A few years later and Wild Things climbing clothing and packs are back! I wasn't sure what kind of quality and design to expect from them considering their hiatus and change in ownership (their founder is still on their board and still designs much of their stuff), but so far everything is looking like the old gear that I was in love with.
One jacket in particular that has my eye is the Wild Things Belay Jacket. Here are some specs:
- 100% 70 denier nylon, Epic by Nextec shell
- 6 oz. PrimaLoft® Sport synthetic insulation
- Erictex, 100 poly, 30d lining
- Adjustable, helmet compatible hood
- Two-way center front zipper
- Interior mesh drying pocket
- Interior zippered pocket
- Single-pull adjustable hem
- Weight: 2 lbs 4 oz
- Made in U.S.A.
One internal mesh pocket
One internal zippered pocket
EPIC by Nextec® Shell. From Wild Things: No laminates. No coatings. The protection is inside the 100% nylon 70 denier face fabric, encapsulating the actual fibers for weatherproof, breathable performance. The result? A highly water/wind resistant, abrasion resistant shell that breaths
Helmet compatible hood. From Wild Things: The adjustable hood fits tightly over a climbing helmet and offers great visibility and mobility. Elastic along the back of the hood keeps the fit snug while you move your head, so the hood stays put.
These photos are from www.wildthingsgear.com
Everything looks great to me except for the weight. I imagine that weight is for a medium. A little heavy. In comparison to some other well-known belay jackets, this is about 12oz heavier than the Arc'teryx Dually Belay (according to their factory listed weights, which may vary significantly), 10oz heavier than the Patagonia Das and the Mec Tango, and 7oz heavier than the Rab Photon Belay Jacket.
As far as warmth, I would guess that they are all fairly comparable in warmth considering the type of insulation used and how much of it is in the jacket. The Das is the only jacket mentioned that is sewn all the way through. For that reason I would guess that the Das is slightly less warm and less water resistant. I know that a lot of people love the Das. Please don't send hate mail. The Wild Things belay uses Primaloft Sport instead of Primaloft One, which is not quite as efficient though a little more durable over time. The Rab uses Primaloft Eco, which is a step down in function as well.
The Dually is most likely the most weather resistant and potentially the warmest of all these mentioned because Arc'teryx's Dually insulation, Thermatek (essentially DWR-treated Primaloft), will not soak up water and it is laminated to the shell fabric, not stitched, which means less compression where the insulation would normally be stitched. More loft = More Warmth.
The Wild Things uses Epic Shell fabric, which is more weather resistant than the shells of the other jackets (from my experience). Therefore, I would guess that the Wild Things Belay Jacket would be the 2nd most weather-resistant of the group.
At $250, it looks to be an absolute steal for what the jacket offers (compared to the $500 price tag of the Dually). As far as its heavy weight is concerned, my bet is that it's not much heavier than the other jackets considered. Dane at Cold Thistle compared weights of many of these jackets (and a bunch of others) with his own scale and found them all to be quite a bit heavier than their posted weights. To be fair, he was measuring, in most cases, XLs and most companies advertise the weights of Mediums. Comparing materials, features, etc, the Wild Thing jacket should come in pretty close to the others. If it is slightly heavier, that means you are getting a little more weather protection and abrasion resistance from the shell.
As far as their other products are concerned, everything at Wild Things is starting to look about like it did before they left, which is a great thing!
For more information on Wild Things Gear, check out http://www.wildthingsgear.com/
For a good, side-by-side comparison of some popular Belay Jackets, check out Cold Thistle here: