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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for a jacket that converts to a vest that can also be packed into a jersey pocket. Recommendations? Any problems with jackets with zip off sleeves? That is, does the zipper cause irritation being in the arm pit area? Other thoughts? Figure it's the right time of the year to get cool weather gear.
 

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your god hates me
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I've got a Canari Eclipse windbreaker/rainjacket with zip-off sleeves, that packs up into its own rear pocket. It's extremely handy, very warm yet lightweight, I've never experienced any chaffing from the sleeve zippers.

My only complaint is that it doesn't breathe particularly well. Then again, I'm not sure *any* windbreaker/rainjacket does.
 

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Still On Steel
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I researched this fairly extensively last fall, received what I thought were some very good recommendations from here and elsewhere, but of course I couldn't take them all ... so I ended up going with the Novara Conversion Jacket from REI, for $75. This one, which at that time was a new model, interested me because it converts to a vest, and has sleeves that are sewn together into a yoke, with a wide flap of fabric connecting them. IOW, both sleeves come off as a unit, rather than separately. The upper third of the jacket body's back panel is mesh; when the sleeves are attached, the connecting fabric flap between the sleeves covers the mesh panel but still functions as a vent. With the sleeves off, the solid front blocks the cool wind while the large back mesh panel keeps the wearer from overheatingg.

The fabric is supposedly breathable but it too doesn't breathe all that well; the insides of the sleeves in particular can get a little clammy. As Bob Ross suggests, a choice between keeping the rain out and breathability appears to be typical of the breed: you can have one, but not both. The large vent across the back really helps, though, and overall I'm highly pleased with the jacket.

The bad news is that I just checked the REI web site and the Novara Conversion Jacket is nowhere to be found. I'm reasonably sure it was in their last catalog, so I'm not sure what's going on with that. If you're not in a hurry, you might give it some time and see if if becomes available again.
 
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