REI Talusphere ReviewApril 28, 2016
- Stretchy, quiet and soft material
- Good breathability
- Well positioned pockets
This jacket is the strong, silent type, that doesn’t look like anything special, but when faced with a rack of choices we kept reaching for it. The stretchy fabric is easy to wear, proved itself in plenty of nasty weather and has a nice clean look. It’s a solid backpacking shell that can double for around town.
REI’s own Elements membrane did a great job of deflecting rain. We used it extensively in heavy rain showers and never had an issue. While the hood is not helmet compatible it is easy to cinch snug in the face of a strong wind and the solid brim stayed up, helping to keep water off our face.
The Talusphere runs down the middle of the road for 2.5-layer shells. The mesh backed hand pockets is REI’s attempt at forgoing pit zips.
The fabric is soft to the touch and super stretchy and it feels great. It was never restricted. The interior is a little slick feeling, but I only noticed when sweaty. The pockets are well positioned: two hand pockets sit out of the way of a pack waist belt and the chest pocket is handy for essentials, especially when using the hand pockets as vents. REI also moved all the seams off the shoulders, reducing friction points when wearing a pack. Our favorite feature is a patch of fleece at the chin; it felt great when it was cold, wet and windy out.
Despite regular and heavy use the jacket still looks brand new. The stretch helps keep scratches and stabs from digging too deep.
At more than a pound, it’s the heaviest shell we tested and one of the bulkiest. You’ll notice the extra weight during fine weather, but it didn’t feel heavier or bulkier than most of the others while wearing it.