Gear Review: Cabela’s Rainy River PacLite Gore-Tex jacket
The Rainy River PacLite GoreTex jacket from Cabela’s
The Rainy River Paclite parka is Cabela’s signature Gore-Tex jacket with a very accessible price point. I was given a Cabela’s PacLite jacket to review, the jacket I received is a women’s small and in the “hot pink” colour. Please note: this jacket was given to us for review, and no payment was taken in exchange. This is an unbiased review of the jacket.
Overall, this jacket is a pretty good fit with some nice technical features that make it an excellent choice for a basic Gore-Tex jacket.
The main features of this jacket include:
- Waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex PacLite fabric
- Packs down into included stuff sack
- Hand warmer pockets
- Three-panel, adjustable hood
- Fully taped seams
- Fleece over face cuff
- The women’s version, the one that was tested, has a female-specific cut with has a nice, tapered waist
- The stuff sack is a nice touch!
Overall, a good fit
The jacket is nicely tapered at the waist and extends down below the hips, which keep it from riding up and comfortable while wearing a pack. The jacket fits quite large, so the advantage would be it’s very easy to layer underneath, which is exactly what you want to do with a Gore-Tex jacket because they aren’t insulated. The sleeves on this jacket are a bit too big, even with layering there is too much fabric on the sleeves.
Hand warmer pockets
The hand warmer pockets are quite roomy and there is plenty of space in there for you hands, plus you can stow some snacks, sunscreen and lip balm there as well. These pockets are positioned higher, up towards the chest rather than lower down by your waist, and that is nice because it’s much simpler to access them when you have a pack on. It’s much easier to reach into chest pockets than it is into pockets that are lower down, because the hip belt of your backpack will probably be in the way.
Fleece on face cuff
The fleece on the face cuff (the top of the front zipper) is really nice because it protects your face from abrasions with hard fabric. Without the fleece patch, you could easily scratch up the delicate skin on your face. Plus if you have a runny nose, the fabric absorbs it much better than the hard shell fabric will.
The jacket has fully taped, fully sealed seams. This is important because without them the jacket would leak at the weak points – the seams. The seams on this jacket are robust and will stand up to heavy use over time.
Double storm flap on zipper
The double storm flap on the front zipper keeps water from seeping in through the cracks of the zipper, keeping you dry. The photo above also shows another small chest pocket you have to store small items if you need to. I usually use this pocket for tissues and sunscreen for my lips.
The jacket is highly adjustable, with a drawstring to cinge it around your waist that sits out of the way. The hood is also really easy to adjust, and you can even fit it over a helmet. The front zipper goes up nice and high and you can really tighten it nicely around your face if you need to, for example in a big storm, you can really keep out the rain and wind.
The jacket comes with a medium-sized stuff sack, which is a good way of keeping your jacket stowed away when not using it. However I would suggest not storing it in the stuff sack for large periods of time because it will be too squished and could compromise the fabric over time. The stuff sack provided matches the colour of the jacket. The stuff sack is not completely necessary, but a nice touch, and you can use it to carry other items in your pack (wallet, phone, sunscreen, snacks) when you’re wearing your jacket.
The best parts of this jacket are definitely the price – the value you get from a Gore-Tex jacket is hard to beat. Simply put, a Gore-Tex jacket for $200 is a great deal, and you don’t have to wait for a sale, either. Though what would be considered as an “entry-level” jacket, this jacket delivers some nice, basic features that make the jacket stand out over others. I’ve looked, and simply could not find jackets with those features at that price.
Another great feature is the Lifetime guarantee that Cabela’s offers for this product. This gives you the same piece of mind you get when you’re buying a jacket from MEC. Like MEC’s rock solid guarantee, if your jacket breaks down you can return it or get it fixed with Cabela’s. It’s good piece of mind that takes some of the stress of making a big purchase such as this one.
The jacket comes in five bright colours for women and four completely different colours for men. My favourite in the womens jackets is the goose grey which looks great with a teal zipper, and for men the collegiate blue is the nicest choice.
- Very large fit
- Sleeves are too thick and bulky
- The jacket is quite heavy
This jacket fits very large. The smallest size is size 4, and I’m about a size 0-2. If they made an extra small, it would fit me very well, but extra small is not available. So if you are petite or a small size, this jacket won’t fit you. If I am layering, it’s a bit of a better fit, but the sleeves are very bulky and long.
The Gore-Tex fabric used to make this jacket is the heaviest and thickest that they make, so the jacket is a bit on the heavy side. Without a doubt, the biggest disadvantage of this jacket is weight. It’s much more bulky and heavy than other jackets of this type. However, that said, it really is a good value given the price. A very lightweight and higher performance jacket, such as one by Arc’teryx or Mountain Hardwear, will cost you almost double, if not more. This jacket is a great value to get into a Gore-Tex jacket. This jacket will keep you dry on rainy days and is very breathable. Gore-Tex is Gore-Tex after all, and you really can’t go wrong with it. You really get what you pay for.
I would be hesitant to use this jacket where weight is an issue, and would opt for my Arc’teryx Alpha LT or Patagonia M10 (made with H2No, Patagonia’s version of Gore-Tex). But this is a great entry level Gore-Tex if this is your first Gore-Tex jacket – and it is recommended over any rain jacket out there, if you’re in the market for a rain jacket and if you’re willing to spend a bit of extra money to get the Gore-Tex.
A good rain jacket will cost you around $100-140, so you’ll be paying at least $60 on top of that. The main feature of Gore-Tex is of course, breathability. Rain jackets simply do not breathe, and Gore-Tex does. You’ll wear your Gore-Tex jacket more times than you would a rain jacket, so if you have a tendency to overheat, consider making the extra investment.
This jacket is recommended for fishing, hiking and travelling.
About the brand
The jacket is available in five colours. The PacLite line also features Gore-Tex pants, which are available for $180. This jacket and pants also come in a mens version. This jacket is part of Cabela’s “everyday value” program, where a selection of outdoor goods and clothing are given a very reasonable price (like a sale price), but the price is valid every day. The program means that we have select Cabela’s branded product, that’s price will be consistent all year-round.
Overall, despite the disadvantages of weight and bulkiness, the jacket is a great value for the price and has lots of nice, well thought out features.
Where to Buy
This jacket is only available at Cabela’s. It’s available at both Canadian and US stores. In Canada, the jacket retails for $200 and in the U.S. for $130. The difference is pretty much taken care of with the exchange rate, so if you’re shopping from the US, buy the US jacket, if from Canada, shop at the Canadian store.