No more "cold anxiety"
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: M
Got this just in time for a weekend-long backcountry avalanche course and was very glad to have it! The temps were 5-15 degree for most of the 3-day class with lots of standing around between skinning. This definitely kept me warm. I live in Montana and, being a fairly cold person, I often strayed away from backcountry skiing in weather below 20 degrees for fear of being too cold to enjoy it. I also have Raynaud's and I'm often fearful of frostbite. Previously, I was always scrambling at the top of the skin track to grab extra warm layers to throw on (I get cold in a hurry when I stop moving in cold weather). This jacket really helped alleviate my anxiety about cold weather activities. It was easy to pull out and throw right over the top of whatever I was skinning in. My old winter puffy was just too big and cumbersome to pack along and not as windproof. Finally, I have a jacket that packs small enough to stuff in my touring bag, is lightweight, sheds snow really well (it was dumping snow for most of the first 3 days I wore it), blocks wind reasonably well, and so far, has proven to be relatively tough (withstood skinning through thick pine trees, carrying a pack and carrying skiis on my shoulder).
As for sizing...I'm 5'7", 145lbs with broad, muscular shoulders and relatively narrower hips. I usally wear a M in shirts (8-10) and S-M bottoms (sz 6). I often buy mens shirts for the upper body fit. I bought this in a sz M. This jacket fit true to size in the upper body (room for underlayer and mid-layer), however, if you have wide hips it might not work as great. It's longer in length, which is nice as it covers my butt, however, pretty snug around the hips/butt area. It has a two-way zipper that helps, and I keep it zipped all the way down when I'm standing or skiing, but when sitting on a ski lift or bending over digging in my pack I felt like I needed to unzip the bottom quite often. I feared if I didn't I might strain the bottom of the zipper too much and eventually cause it to tear. Also, if I wanted to fit more layers underneath, or just have a little extra room, I would have sized up to a sz L. The hood was roomy enough for my helmet and cinched down easily when not wearing a helmet.
Lastly, I was between this jacket and a couple of others when I ordered it, and I chose this one mainly for the added durarbility of the reinforced shoulders/arms and for the extra pockets (hand and chest pockets outside, skin pockets inside). I'm very happy with my decision in that regard. The inside pockets keep my skins warm on the ski down and the chest and hand pockets are really convenient and worth it for me.
Overall, great performance for a pretty good value. Would recommend it for backcountry skiing and winter camping. OR could probably do some fine tuning on the sizing of the hips though. Although, it is advertised as more of a climbing jacket, so maybe that's why the hips are narrow?