First Lite FlashStorm Jacket Review

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First Lite FlashStorm Jacket Review

I am a firm believer that all hunters in the West should be using an eight-piece clothing system. They’re your first line of defense against the elements and can save your life in an emergency situation. Seven of the eight pieces are pretty standard – base layer top and bottom, mid layer, pants, puffy jacket, and top and bottom rain gear. The last piece is severely overlooked by most people, but I’ve come to find it very important in certain scenarios.

This overlooked piece is the “windstopper” layer, or as some people call, it a soft-shell jacket. Some examples of this would be the Guide DCS jacket from Kuiu and the Jetstream from Sitka. Both of these pieces provide ample protection from the wind and will shed light rain and snow. The problem is that they’re heavy and they don’t pack down very well. That’s where the First Lite FlashStorm Jacket comes in.

This 6.5-oz jacket features a 3-layer water-resistant material with fully taped seams. It packs down to about the size of a fist when you squish it down into the bottom of your pack. It’s the type of jacket that when you fold it into its chest pocket and show it to your buddies, they go, “Oh you can just throw that into your pack and you won’t even know it’s there,” and they’re not wrong.

My first real opportunity to wear the jacket for its intended use came back at my family’s farm in Michigan. I only had a few hours in the morning for a quick shed hunt and it was misting rain with a steady 15-MPH wind. Knowing the jacket was water resistant, I figured I’d get a little wet, but it would be a good test. After those couple of hours, I returned to the house completely dry. The jacket shed the light, misty rain very well and left my mid-layer completely dry. I also busted a little brush looking for horns and was pleasantly surprised at how well the flashstorm held up – a couple of punctures from briars, but no tearing. That’s far from the jacket's intended use, so I don’t put much stock in the micro holes.

Most recently, I got to use the jacket for what will be my intended use. During a spring bear hunt in Idaho, a couple of buddies and I were faced with a constant barrage of sleet, snow, and wind. It would sleet for 15 minutes, snow for 15 minutes, then whip wind for 15 minutes, then start all over again. This is where I found the jacket to shine. This is probably a non-traditional way to use a jacket like this, but I’ve found it to be very comfortable.

I wore the FlashStorm over my base layer and then added my mid-layer (Sitka Ambient Jacket) over the FlashStorm. This allowed me to block the wind while making pushes up the mountain, and when the weather did break, I could easily strip my mid-layer and still be able to block the wind with the FlashStorm. These weather conditions always seem to be common when hunting in the spring or late fall, so I can see myself using that system for many more days.

If you’re in the market for a jacket that bucks the wind and keeps a little moisture off you without taking up any real estate in your pack, I’d definitely check this piece out.

Get the FlashStorm Jacket at Scheels

Author

Brody Layher

Brody is not your typical Midwest transplant. He’s one of the most meticulous and well-researched backpack hunters on our staff. After a childhood consumed by whitetail and turkey hunting, Brody moved out west in pursuit of big game hunting opportunities and joined our team in 2019. Since then, he’s taken mule deer, coues deer, and elk with a bow, and he’s always planning his next adventure with a fervor that’s rare, even among our team. It’s no surprise that, given his last name, he’s obsessed with high-performance clothing systems. Brody was also a competitive bass fisherman and now lives in Scottsdale with his wife and his dog, Rocky.

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