The Altura Esker Packable Jacket doesn’t mess about with the name. It’s exactly that. A five thousand each way breathable and waterproof jacket that can either be jammed in a pocket or pack for mixed weather, or as a light weight outer for those days when the weather can’t decide what to do with itself.
As ever, price is excellent for what you get, with the usual Altura build quality. Fit wise though, the arms don’t size up the same length as other Altura jackets, so you may want to size up for the Esker if you do go for one.
If you don’t know what the weather’s going to do, the split upper and lower means that the Esker punches well above its weight in terms of breathability. The same can’t really be said for the waterproofing, but that might be a big ask for a light weight waterproof. In heavy downpours, the material is soon overwhelmed and wets out.
That said, this is a 75% of the year kind of jacket, where the ground is wet but there’s no rain and you just want to keep the cack and water off you. A proper waterproof hardshell would be too sweaty most of the time for trail or enduro outings. The Esker goes head to head with the other great packable jacket in the cupboard, the Specialized Trail SWAT jacket.
The hood fits most trail helmets but you’ll struggle to get a big, full coverage enduro open face under it. Elasticated hems and cuffs keep the wind out too but if you’ve skinny wrists, they might not perform all that well on the sleeves.
Whilst it doesn’t pack down as small as some jackets, you’re likely going to pay a fair bit more or likely compromise in other areas too. Perhaps both. The material has held up well to everyday use and doesn’t really show signs of wear. The waterproofing has also stayed put despite the relatively low rating.
What do we think?
If you want a balance of low weight, small size and a decent enough waterproof rating then the Esker Packable Jacket from Altura should be on your list. Certainly don’t expect the world in terms of keeping the rain off, as 5,000mm waterproofing won’t see you dry in all situations. The breathability is excellent for a jacket of this type though.
Packs down small enough
Doesn’t cost the Earth
Could do better:
Sizing doesn’t quite match other Altura offerings
You can check out the Altura Esker Packable Trail Jacket on their website here.