Can your raincoat do this? Written by Lindsey on January 31st, 2011

I’ve already tested my new North Face Inlux Insulated Jacket for wet weather at the beach. Now it’s time to hit the slopes. But before I commit to day of skiing with a my new jacket, I decided to take it sledding with the kids.

Concerns: 1. The Inlux is much more structured than more generously cut ski/boarding jackets. Did I shoot myself in the foot for not getting a jacket specifically for the slopes? Will I get snow up the bottom of the coat and through the cuffs?

2. Will it be warm enough? Afterall, the inner insulation jacket is really lightweight. Will it do the job?

I loaded the family into our SUV and headed up Hwy 22 running over the Cascades from Salem to Bend, OR. At the summit of the pass is a sno-park with sledding hill on the opposite side of the highway from HooDoo Ski Area. Since it’s near HooDoo, which has a sledding hill with rope tow, Santiam Pass Sno-Park is usually not too crowded – a great feature when little kids (who have no sled controlling abilities) are along. Also, the hill is steep and long enough to give even my husband and myself a good ride.

The first half of the day was spent trying to convince my two year old that we were having fun.

The second half of the day was spent dragging my kids up the hill only to see them bravely/selfishly slide down without me. I’d run down, grab their hand, and drag them back up. How I wished we had more sleds!

Then I had one of those light bulb moments. What better way to give my new jacket a rigorous testing than to go penguin on this hill and slide down belly first.

With a running start, I threw myself down and began to slide suprisingly well.

“What are you doing?” my husband yelled from the bottom, “What are you doing to your new jacket?!”

All I could do was laugh while I superman posed it all the way to the bottom. You know the yodel-ish sound kids make when they hold a note while vigorously running their finger up and down on their throat? Yeah, that exactly how I sounded, but much much louder.

The jacket was fine but the not-so-soft hill did a number on my stomach and ribs.

“Do it again,” said my husband laughing, “so I can take a picture!”

Vain before pain. I did it again. It was just as uncomfortably fun as the first time. Jacket, unfazed! I didn’t even get snow in the pockets.

When we were done sledding, I simply unzipped the heavier top layer while taking off my snow pants and boots, and kept on the cozy quilted layer for the ride to Rosie’s Mountain Cafe for hot chocolate.

Verdict:

1. The elastic on the inner layer as well as the adjustable Velcro straps around the wrists kept the snow from sneaking in around the wrists and waist. And despite the structure of the coat, I didn’t feel straight jacketed while getting kids up and down the hill and rolling around in the snow.

2. I was plenty warm, but that may have everything to do with the fact that I was doing some intense child shuttle-ing.

More than an insulated raincoat . . . I’ll be taking my North Face Inlux up Mount Bachelor very soon!

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