Win the best jacket of 2012 – The Patagonia ADZE Jacket

At the Berkshire General Store, we offer a great selection of jackets.  Women often ask, “what is your best all around jacket.”  This fall we set out to test all of our jackets and after careful review we selected a winner – The Patagonia ADZE Jacket.

We picked the Patagonia ADZE jacket for several reasons.  Let’s start with the outer shell.  It’s made of Polartec woven stretch polyester so it’s not only soft, but water resistant and rain proof.  The neck is lined with Microfleece and the jacket features a drawcord to keep drafts out and heat in.  This low profile jacket features just the right amount of pockets.  1 internal pocket and 2 pockets on the outside.  The jacket comes in great colors and retails at $139.00 – far less than others we tested.  In the end, it’s a great all around jacket.

On Saturday we will be hosting our 4th Annual Tech Day at the Berkshire General Store.  During the day we will hold a raffle for 1 Women’s Patagonia ADZE Jacket.  To enter, you must try on the Jacket to see for yourself how great it is!  We’ll post the winner on Facebook.

Inexpensive Waterproof Jackets. Do they exist?

With winter around the corner, many customers are asking great questions about our high end waterproof jackets.   People often ask “Why are Gore-Tex Jackets so expensive?”  or “Is this $250 waterproof jacket the same as this $99 water resistant jacket?” Although these are not simple questions we do have a simple guideline.  The cost of our weather resistant or weather-proof jackets is directly related to the jackets ability to keep you warm and dry in a variety of conditions.  The more severe the conditions, the more expensive the jacket will get.

Most of the jackets we carry rely on various layers of  material to keep you warm and dry.  Here’s a breakdown of the different layers that make up most of our weatherproof jackets.

1. Outer Layer – The outer layer of your jacket is the part that you can see and feel.  This layer can be many different materials, but the goal is to be durable and stylish.  Some jackets, like Arc’teryx, are incredible durable and hard to the hand.  Other jackets like Patagonia are durable, yet soft to the hand.  Believe it or not, the outer layer is not what makes the garment waterproof.

2. DWR – When it rains on a waterproof jacket, you will notice small beads of water.  This is because your jacket is coated with DWR or Durable Water Repellency.  DWR is a coating that is added at the factory to make the fabric water-resistant.  Over time the DWR can wear off so some jacket manufacturers recommend re-treating your jacket with a spray.  Here is an interesting article on DWR at wikipedia.

3. Membrane – The membrane is what makes your jacket waterproof.  The membrane can’t be seen because it sits inside the layers of your jacket.  Gore-Tex is a popular membrane that is designed to make the garment windproof and waterproof.  Gore-Tex is micro-porus, meaning each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water.  Since each Gore-Tex pore is way smaller than water,  the water can not pass thru the membrane.  Gore-Tex is an excellent membrane, but it is expensive.  You will see that our most expensive and weatherproof jackets have a Gore-Tex membrane.

4. Insulation – The insulation layer adds warmth to your jacket.  We offer jackets with many different types of insulation, depending on your level of activity and need for warmth.  If you need a jacket to sleep in while camping on a snowy mountain, we would suggest down since it will keep you warm with little to no movement.  If you are looking for a lighter weight jacket we might recommend a jacket with synthetic insulation.

Hopefully this article helps explain why some jackets that we carry are more expensive than others.



Columbia Omni-Heat = Major Warmth

A few years ago we were invited to Columbia headquarters to view their new line of spring apparel and footwear.  It was a cold day and one of the Columbia Reps gave us a jacket off the rack to wear.  Shocked at how warm it was we started to ask questions…  The jacket was a Columbia Omni-Heat Jacket lined with little silver dots.  The dots are Columbia’s thermal reflective technology designed to reflect the warmth from your skin back to your body.  These little dots are truly amazing and the jacket is incredibly warm.  The visit to Columbia was so that we could view their spring line, but we ended up increasing our orders for Columbia Winter Omni-Heat Jackets.

Years later Columbia expanded the Omni-Heat line to include fleece, long underwear, hats and gloves; all with Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology.  Naturally we carry it all.  Customers that purchase Omni-Heat products often return and rave about how warm the gloves were or how incredible the fleece was.  We believe it’s one of our best lines in the store so we encourage our Customers to try the Omni-Heat technology themselves.

To show you how great Columbia Omni-heat jackets are, we decided to give one away!  Stop into the store tomorrow, or Monday and try on a Columbia Omni-Heat Jacket.  We’ll enter your name in for a chance to win a free jacket.  All you need to do is try on the jacket.  The winner will be announced on this blog on Tuesday, October 9th 2012.


UPDATE – 10/9/2012- Congrats Jenn of Bloomfield NJ – You are the winner!

Is This Jacket Worth 129 Bucks?

Is this Patagonia Torrentshell jacket worth 129 bucks?  Let’s find out.

Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket

As you probably know, we carry lots rainwear from brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot, Columbia, Red Ledge, etc…  With all the rain we’ve been having we decided to take a close look at one of our best selling rain coats from Patagonia.

The Patagonia Torrentshell jacket is a basic, no-frills rain jacket.  It’s waterproof, breathable and super lightweight.  It’s packable too making it an obvious choice for trekking,  hiking or plain old traveling.  When packed up, the jacket takes up little space inside your backpack or luggage.  It’s made of durable yet lightweight 2.5 layer ripstop nylon.  Other cool features include an interior mesh pocket for bug spray or a cell phone, an adjustable hood that stows away in the collar and pit-zips for ventilation.  It’s available for men & women and we carry about 10 colors.  All in all this is a great jacket with just the right amount of options.  It’s a 3 season product too.

So YES, this jacket is definitely worth 129 bucks!