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C.A.M.P. Magic Anorak


CAMP-jacket$79.95 | 3.3 ounces | 4 Stars

I like nothing more than a sweet nothing. Therefore, I like the Magic Anorak. Tipping the scales at just over three ounces (the weight of a locking carabiner), the Magic is a serious contender for the title World's Lightest Shell.

The secret formula behind the Magic is a polyurethane-coated fabric called Araneum. The details behind Araneum are as closely guarded as the names of everyone going to heaven, but C.A.M.P. will say that it's a derivation of ripstop nylon but up to 50 percent lighter. The anorak stuffs down to the size of a baby's fist. It is so compact, you can toss it in your pack and forget about it. This past winter, I did just that. A month later, I was out in the mountains in just a fleece when a gust of wet frosty wind cut into my bones like a lethal dose of icy-cold radiation. Oh, how I wished I had brought a shell jacket! Slowly, the mental wheels turned, then BAM! I realized, of course, I did have a shell. I pulled out the Magic, slipped it on, and wind be gone! Later, on another outing, I was pleased to find that Magic's super-slick coating effectively shed wet snow and light rain, and that the full-coverage hood slips over and seals around a helmet, keeping out spindrift.

The Magic, mind you, is not a replacement for a full-service waterproof/breathable jacket, the type you'd want in seriously nasty, prolonged fits of weather. The Magic is water repellent and semi-breathable. If you are working hard and sweating, you'll get damp, especially in the anorak, which doesn't vent (it is available in a full zip; not tested.) In a driving rain, you will get wet. The Magic is instead a just in case shell that's a far cry better than sweet nothing.

  • One of the world's lightest jackets.
  • Water resistant.
  • Full hood seals around helmet.
  • Small and light enough to always keep in pack just in case.

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