Dakine Women’s Kaitlin Jacket
- 2L Brushed Twill with Emboss
- Face: DWR Finish
- Backing (laminate): 10k/10k coated
- Lining: Raffeta, Brushed Tricot, Tricot, Serpa
- Insulation: 60g in front body, 40g in back body and sleeves
Test Locations: Alta Ski Area and Wasatch Backcountry, Utah
Reviewer measurements: 5’2”, 125 lbs, Arm: 26 in. (shoulder to fingertips); 20 in. (shoulder to wrist)
Days Tested: 10
The 2013 Dakine Kaitlin jacket is a stylish, practical piece of outerwear for resort skiers and snowboarders. This jacket is not only very comfortable and good looking, it’s also warm and breathable with good venting. I have always been a down lover, but the Kaitlin has shown me the benefits of synthetical insulation.
I think the Kaitlin is one of the most stylish jackets I’ve ever worn. There’s a flap of fabric along the right side of the center zipper that folds about 3.5 inches over the left side of the jacket. It’s secured by four sections of 1.5-inch long Velcro and four large buttons—a design that gives the Kaitlin a more feminine look than most technical ski and board jackets, I think.
The Velcro/button combination does require a bit more effort than a plain zip jacket to close and adjust. When I got too warm, I could unzip the jacket to cool off, but I had to undo the buttons and velcro as well. The extra 30 seconds or so that it took to secure the Kaitlin didn’t bother me, but it’s a point worth noting for anyone who prefers to just put on gear and go.
Fit / Sizing
At 5’2”, I usually buy small jackets, but I’m very happy I ended up with a medium Kaitlin since it allowed me to do a lot of layering.
I would say the medium Kaitlin fits like other size medium jackets I’ve tried on. It’s large enough to accommodate all my layers comfortably without being baggy. Size small jackets, like my North Face down, get quite snug when I’m wearing all of my layers underneath.
I usually wore the Kaitlin over a thin base layer and an Arc’teryx Atom Hoody—I had plenty of room and my range of motion was uninhibited. These layers kept me warm when it was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit and warmer.
I decided to test how many layers I could add to this combo and still be comfortable. First, I added the Icebreaker Carve under the Arc’teryx Atom Hoody. Still no restriction. I then replaced the Carve with a thick North Face down vest. While I looked like the Michelin man, I still didn’t think the jacket felt too tight.
The Kaitlin has a contour fit—it conforms around the waist and flares out over the hips. I like that the Kaitlin is a long, slim jacket that extends past my hips and just below my butt. I have never worn this fit of jacket before and it’s been fun to try something different. I like that it’s loose enough to be comfortable even though it is still form fitting.
Hood Collar Gusset
The Kaitlin also features an interesting hood collar gusset. When it’s open, the gusset—a six-inch zipper offset from the center zip by a few inches—lets you increase the circumference of the upper neck area by two inches.
This lets you make easy adjustments to the neck and hood. My other jackets (I’m looking at you, Arc’teryx Atom Hoody) are very snug around the neck when the main zipper is closed. With the Kaitlin, I can keep the jacket fully zipped to cover my chin, but I get more a bit more space by unzipping the side zipper.
The hood is fleece lined and large enough to fit over my helmet. Wearing a hood tends to restrict my range of motion and peripheral vision, but this happened only minimally with the Kaitlin. The hood can be adjusted by unzipping the hood collar gusset or by tightening the drawcord system at the front and back of the hood.
I wore the Kaitlin on a couple of snowy days this spring in Utah. On the lift, I noticed that some of the fresh snow landing on the face of the jacket melted and was absorbed into the outer face. Only some of the liquid beaded on the surface.
None of the water reached the interior of the jacket, and I didn’t notice any moisture on my midlayer. There is already a layer of DWR on the face of the jacket, though I will definitely apply a new layer before next season.
The Kaitlin’s DWR was not as effective as the treatment on the Oakley jacket and pants Blister reviewer Jason Hutchins wrote about earlier this year (all liquid beads off those products as it would on a freshly waxed car). For these reasons, I think the Kaitlin will benefit from a new layer of DWR for those wetter days on the mountain.
NEXT PAGE: Breathability / Venting