First of all – pop over and read my review of the Monsoon II.
Ridgeline were kind enough to send me out a Monsoon Elite – the latest version of their Monsoon series of jackets. Having used the II extensively, I was keen to see if the updates had addressed any of my previous issues with the jacket. However – here is the TLDNR version…
A guest review. Thanks Corey!
Corey was kind enough to take the Monsoon Elite out and compare it to his older Roar Jacket. This is what he thought.
I have been lucky enough to try out the new ridgeline jacket over a few recent rock fishing missions and give it a review on how I found it compared to my older version.Most of our missions include a 40 min – 1 hour hike along beaches and rocks and the odd hill climb / cliff scale. A lot of the time its in the dark with a fair amount of wind in our face, hence why these ridgeline jackets are great for keeping us warm and dry on our journeys along the coastline.
I found the Jacket I was trialing to be a lot lighter than the one I own but still offer the same wind protection and warmth without overheating and then sweating. Before trying the new jacket I didn’t realise how heavy my jacket was and also how thick it was, trying to get back-packs full of bait, berley and water on and off was a lot more hassle than with this new model which is surprisingly thin and easy to move in.
This Jacket has great deep pockets with enough space for whatever is required. The peak on the hood holds it shape nicely and doesn’t fall down over your eyes.Water doesn’t track back up the sleeve thanks to the inner lining down around the wrist.
The only thing I would prefer with this jacket is for it to have a full zip down the front to quickly chuck it on.
I wish I could write such a succinct review. Now back to my waffle…
Ridgeline have utilised their latest waterproof membrane for the Monsoon Elite. The RL-Tex PRO 3 layer material has a 10K mm H20 rating and a 5K g/m2 breathability rating – I have lost the original link, but for some reason I think that is double the Monsoon II. On top of the membrane is the QuietTek Brushed Tricot layer – which provides 2 functions. Firstly, it keeps the jacket quiet. Secondly, it gives it a level of robustness that you simply won’t get out of a single layer membrane, like in the Hunters Element XTR Jacket I also have. The trade off though, is a little more weight and the potential for the outer layer to ‘wet-out’ – holding water and reducing breathability as well as further increasing weight. Like many technical garments, it is a bit of a give and take.
Starting from the top, Ridgeline have improved the hood – adding in a stiffer brim – it holds itself away from the face
a little better and provides more of a overhang when you need it. The whole inside of the jacket features seam sealing to keep that water out.
Like previously, all the pockets are weatherproofed. In addition to the older design, you now have two handwarmer pockets in the front. These will sit right under a pack, so maybe not the best for carrying gear when backpacking, but ideal when the pack is off and the hands are nippy.
In addition, they have added a side zip that can make it just that much easier when trying put on, or take of the smock styled jacket. Again, all valid additions.
One of the concerns I voiced with the Monsoon II, which seems to have been dealt to in the Monsoon Elite, was the cuffs. They had a habit of tracking water back up onto your wrists. Apparently, Corey’s old jacket did the same thing, but he came back reporting that the Elite didn’t suffer from the same issue. Good news!
Ridgeline sent me out the Green version of the jacket, which is also available in their new Wapiti Camo.
Initially, I was very keen to check out the new camo, but having the jacket for a while highlighted a couple of interesting points.
- Camo, while cool in the bush, gets a bit OTT when just walking around town – if you would like a jacket with a bit of versatility, then a plain colour works a bit better.
- Corey took it fishing – again, camo would just have looked way out of place.
- If it’s raining hard to require this jacket, then I i’m probably not stalking, so don’t need super camo mode going on. Besides – I wear a blaze jacket over camo jackets anyhow.