When your entire life is confined between four wheels, space is a precious commodity. Everything we haul down the rutted dirt roads has a purpose, which is balanced against its weight and size. Sometimes we argue about the purpose/weight/size spectrum, usually about the extra pillows (that we don’t need) or the five packs of cookies (that we do need). When something can fill multiple roles and take up very little space, it is held in extremely high #vanlife regard. Let us please introduce you to the TX Light Jacket from La Sportiva, worth its weight/space/purpose balance and then some.
We’ve been using this lightweight, technical, soft shell for just over three months. It was purpose-built by La Sportiva for climbing in alpine terrain, little did they know (or maybe they did) it’s one of the best ‘every terrain’ jackets we own. It’s constructed from pill resistant, quick-drying fabric, with durable Cordura reinforcements in high abrasion areas (think shoulders) making this jacket a seriously tough cookie.
Just like we weigh purpose, weight, and size for items in our van, we have a similar system for outdoor apparel. In fact, it’s the exact same system except you add in breathability and waterproofing. The TX Light Jacket has an aptly descriptive name, coming in at a feather-like 12.8 ounces (men’s, 10.8 ounces for women’s), you barely remember you’re wearing it. The thought, “Am I naked?” MIGHT cross your mind while you’re high up on the crag. I assure you, you probably aren’t. You’re just wearing a lightweight, moisture-wicking (it ships with durable water repellant coating), quick-drying soft shell. It also has a helmet compatible hood and an elastic-bound hem around the waist and sleeves so it stays in place during those hard to reach dynos. Or during those spontaneous late night dance parties that always happen when you’re camping in the far reaches of BLM land.
Speaking of dance parties, we like to call this jacket our ‘do-anything’ jacket. We’ve used it while rock climbing sharp crags in Western Maryland, section hiking the Appalachian Trail, kayaking in the swamps of South Carolina, and for its intended use, the high alpine terrain of Colorado’s Sawatch range. While visiting family in Arlington, Va., we decided to bike into Washington D.C. to tour the monuments. We woke up to a soggy spring morning complimented by high winds and heavy cloud cover. We both tossed on our TX Light Jackets and cruised down Monument Row. Recently while searching for a place to camp on the western slope of the Sangre De Cristo range in Colorado, we discovered an evil that knows no bounds. Hordes of mosquitoes like we’ve never experienced before were standing between us and a beautiful hike. We threw on some baggy pants and our TX Light jackets and hit the trail. We stayed cool in the afternoon heat and didn’t return covered in bites.
If you’ve ever spent time in alpine terrain you understand the struggle of dressing appropriately. On a recent loop trek up Browns Creek and back Little Browns Creek in the San Isabel National Forest and Colorado’s Sawatch Range, we found ourselves above treeline for over 8 hours. When the trees disappear, exposure is your number one concern. In the span of a couple hour, we saw temperatures above 90, giving way to high winds, that eventually blew in Dippin’ Dots for dessert. We were already wearing our TX Light to minimize exposure to the two-mile-closer Colorado sun. As the temps dropped and the snow started falling, we stayed warm and were able to keep moving without worrying about the changing weather. “Do anything” jacket to the rescue! As we approached 13,500 ft on Mount Antero (Colorado’s 10th highest peak), snow threatened to turn us around. We opted to scramble up the ridge line instead of risking the slippery snow that was covering the highest portion of the trail. The super durable Cordura fabric held up against the tough granite as we scraped our way to the top.
Whether you’re going for an evening run in the park, or packing for an all-day mountain bike ride, we recommend the TX Light Jacket. It is ideal for anytime you are outside and need a tough, lightweight jacket that will block wind and keep your body at a comfortable temperature. Can I go as far to say we use this to lounge inside too? If you aren’t convinced, here’s the kicker– La Sportiva holds true to their commitment to sustainability and uses only bluesign® approved fabric in the construction of this jacket. Look it up, and never go back.
Making a van your home has a few perks. We have been lucky enough to see the seasons change from the Blue Ridge Mountains all the way to the Colorado Rockies. With all that ground covered, we have learned some important things about being outside, one being that weather can be confusing. The TX Light keeps you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool, all the while being built to withstand the most demanding use in the most unpredictable conditions.
Check out La Sportiva for any of the apparel or shoes you see in this article.