Enlightened Equipment recently released their new Visp Rain Pants and Visp Rain Jacket (now with pit zips). Designed to be exceptionally lightweight and breathable, I had the pleasure of being one of the original product testers for this waterproof combo! As it is winter in Minnesota, my experiences in the Visps have been limited to extreme wind, wet snowfall, and cold day hikes. While I’m looking forward to testing it out this upcoming spring/summer in actually rainy conditions, here are my initial thoughts!
While there are a TON of different rains jackets and rain pants on the market, the Visps are special because of their fabric and their minimalism. Made from a proprietary fabric created by Toyota, the Visp Rain Pants and Jackets are incredibly breathable. The proprietary 3-layer fabric combines "ultralight 7D ripstop nylon, a waterproof/breathable ePTFE membrane, and a soft tricot lining for a comfortable next-to-skin feel."
With a Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR) of 75,000 g/m²/24hr, they are literally the most breathable rain apparel on the market. Now with optional added pit zips, the incredible breathability of the Visp Rain Jacket prevents you from getting overly sweaty, hot, and wet.
My medium jacket weighs 5.4oz and my pants weigh just under 4oz. Both are waterproof to 20,000mm H₂0 and come with #3 waterproof YKK Uretek zippers. The jackets have a full zip front and an optional 12inch pit zip (zips from top to bottom), and the pants have a 12inch zipper (with a snap) to allow for easy removal over shoes/boots.
Both pack down small and both are devoid of many of the features that add extra weight. Most notably, both lack pockets. While this matters to some, I rarely find myself needing pockets while on trail. I always use a fanny pack while I hike, so all my odds and ends already have a convenient place to stash away in. While pockets are convenient for off-trail/daily life, the Visps were designed for its minimalism (not for your keys/wallet). That being said, despite weighing just over 5oz, the Jacket, in particular, has some pretty awesome features:
- Fitted hood with stiffened visor adjusts at the front and back to keep it in place while also pulling it out of your line of sight
- Shaped cuffs have a velcro adjustment for coverage or ventilation
- Waistband adjusts with a shock cord
- Droptail hem offers extra coverage in the back to keep the jacket from riding up under a pack
- Raglan sleeve design for a full range of movement
- All seams are factory seam-taped and fully waterproof
Things I like:
Ultralight: The jacket and pants are crazy light. Since rain gear is gear we always bring but sometimes never use, it’s not something I’m willing to invest a bunch of weight in. I’m looking for something that’s light, waterproof, and when it’s not in use, simply disappears into my pack. While there are other rain jackets on the market with comparable weights, there aren’t any with matching features and specs. I use rain pants incredibly infrequently (pretty much only in the colder shoulder seasons), so I especially appreciate the fact that these weigh essentially nothing.
Hood: The hood on this jacket is awesome. As a fanatical lover of hoods, this hood does everything I need it to do and more. While rainy days aren’t my favorite days on trail, they are made significantly worse when your rain jackets hood totally impeads your ability to see and enjoy your surroundings. The Visp hood can fit closely to your head (with or without a hat), and has adjustment by the drawcorss as well as the back of the head. Most wonderfully, the goods cut around the eyes allows for ones full periferal. No blinders, or dead spots, the draw cords pull the hood perfectly off your line of site. Ideal! The hood also has a slight bill that gives it structure and allows water to easily flow off.
Breathability: While the most important aspect of a rain jacket is obviously its waterproofness, the second most important thing for me is breathability. Being rained on is miserable enough at times, but a jacket that keeps you protected from the elements while causing you to sweat profusely is negating the entire purpose of having a rain jacket. With an MVTR of 75,000, there isn’t a more breathable jacket on the market. More waterproof? Sure. More durable? Yes. More breathable? Nope. Same fabric on the jacket and pants and it.. is... amazing.
Things to note:
Fit: While the pants are a fairly attractive/slimmer cut (articulated knee and crotch gusset as well), the jacket is a half size large. That’s done intentionally to allow for layering, but for relatively skinny dudes like myself, it does mean there is a bit of extra room. With long sleeves and a droptail hem, it is designed for pure functionality and lacks a form-fitting/“athletic” look. The oversizing however does mean that the jacket is exceptionally comfortable and the drawcord waist conch allows for the length drop you prefer.
Noise: Like all rainwear, it is a bit noisy when you are moving.
Durability: Careful around pointy things. While incredibly light, neither the pants or jacket seem particularly durable. This is to be expected with most ultralight fabrics, but I’d only recommend using this jacket for on-trail use. If you give your rainwear a petty consistent beating, you should probably explore other options.
I'm a pretty huge fan. Light, waterproof, exceptionally breathable and available in a bunch of fun colors, I’m impressed by the performance and features of both the pants and jacket. While I don’t foresee getting much use out of the pants long term, the jacket will certainly find itself in my pack moving forward!