If April showers bring May flowers, what are outdoorsy folks supposed to take from March? After all, that’s when spring officially starts, so what are we supposed to make of those downpours? Lemonade from lemons, I suppose. The rain is here in the Northwest, and it’s not going anywhere until July. Fortunately, the Sierra Designs Spring 16 lineup offers a host of waterproof apparel that might help keep you dry.
The waterproof spring jackets are the highlight of Sierra Designs’ lineup, with five each for men and women, plus a poncho. Sierra has debuted some new waterproof pants for each gender as well, with one for each in its Spring 2016 lineup and a pair of unisex chaps.
These 14 new waterproof items in the Sierra Designs Spring 16 lineup are creatively called Airflow Rainwear. According to Sierra, the apparel “goes beyond the traditional breathable membrane, with unique physical venting and longer lengths.”
Pit zips are nothing new, so the “unique” venting attribute is likely due to physical alignment. For example, pit zips are generally vertical. Sierra Designs’ new Men’s Hurricane Jacket, one of the new Airflow Rainwear products, has an “underarm awning vent” that’s horizontal and doesn’t use a zipper. The Women’s Ultralight Trench uses a vertical awning vent, plus a horizontal hip-belt vent.
Having not tried these jackets out — remember, they’re brand new for Spring 2016 — I can’t say whether the new venting style actually makes a difference. I would like to think so, because whenever the rain really comes down here in the Pacific Northwest, I tend to close-up my vents immediately to keep moisture out. Naturally, that completely undoes the benefit of vents in the first place. Could the Sierra Designs Spring 16 lineup finally have cracked that code?
On the pants side of things, Sierra’s men’s and women’s Hurricane Pants look like incremental updates to the company’s old faves. The biggest changes seem to be minor: a slightly different fit, soft heathered fabric and a built-in belt. But sometimes those little things really make a difference. As long as they’re still waterproof, that’s what really matters to me.