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Sweet Protection - Jailbreak Jacket

posted Sep 6, 2016, 12:41 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Sep 6, 2016, 12:42 AM ]

The Sweet Protection Jailbreak Jacket is a long-cut lightweight waterproof hard shell, that unlike the majority of the modern technical outdoor garments, is not designed for a specific activity. Go Out Project has always supported the idea that outdoor clothing, including the most technical one, must be versatile. Therefore, intrigued by the Norwegian all-purpose jacket we decided to test its true performances on our favorite testing lab: the outdoor!

Technical Description

The Jailbreak Jacket is a loose-fit, long-cut, 3-layer GORE-TEX® Active jacket not designed for a specific activity, but rather intended as a multi-purpose garment.

Features:
  • Articulated elbows
  • Adjustable, helmet-compatible hood
  • Water resistant YKK zips
  • Brushed chin flap
  • Asymmetric cuffs
  • Two side pockets laminated with ventilation mesh on the inside
Materials:
  • GORE-TEX® Active 
Weight: 370 g (Size L)

Our Test


We tested the Jailbreak Jacket for more than 5 months over spring and summer primarily for hiking and mountain biking. Our tests were conducted mostly during bad weather conditions (cloudy/rainy and windy with temperatures approximately between 5 and 15 ºC), mostly at high altitude on alpine trailsWe used the jacket in combination with a single baselayer (mid-/lightweight merino or synthetic) or with the addition of a fleece or another insulating layer (either down or synthetic jacket) at lower temperatures.

First Impressions

When you first wear it, the impression you have is that the Jailbreak is a lightweight, comfortable, and protective jacket! Overall, the jacket shows great care in the manufacture (as for the nicely hidden and taped seams) and a good choice of high-quality materials. However, as most hard shells the fabric is rather stiff, plastic-like to the touch, and quite "noisy"... a typical problem of most hard shells, that we dubbed the "cardboard-feeling"! 


Some of the first comments of our testers:
  • "Very light, but at the same time very protective! The cut is so long that even your bum stays dry and protected."
  • "I like the hood: it's very roomy, it fits nicely (even on a helmet) and it never bothers. The high collar and the large visor protect very well from wind and rain."
  • "The fabric is a bit stiff, but the jacket has a loose fit, which makes it quite comfortable and allows good freedom of movement."

Lightness & Packability

With about 370g the Jailbreak is definitely in the lower range of weight for a hard shell jacket. Its fabric is thin and light, but one has to consider that the very long cut adds some extra weight. It can be folded and packed into a relatively small volume (the size L that we had in test can be squeezed in approximately 1500 cm3=1.5L), which might not be the most impressive packing capability, but still make this jacket quite convenient whenever you want to have a protective hard shell handy in your backpack in case of sudden weather changes.

Cut, Fit & Design

The Jailbreak has a loose fit, which allow great freedom of movement. Underneath the jacket there is enough room to fit relatively thick insulation layers (we used it comfortably with a combination of a mid-weight base layer and a Primaloft insulation jacket). The jacket is very carefully designed: the articulated elbows guarantee good comfort and freedom of movement, so that the jacket
never bothers you or pulls when moving your arms
. The length of the jacket, which reaches down to cover your buttocks, is already sufficient to keep the body well sealed and protected from snow, rain, and wind almost down to your legs. The same is true around your wrists, thanks to the well fitting wrist cuffs.
 The size of the hood is large enough to let your head move almost completely freely also when wearing a helmet. The hood adjustment cords are easy to tighten and release, also when wearing gloves. While the central zipper works flawlessly, the two zippers on the side pockets do not slide very easily (a common problem of waterproof reverse coil zippers).

Comfort

The excellent shape of the articulated elbows and shoulders, the loose cut, and the well-fitting and roomy hood contribute to the overall comfort of the Jailbreak jacket. Its lightweight combined with the ergonomic fit make the Jailbreak very comfortable, despite the stiffness of its fabric. No chafing, no unwanted constraints, little bulk, and no annoying pulling anywhere. All the adjustment cords both on
the waist and on the hood, as well as the wrist cuffs, seal very well and no drafts penetrate anywhere.

