was able to have a custom-fitted waterproof shell in seconds.
This jacket’s numerous pockets, both internal and external, were very useful during my recent trek through Patagonia, where bad weather would flare up and incessant winds would whip rain from several angles at once. During portions of the Patagonia Expedition, sleet and rain would cause us to have to secure different items on our person, my camera being one of them. Normally due to the backpacks hip belt, I am unable to put anything into my jacket pockets, as they are covered. With the Mirage’s external chest pocket readily accessible and waterproof, I was able to take pictures while on the move and then secure my camera in an easily accessible and waterproof chest pocket.
When trekking at high altitudes or in colder temperatures, I found the Velour chin guard very warm and discovered that it provided excellent protective from cold winds. The chin and neck guard of the Mirage proved so warm and blocked the wind so well, I found myself neglecting to use my neck gaiter, in preference to the neck guard of the Mirage with its Velour and wind-resistant materials.
After utilizing this jacket in numerous weather conditions and environments for hundreds of miles on the trail, I found the Westcomb Mirage Jacket to be both durable and easy to clean. When the jacket did get dirty from the weather, I discovered that a clean cloth with warm water proved to effectively clean the jacket. Under more severe conditions, I washed the jacket following the manufacturer’s specifications and hung it to dry. The Mirage dried quickly and dis not show signs of wear, even after weeks of heavy use in harsh terrain.