Haglöfs LIM Versa Jacket | Review
A lightweight and packable, but not strictly minimalist waterproof jacket using Gore-Tex Paclite fabric gets some hammer.
'The LIM in the LIM Versa's name stands for Less Is More, but it's not as minimalist as you might think, more a decent lightweight hiking jacket than an ultra-light one, more or less... '
Outdoors Magic: Reasonably light, packable generous fit for a lightweight, large venting pockets, percent build quality.
Outdoors Tragic: Fabric is more stand-by than all-day capable, floppy hood peak, expensive.
Outdoors Grabbit? A nice enough jacket, but we don't rate Gore-Tex Paclite fabric for all-day use, the hood isn't overly protective and it's expensive for what you get. There are lighter, better and cheaper option out there.
Lightweight, packable waterproof jacket / Gore-Tex Paclite fabric / twin hand pockets with venting mesh liner / water-resistant main and pocket zips / adjustable hem and cuffs / three-way adjustable hood with external cord / articulated sleeves / seam-free shoulders / drop-tail / rear LIM hanging hood.
Full Review Below
LIM Versa Jacket - The Tech
The LIM Versa uses the long-standing Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, a lightweight waterproof material with a distinctive smooth, grey backer. It's decently light, which is why the medium-sized test jacket only weighs 250 grammes, but it's not a fabric we really like.
It's intended for 'emergency use' - i.e.: to be carried in your pack just in case - rather than all-day outings. One reason for that is that it's not the most breathable of fabrics and we've found it simply gets sweaty with any sort of higher activity use.
'In a nut-shell, it's a jacket that's functionally light rather than pared-down minimalist.'
The inner layer absorbs initial dampness from sweat, but it's easy to overwhelm it. We've also found previous versions of the fabric to be quite fragile and easy to tear if, say, you snag it on wire or brambles.
That's not to say the LIM Versa isn't nicely made. It uses water-resistant zips throughout and has the distinctive LIM hood design with an external adjuster cord sat on top of the head for simplicity and weight saving.
Finally cuffs, hem and of course, the hood are all adjustable. In a nut-shell, it's a jacket that's functionally light rather than pared-down minimalist.
LIM Versa Jacket - Performance
Think of the LIM Versa as a lightweight stand-by hiking jacket that you'll mostly want to carry rather than wear and you won't go far wrong. As lightweights go, it's generously cut, so you can fit warm layers underneath and reasonably long too, so you get a decent level of crotch protection. All of which is good.
And it's nicely made too with tweaks like seamless shoulders, neat cuff and hem adjusters and sleek water-resistant zips. Finally at a real, measured 250g, it's easy enough to carry around with you 'just in case'.
'We found things got hot and sweaty very quickly, particularly if you're pushing on'
And that's a good thing in our book, because while the Gore-Tex Paclite fabric will keep you dry from the outside, it's not the most breathable material out there and we found it got hot and sweaty very quickly, particularly if you're pushing on.
It's also somewhat fragile, based on previous experience and the slick, graphite inner layer isn't pleasant against the skin.
The hood is an interesting one. We've used similar LIM hoods in the past and liked the simple but effective adjuster cord which sits on the outside of the hood. This one took a bit of tweaking before it sat Ninja-style close to our head, moving easily with direction of gaze and giving good peripheral visibility.
The bit we didn't like was the minimally-stiffened peak. A wired or stiffer one would give better protection at the cost a few extra grammes. We reckon it would be a price worth paying.
Overall we used the jacket as a stand-by for hiking and biking and while it was okay, it wasn't a shell we'd want to wear for long periods.
LIM Versa Jacket - Verdict
If we had to sum the LIM Versa up in a sound-bite, it'd run 'Nice jacket, shame about the fabric'. It's neatly designed and made, the generous cut means it works for hiking and walking use when more minimal lightweights don't, but the Gore-Tex Paclite material easily drifts over the line into becoming hot and sweaty.
That doesn't matter on shorter outings, but for longer spells in the rain it's limiting. The bottom line is that there are nicer and lighter jackets using lightweight 3-layer fabrics that cost less. Have a look at the Rab Flashpoint or the Alpkit Balance for instance.
Alternatively, if you want a Haglöfs alternative, the Gram Comp Jacket using the much nicer Gore-Tex Active fabric would be our suggestion.