Mishmi Takin Virunga Review
- Excellent venting & great breathability
- Durably waterproof
- Attention to little details
- Sizes large
- Heavier than most of its competition
- No handwarmer pockets
As a jacket designed with temperature regulation in mind, the Mishmi Takin Virunga dumps heat and sweat vapor more effectively than just about any other shell we’ve tested. Designed for steamy environments, where it often rains the hardest, it’s no slouch at deflecting water. However, it is heavier than most in this test set and the fit wasn’t great on everyone.
The Mishmi Takin Virunga uses an eVent membrane matched with a lightweight exterior layer. We’ve found eVent to dependably block rain and this iteration lived up to our expectations. In addition, a slight drop tail and a helmet compatible hood increased the weather shielding. Waterproof zippers on the main zip and two Napolean pockets further kept the interior dry.
Mishmi Takin was born out of the founder’s search for rain gear that could handle the humidity and temperatures of the tropics. So when he couldn’t find any, he built his own. He started with the eVent membrane, which is more open to vapor transport than other membranes. Then he added mechanical vents in the upper back and on the front. Finally pit zips dump even more heat. All in, the Mishmi Takin Virunga is one of the most breathable 3-layer shells we’ve tried. On a sweaty multi-day bike ride in the rain, it kept a tester from overheating, while everyone else was wet from the inside.
The Napolean pockets of the Mishmi Takin Virunga sit high out of the way of a harness or pack straps, but that also means there is nowhere to warm hands. Reinforcements along the lower sides of the jacket help protect from pack abrasion. The hood’s three-point adjustment is easy to fit over a helmet or cinch snug. It also has adjustable wrists. The only complaint: some testers didn’t like the multi-color scheme of the zippers, including glow-in-the-dark pulls. Sizing was a bit big.
Testers purposefully put the Mishmi Takin Virunga away wet and covered in road grime to see how it survived the next day. This is an important test, because eVent is all about free flow through the jacket pores; it works best when it’s clean. Regardless, the mud did little to impact the jackets breathability or waterproofness. Heavy bushwhacking similarly had no impact on the lightweight rip stop shell.
Breathability and weight are often linked but not in this case. While the Mishmi Takin Virunga is one of the most breathable shells we’ve used, all the venting adds up, pushing the weight to 16 ounces. That’s a little heavy for a spring and summer shell.
How We Tested It
The shells in this test were used in the summer and fall of 2016 (one of the wettest falls in 36 years on Vancouver Island). Storm after storm hammered this already rainy area. At one point it rained for more than 30-days in a row. On the dry side of Vancouver Island almost two feet of rain fell just in the month of November. That’s all to say it was one of the best testing labs for three layer storm shells ever. With the help of a team of sea kayak guides, mountain bikers, trail runners, and climbers we rigorously tested this and the other shells in this test on day trips and multi-day expeditions, where staying dry is the key to staying safe.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our Best Active Insulation Jackets of 2017 and Best Hybrid Jackets of 2017, along with other storm shell tests, soft shell tests, and other related hiking and camping gear reviews.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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