There was a time when the word Carhartt pretty much meant one thing: workwear. Their gear was heavy and heavy-duty. Dungarees, loggers, and overalls made from firm-hand 12 ounce cotton duck or 15 ounce cotton denim. They were built to handle the roughest conditions and last forever, but they weren’t exactly what you would call versatile. For Carhartt, the products from that era weren’t really designed to go from work to play, but times have changed, and Carhartt has done a great job of keeping up with broad range of robust and versatile clothing that works as well for a round of beers with some buddies as it does down on the jobsite.
One such garment, is the Force Equator Jacket which was just released for Spring 2014. This lightweight jacket arrived just as the long-overdue wet weather rolled into Northern California, so there was ample opportunity to test its performance in the kind of conditions for which it was designed. The Equator features Carhartt’s Storm Defender waterproof breathable membrane and Rain Defender durable water repellent finish to help keep the elements at bay while their FastDry technology helps wick away sweat from the inside out. This combination, even in the wettest weather, worked wonders, performing much better than expected squall after squall.
Playing a supporting, but no less important, role are a number of features that go unseen until you take a look at the inside of the jacket. Along the seam that runs from the backside of each armpit to the bottom hem are a set of vents that are so visually subtle that I had to actually hunt for them after reading about their existence in the product description. Carhartt calls this a power venting back panel, and it works much better than horizontal cape style venting found on similar garments since air can flow straight through from one side to the other. Additionally, all seams are fully taped and the front main zipper is the self-sealing type to help keep the water out and the warm in, and to help ensure the perfect fit, the cuffs and hem are are adjustable.
If it seems like Carhartt thought of everything when they designed the Equator Jacket, they did. It is simply one of the best foul weather jackets out there, and thanks to its many innovative and highly effective features, it is mighty versatile, too. It’s like a lightweight zip front hoodie that is an excellent windbreaker, a great warm-up jacket, as well as being one of the best raincoats you’ll ever own.
For more information about the Force Equator Jacket, or any of the fine products from Carhartt, click here.
**Full disclosure: This jacket was provided at no cost for editorial consideration. To think otherwise would be misguided.