Breathability / Venting
Overall, I was very impressed with the breathability of the Kaitlin jacket. On cold days (around 20 degrees Fahrenheit) I wore a T-shirt and the Arc’teryx Atom Hoody under it. The jacket was breathable enough that I could exert myself during a run without opening the 13-inch underarm vents. Once I did start hiking or side-stepping, I’d open the underarm vents to cool off.
In temperatures above freezing, I wore the Kaitlin with only a T-shirt underneath and stayed cool by opening the underarm vents. The Kaitlin was too hot for temperatures 50 degrees and warmer.
The only touring I did with the Kaitlin jacket was warm enough (mid-20s) that I could hike in just a base layer. As a result, I was not able to test its breathability while touring for extensive periods of time. However, I rarely hike very long in any insulated or down jacket before I need to strip down to a base layer or mid-layer.
I did not have the opportunity to test the Kaitlin in severe wind and will be curious to see how well it blocks in those conditions.
I get cold easily, and I tend to think that I can’t survive without a down jacket. I’ve been wearing my North Face down jacket since 2006 and it’s kept me warm ever since I got it.
The Kaitlin jacket is insulated with 60g Primaloft in the front body and 40g in the back body and sleeves. The hood is lined with fleece that extends down the upper back of the jacket.
I wore the Kaitlin during an Alta storm on the second to last weekend of the season (April 5-7). The temperature was near 20 degrees Fahrenheit and it was slightly windy. Wearing a polyester T-shirt and my Arc’teryx Atom Hoody under the Kaitlin, I was plenty warm. Every other day I wore the Kaitlin jacket, it was near or above freezing temperatures and I only had to wear a T-shirt under it.
And as I mentioned above, the Kaitlin is roomy enough that I can layer as much as I want under it depending on the weather.
That said, I did not have the opportunity to test the jacket in sub-20 degree temperatures. I would be interested to see exactly how much layering would be required to stay warm in these conditions. From my experience, I found that layering with just the Arc’teryx Atom Hoody was enough to keep me warm until at least 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so I suspect a slightly heavier mid-layer may do the trick.
I have worn the Kaitlin jacket for only 10 days, but it still looks like new. The seams and stitching are intact. I tend to ski close to trees, and there are no tears or scuff marks. The zippers all work smoothly, and the Velcro along the center zipper doesn’t look any different than it did right off the rack.
Like I mentioned above, I do plan on applying another layer of DWR before next season.
The Kaitlin is not designed for touring, although I did bring it up Pink Pine with me in the Wasatch Mountains. Touring was toasty in a base layer, so the purpose of the Kaitlin was to keep me warm on the way down. The Kaitlin is not super packable, but I could roll it up and strap it on the outside of my pack. It did not take up any more room than my down jacket.
For $200, the Dakine Kaitlin jacket is very warm, comfortable, durable, and stylish. The DWR coating absorbed some moisture, but that’s easily remedied with an additional waterproofing treatment.
Any resort skiers and riders looking for this type of insulated shell should definitely consider the Kaitlin.