Why We Chose the Blackyak Brava Jacket: lightweight, breathable, very packable
Blackyak are a South Korean brand specialising in high performance clothing for mountaineers, skiers and trekkers. Adventure in the mountains is at the soul of their ethos. With their products they strive to meet the high demands of expedition life, which is indicated by their slogan: Made for Missions.
Their Brava Jacket has gained a solid reputation as a quality waterproof shell that offers ample protection from the elements while also boasting a high degree of breathability. We’ve all been there, slogging our way up a mountain in the summer rain, sweating beneath our tightly cinched waterproof. Finding the Goldilocks factor of just right weather proofing with just right breathability is the holy grail of waterproof hard shells and the Brava certainly aims to strike this balance.
Who is the Blackyak Brava Jacket for?
As one of Blackyak’s mid-priced waterproof shells, the Brava is aimed at hiking and trekking missions, rather than for use above the snow line, unlike their Brazona jackets, which are intended for mountaineering and skiing use. It’s impressively lightweight and packable too, weighing in at just 265g, making it suitable for trail runners and fastpackers, especially considering its strong breathability credentials.
Materials and Construction
The Brava features a proprietary 3-layer fabric and a polyurethane membrane. As this is a jacket with fast and light adventurers in mind, freedom of movement is crucial. The 20 Denier nylon face makes use of crimped fibres that stretch and work in tandem with the flexible polyurethane to create a fabric that does restrict motion. Whether rock scrambling, striding with purpose on the walk in or breaking out into a jog on the descent, the Brava’s fabrics are designed to not impede your movement.
So, it’s flexible, waterproof, windproof and also highly breathable. This is a good job too as, unlike most other similarly priced hard shells, there are no pit zips to tinker with to find the amount of ventilation. Reinforcing its waterproof design are its YKK zippers and taped seams, which ensure there are no weak spots for runoff to take advantage of, though there’s no storm flap for truly Biblical conditions.
With the Brava, you get two zippered hand warmer pockets and a zippered chest pocket too, giving you a few options for items like your phone, compass or high energy snacks. Elasticated cuffs allow you to easily check your watch, while the elasticated hood provides full protection in a deluge.
As another nice little touch, reflective detailing improves the visibility of the jacket, particularly in the glare of a head torch at the campsite, bothy, refuge, hut or wherever else you end up at night. If the sun is shining the next morning, the Brava stashes small into its own internal chest pocket, slipping easily into your backpack and thus enhancing its portability.