Black Yak Caracu Waterproof Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Black Yak Caracu Waterproof Jacket | Review

A lightweight but fully-featured mountain shell that is easy to stash in a pack but protective enough to fend off everything from light drizzle to a full-on downpour

Why We Chose The Black Yak Caracu Women’s Waterproof Jacket Lightweight, packable, protective

When it comes to waterproofing, Gore-Tex is still the best-known name in the game. With their ‘guaranteed to keep you dry’ promise, you know that any jacket with a Gore-Tex swing tag ought to do a decent job of fending off precipitation in all its forms: rain, sleet, hail or snow.

Which we guess is why emerging mountaineering brand BlackYak selected it for their women’s Caracu jacket, a multi-functional, feature-rich hard shell that feels simultaneously lightweight yet also protective.

Photo: Chris Johnson

Who Is The Black Yak Caracu Women’s Waterproof Jacket For?

This is a good all-rounder; a versatile multi-activity shell for hiking, trekking, mountaineering and climbing. The Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof-breathable membrane works well whether you’re tramping through snow in cold, dry conditions or trekking in hot and humid weather.

It’s light and packable enough to be a good ‘just in case’ jacket on day hikes or multi-day trips, but protective enough to fend off wild weather from spring through autumn. We’d probably take something a bit burlier for winter mountaineering, but for everything else, the Caracu is a real winner. Tipping the scales at 285g for a women’s medium, it offers a high level of weather protection with only a small weight penalty. As such, it’s a viable choice for lightweight backpacking and alpine climbing too.  


This shell incorporates the latest version of Gore’s Paclite technology, Paclite Plus. This is designed to offer the highest levels of waterproofing (independently tested to exceed 24,000mm Hydrostatic Head) while remaining light and packable. Unlike older versions of the Gore-Tex Paclite membrane, however, the raised print backer has been completely eliminated in favour of a dry touch coating. So, it’s almost a 2-layer jacket, which sounds a bit old-school, but this is one that doesn’t require a protective inner mesh or taffeta drop liner. This makes the jacket lighter and less bulky than conventional 2-layer jackets, and feel far less clammy compared to most 2.5-layer constructions.  

The face fabric is a light but reasonable durable 100% nylon with a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment to enable water to bead up and roll off the surface.

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson


Everything we look for in a mountain hard shell for women gets a firm tick. First, there’s a large, helmet-compatible hood with three-point adjustment and a laminated brim to keep rain from dripping down onto your face. The two-way main zip is a highly water-resistant YKK Aquaguard reverse coil design, as are those that are used for the two hand pockets. There are also two-way pit zips to help you dump heat fast.

“Everything we look for in a mountain hard shell gets a firm tick.”

The rear of the jacket has a pronounced drop tail for added rear coverage, and the hem itself is adjustable. The cuff tabs use a hook-and-loop closure (that’s Velcro to you and me), but Black Yak claims their own unique ‘Yak Hooks’ bring added durability and ease of use, thanks to a custom design that minimises abrasion and pilling. The pre-curved finish of the tabs also ensures they naturally stay closed. The only missing feature that we might have liked to see is the addition of an inside security pocket, though this would obviously add a little weight and bulk.


If you’re after a light and packable yet reliably protective waterproof shell, this is a superb choice. The Gore-Tex Paclite Plus fabric isn’t exactly game-changing compared to the previous iteration of Paclite, but it does seem to lead to less condensation build-up inside the jacket under certain conditions, so overall we’re convinced that it is an improvement. You also get pit zips, which are always useful for venting, plus a well-designed hood that does a good job of deflecting rain away from your face.

Tester’s Verdict

Ellie Clewlow, Outdoors Magic contributor

“The brand describes the Caracu as having a ‘Performance Fit’, but I found it to be pretty roomy, even a little boxy. However, for women with a body shape to suit the cut, it ought to be a great jacket.”

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

Black Yak Caracu

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