Sherpa Adventure Gear Imja Jacket Review

Sherpa Adventure Gear Imja Jacket Review

Sherpa Adventure Gear continues to expand their impressive collection of outerwear with the ultralight Imja Jacket. The Imja is lightweight and packable and has been great for trail running, mountain biking and road biking.

Sherpa Adventure Gear Imja Jacket Features:

  • Hem dips low in the back for coverage in the forwardleaning position
  • 2-way stretch fabric is treated with DWR (durable waterrepellent) coating
  • Elastic binding at the hood opening keep it snug to the head
  • Hand pockets and Napoleon chest pocket (with earphone port) zip shut
  • Hem drawstring adjusts at one side seam
  • Reflective accents (front, back and on upper arms) keep you visible
  • Weight: 4.9 oz
  • MSRP: $125

Sherpa Adventure Gear Imja Jacket

My Experience

Finding that perfect balance between protection and weight can be tricky. Sherpa Adventure Gear has navigated that line quite adeptly with the all-new Imja Jacket. While SAG has just recently entered the aerobic mountain market, the Imja Jacket is so well-built you’d think outdoor fitness was all they made. I’ve tested a handful of SAG products over the years and while they have all been great performers, the Imja sets a new standard.

I’ve been using the Imja for over 6 months on the road and trail and have had no luck finding its equal. For trail running, the Imja maintains a high level of breathability while shedding a fair amount of water and snow. I love the cut of the jacket as it’s articulated sleeves and thumb loops provide a “one with the jacket” kind of feel. The stretchy material moves with you and never hinders your stride. In a pinch, the hood extends the protection and works well atop a running hat. The Napoleon chest pocket swallows an iPhone for Strava tracking and keeps it in place on-the-go.

jasonImjaRunning

As you can see, the Imja can be rolled up and compressed down to a very small size. It’s about the size of a can of soda, which is easily stuffed away in a back pocket or hydration pack.

For mountain biking, I’ve appreciated the breathability and comfort. The hem extends well on the back and keeps you covered. Again, the cut lends itself well to the riding position. Further, I’ve really loved bringing this jacket along for my road rides. It stuffs down to nothing and fits comfortably into a jersey pocket.

sagImjaPacked

Most of my road rides involve at least a thousand feet of climbing. And, in cold weather, the downhill can feel pretty brisk. The Imja’s athletic cut and stretchy fabric is well-suited to high-speed descents without any annoying wind flap. Not a road purist jacket, but I call it my “Ace in the Hole” and will continue to bring it along anytime weather is questionable. It weighs next-to-nothing, so why not?

The size Large jacket fits my 5’11”, 175 lb frame perfectly. They nailed the fit.

Long-term Update (9/13/13): This jacket remains in the back of the Subaru, ready for anything Mother Nature throws my way. I’ve tucked it into my bike jerseys for summer rainstorms and brought it along camping and for traveling. Definitely a gear-of-the-year candidate. 

The Good:

  • Perfect athletic cut
  • Stretchy fabric moves with your every move
  • Excellent wind protection
  • Weighs next-to-nothing
  • Usable, functional pockets
  • Hood and thumb loops round this thing out well

The Bad:

  • Gotta wash it after a couple of uses
  • Roadie purists may scoff, but this thing is a fantastic road bike jacket
  • Might be hard to find (it’s just hitting stores now)

The Bottom Line

I’m fantastically in love with this jacket. Its ultralight, packable and offers that killer extra layer for early-morning or shoulder-season activities.

Buy Now: Available at Campsaver.com

Written By

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground. Follow Jason Mitchell on Google+.