I am a professional adventure sports photographer and rock climber. When I started climbing, I started shooting images of climbing. Both have taken me to places all over the world, in every possible climate, from shooting adventure races in the remote jungles of Fiji to rock climbing on perfect Spanish limestone. I’m incredibly grateful that, as an Eddie Bauer Exploration Guide, I spend most of my time following my two passions.
When I booked a trip to Spain this spring I imagined trading my cold, snow-filled Colorado winter for Spanish sunshine and limestone. I’ve been coming to Spain to climb for about ten years so I felt relatively confident I knew what I was in for. Unbeknownst to me, I was entering an unusually wet, sunless season in Catalunya, Spain.
Despite not fully knowing how wet this trip would get, a must-pack for me on any trip is a rain shell. Lucky for me I was testing one of the more versatile jackets I own, the Eddie Bauer Super Sevens Rain Jacket/Storm Layer. Because this trip was rock climbing focused rather than work focused, I tried to pack light – always a struggle for professional photographers. However, this jacket felt like a game-changer in the weight department.
The Super Sevens Kit is a three-layer, ultralight, and warm system. Each of the three layers is individually packable inside their own pockets. The fact that each of these pieces works great alone meant I needed to pack fewer items in total. The whole concept of this layering system is that there are 7 total ways to wear it. This made meeting my weight requirement for international travel a breeze.
I arrived in Spain optimistic about the weather and hoping for dry rock. Alas, most of the climbing days have been soggy and wet. If you’ve spent a fair amount of time in humidity, you’ll know that this makes for colder than average body temps.
I was so stoked that I threw the Super Seven Kit into my bag because they became the items I needed every day. In fact I’m writing this while wearing the cozy fleece layer.
On previous trips to Siurana, Spain I’d sampled some hard routes I knew I wanted to return to. Unfortunately the constant rain made me scale back my goals to routes I could climb in a couple days vs. a couple weeks.
Staying cozy even in the humidity while wearing the Fleece Layer. / Love the Fleece Layer for climbing.
Sometimes you gotta switch your goals around to stay sane in unpredictable weather. I was really pleased to climb a bunch of classic moderates during the dryer days. Highlights were a beautiful 5.13b that takes a blue streak to the top of the wall, and a pumpy 5.13a on tufas.
I can’t stress how awesome it was to clip individual layers to my harness. To access some of these climbs, you would do a short scrabble to a ledge system where you want everything clipped to something. Even though I wasn’t multi-pitch climbing on this trip, I would definitely bring the Super Sevens Kit on a wall with me because it’s so lightweight.
FIT / COMFORT
Wearing these layers individually or together is extremely comfortable. They have a great fit under a harness, or for walking around town on a rest day. Because they are so light, it feels like you’re insulated without being bulky. The active layer is probably the lightest, which I wore alone on the warmest day.
LOOK / STYLE
I received a ton of compliments while wearing the Super Sevens Kit. The ice blue fleece is really pretty and the way the fleece is stitched is super unique. I want it in every color. Personally, I like having all the layering options so I can style them in any way I want. I’m wearing the XS and felt that the sizing was spot on for most Eddie Bauer activewear. I personally love black rain shells, so the Storm Layer was perfect. I find that black rain shells can dress up for a city day when everything else you brought might be covered in dirt.
The biggest feature for me was the lightweight factor. The Active Layer is unbelievably light on its own, and each layer holds its own in some of the lightest insulation pieces I own. The Storm Layer is the lightest rain shell I’ve ever seen, hands down. The versatility of the layering really allows for any weather. One of the reasons I was so stoked to have it on this trip – unpredictable weather in tow.
For me, the packability of this jacket is also one of its selling features. One thing you should know about Adventure Photographers is that our backpacks are extremely heavy. Especially if you’re like me and enjoy shooting on only prime lenses. Before leaving for Spain, I included one emergency layer in my photo bag.
DURABILITY / CONSTRUCTION
I’m admittedly hard on my gear. From lenses to jackets, I know I can put gear through the worst of it. It’s for this reason that I do consider durability and product construction when picking critical pieces of gear. After wearing this jacket for the past 3 months, I’ve been super impressed with how durable it is considering how light weight it is. What I’ve learned is – light doesn’t mean fragile.
Fleece and Active layer for shooting. / All three for the days the weather was the worst.
This jacket system is perfect for spring and perfect for active days. I love that it’s so packable, both in the stuff sack and individual pockets. I really like how stylish the Fleece Layer is. Something about the way the kangaroo pocket is designed gives it a fashionable edge. I’d order this in more colors just because I like wearing it so much.