The Enlightened Equipment Visp (men’s / women’s) is among the best value ultralight jackets on the market for its price, protection, and adjustability. We’ve worn this jacket for hundreds of miles, including stints in Colorado’s monsoon season and the first snow of the year in the Pacific Northwest. We hope our experience helps you decide if the Visp is the right jacket for you.
WEIGHT: 6 oz. (Medium)
EXCELLENT VALUE – Compared to other ultralight jackets, like the Marmot Bantamweight ($275, men’s / women’s) and Zpacks Vertice ($299, men’s / women’s), the Enlightened Equipment Visp comes in at a great price. With pit zips, a ton of adjustment points, and a high waterproof rating, the Visp is an excellent value.
ULTRALIGHT – The Visp weighs in right around 6 oz. for a size medium, so it’s lighter than many other popular UL jackets from our list of the Best Rain Jackets, like the minimal Outdoor Research Helium (men’s / women’s) and full-featured Montbell Versalite (men’s /women’s).
WATERPROOF – The Visp is a 3-layer rain jacket meaning it has a waterproof outer layer, a breathable midlayer, and a liner that helps keep the midlayer from getting clogged with sweat and oil from skin. Three-layer jackets tend to be the most protective and will generally stay waterproof for longer than two and 2.5-layer jackets. The Visp has a hydrostatic head of 20,000 mm., which means it can withstand a pretty good amount of pressure (like sitting under backpack straps, for example) before wetting through. For reference, around 10,000 mm. is considered the minimum for a good rain jacket.
FIT IS EASY TO LAYER– The Visp has a roomy fit that allows you to comfortably wear a puffy coat or fleece underneath when conditions are cold and wet. Compared to some of our other favorite ultralight rain layers, like the Montbell Versalite and Outdoor Research Helium, the Visp has a nicer fit when paired with bulkier layers.
HIGHLY ADJUSTABLE – There are a ton of adjustment points on the Visp, so you can dial in the perfect fit for the conditions. It has more cinch points than all of our other favorite UL jackets, and we like the design of the Visp adjustments more. For example, we find the cordlocks on the waist and hood easier to use than the toggles on the Versalite. We prefer the velcro wrist cuffs on the Visp as opposed to the cordlock cinches on the Vertice – especially when we have gloves on. And the OR Helium has no wrist or front of hood adjustments at all.
PIT ZIPS – Manufacturers often cut out features like pit zips when designing ultralight jackets to keep weight and cost to a minimum. But Enlightened Equipment included them in the Visp, which we really appreciate for the added breathability. We wish the zips were a bit longer for even better ventilation, but we’re happy to see this feature included on such a lightweight jacket.
DURABLE FOR THE WEIGHT – You’ll need to be a little delicate with this ultralight jacket, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how durable it is. We’ve hiked through thick willows and shrubs in it, and didn’t get a single snag or tear. It’s best to treat it with care to ensure it lasts for many seasons of hiking, but you can rest assured that it’s up for daily wear on tough trails.
QUIET – The textured outer material of the Visp isn’t as swishy or crinkly as many other rain jackets. This isn’t a make or break, but it’s a good quality of life feature that makes it more pleasant to wear in nasty weather.
NOT AS BREATHABLE AS SOME – We’ve found that we get clammy quickly in the Visp when we’re doing high-output activities, like going uphill or scrambling. For this reason, we don’t reach for this jacket as much for wind protection like we would the Zpacks Vertice. Interestingly, the Visp has a higher moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) than the Vertice, but in practice we found the Vertice to be far more breathable.
ULTRALIGHT GEAR TENDS TO BE LESS DURABLE – While we think the Visp is very durable for the weight, it’s still a piece of ultralight gear and as such will never be as tough as more burly jackets. We think the tradeoff for a lower packed weight is worth it since a rain jacket will often be tucked away in your backpack. And if treated with care, the Visp can last for many seasons of use.
EE Visp VS. Zpacks Vertice
If you’re looking into the Enlightened Equipment Visp (men’s / women’s), chances are you’re also considering the Zpacks Vertice (men’s / women’s). We’ve used both extensively, and we’ll use this section to break down some of the differences.
Price – The Vertice is a pretty spendy jacket at $299, whereas the Visp comes in at a much more palatable $210. Winner: EE Visp
Weight – The Visp and Vertice are essentially the same weight, so there’s not a clear winner by the numbers. But the Vertice is much longer than the Visp, so we prefer it for the extra coverage without added weight. Winner: Zpacks Vertice
Waterproofing – Both the Visp and the Vertice are three-layer jackets with a hydrostatic head around 20,000 mm. We found that we felt less damp in prolonged downpours when wearing the Vertice – likely due to the better breathability, which we’ll touch on shortly. We also prefer the length of the Vertice, which covers your butt, and will also shield a fanny pack at your front if that’s your thing. Both jackets will keep you dry, but overall we felt less clammy in the Vertice. Winner: Zpacks Vertice
Breathability – The EE Visp has an MVTR of 75,000 versus the Vertice with an MVTR of 56,000. The Visp should be more breathable in theory, but during field testing we found the Vertice to be the superior jacket in this category. Winner: Zpacks Vertice
Fit – The fit of both jackets will comfortably accommodate insulating layers underneath. But what puts the Visp a cut above the Vertice here is the hood. The Vertice hood is a little too floppy, so it can dump water on your face if it’s not paired with a baseball cap. It also tends to get in your eyes in high winds. The hood of the Visp has better adjustment points and a more structured brim, so it’s more pleasant to wear and protective in really bad weather. The Visp also has cordlock adjustments at the waist, and the Vertice doesn’t. Winner: EE Visp
Overall, we prefer the Zpacks Vertice, but it depends a bit on what you’re going for.
The Vertice (men’s / women’s) is more breathable and kept us a little drier, but the Visp (men’s / women’s) is more affordable and has a nicer hood. We think either jacket is a worthy investment. If you’ll mostly need your jacket for cold weather, the Visp will work nicely. For summer adventures, we’d recommend the Vertice. You can check out our full review of the Zpacks Vertice Jacket here.
The ultralight Enlightened Equipment Visp (men’s / women’s) is an awesome value. It’s highly adjustable so you can tailor the fit to the conditions, and its three-layer construction has a great waterproof rating for keeping you dry in inclement weather. If you’re looking for a ridiculously light rain jacket that doesn’t compromise on features, you’ve found it in the Visp.
We hope this review helps you determine if theEnlightened Equipment Visp Rain Jacket (men’s / women’s) is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions or visit our Facebook page and Instagram to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!
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