Epics make great stories but the thrill is usually lost in the middle of the experience when you're soaking wet and full of pain. Twelve ounces of prevention can prevent the wet part at least, with Mountain Hardwear's back-to-basics Epic rain jacket. The Epic is an inexpensive way to keep the hitch out of your giddyup in wet climes.
We tested the women's version in retina-burning Green Flash and as advertised, it is fully waterproof courtesy of Mountain Hardwear's Conduit Silk shell material and taped seams. The material has its ups – it's lightweight and tougher than dinosaur crap – and its downs – it gets pretty clammy if you're planning on firing up the boiler, so wear a base layer. The Epic has pit zips and venting mesh pockets to compensate, but if you're looking for serious breathability you'll need to move up to one of MH's more technical materials.
The Epic has a roll-away hood with one-pull adjustment and a reinforced brim, rip-and-stick cuffs, dual hem drawcords and two hand warmer pockets with zips and flaps. Instead of a chest pocket there's an zippered arm pocket on the upper left sleeve. It's just big enough for credit cards and an iPod. The front zipper is fully flapped with top and bottom snaps and a microfleece chin guard. A trim womanly fit rounds things out; although the jacket is a tad larger than the size would suggest the waist is definitely anatomically correct. If you're looking for a modern take on a classic hard-shell rain jacket at a reasonable price, check out the Epic.