Gear Test: EMS Women’s Divergence Pro Jacket

Jim Darroch from EMS contacted me months ago about testing a few items, and I said that I’d be happy to.  They sent me several items for free, and in return, I do review with no obligation to be glowing or positive.   I received the items late summer, and since they were winter pieces I had to wait until I had field tested them enough in the right conditions to justify a fair and honest review.

The item in this review is the Women’s Divergence Pro Jacket.  This jacket is make of Polartec Wind Pro fleece, which is highly wind resistant and warm and has a DWR (durable water repellent) outer treatment to help shed water.  The cut is semi-fitted, meaning that it fits over base layers easily, but is trim enough to be layer in combination with other outer layers.  The fabric has a little stretch, perfect for reaching and stretching without binding.

EMS Women’s Divergence Jacket. Photo from EMS’ website.

I have been using this jacket in a variety of ways over the past few months.  I have hauled this jacket along with me on weekly hikes in the White Mountains since mid-September, and while I didn’t always need it, it was a good test of the durability of the fabric to be lashed to a pack and carrried along for the ride.  On one trip, I wore it in mild temps, with winds in the high 20’s and was not cold at all, so it makes for a good spare layer on windier days.  I’ve also worn it twice in winter-like conditions.  Layered with a heavier base layer, I was able to wear it comfortably in below freezing temperatures with winds in the teens without an additional shell.  I also wore it on a recent hike in which we encountered rain and temps in the 30’s to falling snow and temps below freezing for the entire hike.  With the appropriate base layer, I stayed warm and and more importantly, dry the entire hike.  A non-hiking test of the jacket was the weekly trip to the grocery store.  I don’t know about your grocery store, but several of ours think they’re going to single-handedly recreate the Ice Age indoors.  Year round, I take a fleece or something so that I can shop in comfort.  This jacket worked nicely for that task, too, and was nice enough looking so that I didn’t look like I just stepped out of the woods.  The last test was the washing machine test.  Would it easily wash and come out looking good?  Absolutely.  After washing in cold water and drying on low heat according to the care tag directions, my jacket looked as good as new.

Wearing my jacket on a recent snowy trip to Mt. Hale.

As far as features, it has all the things you’d expect.  The external pockets and zippers have nice pulls so that you can use them while wearing gloves.  There is a drawcord at the hem to help block out wind.  There are underarm zips, good for venting out a bit of heat, without having to take the jacket off.   The collar has a soft lining and the neck seam is taped so that it doesn’t scratch.   The one thing this jacket needs that I missed having is an inner pocket of some type.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or have a zipper, but just something that you could slip electronics or snack into.  When it is cold out, my camera does better if I keep it near my body for warmth and so do some of my snacks so that they don’t freeze completely.  One more layer of pocket lining in the same spot as the pockets with a bound top edge would do the job and could be incorporated into the existing seams.

With the exception of an inner pocket, I liked the Divergence Jacket quite a bit and it is a good addition to my collection of layering pieces.  While it primarily will be used in the winter, I think it is a good jacket for use in any windy conditions where you just need to block the wind.  Its styling works for the trail and beyond.

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