Breathability

The level of breathability of the GORE-TEX® Active membrane may be a tad better than that of the GORE-TEX® Pro, but don't expect miracles! This is still a laminated jacket with a membrane. During activities of moderate intensity and, with a well chosen combination of base layer and insulation layer, moist condensation is tolerable. However, during the most intense activities, as soon as you start sweating, you will also notice you will need some extra ventilation. Fortunately, some relieve come from the ventilated side pockets.

Weather Protection
Hard Shells are designed to be the most protective garments against rain, wind, and snow. When you are out there exposed to the worst stormy conditions, your outer clothing layer should prevent water, snow and wind from penetrating inside.The GORE-TEX® Active membrane of the Jailbreak does this job perfectly: it doesn't let a
single droplet i
n and it provides a perfect shelter from wind. All the seams on the jacekt are wonderfully taped and the waist, the collar/hood, and the wrists can be nicely sealed. We especially appreciated this shelter under heavy rainfalls, but most of the time, especially high in the mountains, we find it a very comfortable and very effective shelter from wind.

Durability

The outer fabric is relatively thin. However, the most critical parts (elbows and shoulders) are protected by using a different fabric, more resistant to abrasion and tear. Another very important feature for durability is the careful protection of all the seams. No exposed seams means less chance of rubbing and wearing on the most critical spots. The DWR coating, which is generally the weakest feature on a hard shell, has resisted surprising well. We only noticed some weakening around the shoulders, where the backpack straps rub. Overall, the quality of the materials used is very good and this ensures a longer life of the jacket.


Versatility

The Jailbreak jacket has not been designed for a specific use.
However, it is a hard shell and, as any other hard shell, it is designed to provide high weather protection. It is, therefore, a garment destined to be used in bad weather conditions. If used with the proper combination of layering clothes, it can be used throughout the year. The limited breathability, however, limits its use to less intensive activities only. The long cut is nice in many situations, for example when mountain biking, since it protects your buttocks from wind, mud, and rain. Although we haven't had the chance to try it for skiing or snowboarding, because of its long cut and high level of protection from the elements, it can be very well-suited for those activities.

Our Verdict


The Jailbreak jacket is a hard shell: that is a garment you want to have handy in all those situations in which snow, rain, and wind leave no escape. Its most outstanding features are its lightweight and its comfy, long-cut design. Both the loose fit and the long cut contribute to provide a good level of comfort and good freedom of movement. The high quality of materials, coupled with the good design and
manufacture, contribute to the overall durability. If what you are looking for is a top-quality weather-protective shell that you can use for hiking, mountain biking and skiing/snowboarding throughout the year, the Jailbreak is a really valuable choice.

PROS

+ High degree of protection

+ Good comfort and freedom of motion

+ High quality of materials


CONS

- Not extremely versatile

- Limited breathability


 Lightness & Packability   8/10
 Comfort   8/10
 Cut, Fit & Design   8/10
 Weather Protection  10/10
 Breathability   6/10
 Versatility   7/10
 Durability   8/10
 Total Score  7.9/10

Sweet Protection - Supernaut Jacket & Pants

posted Mar 9, 2016, 10:18 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Mar 25, 2016, 2:03 AM ]




The primary need of every skier and snowboarder is protection from snow, wind, and cold. In the last few years, in the attempt to achieve the highest possible level of weather protection on technical garments for skiing & snowboarding, many outdoor clothing brands have re-proposed long-cut jackets combined with bibs. A perfect example of such combos is the one designed by the Norwegian brand Sweet Protection: the Supernaut Jacket and Pants and their women versions, called Voodoo Jacket and PantsWe had the chance to test the newly designed, highly technical garments for a whole winter. This is a report of our experiences of what the real performances of these garments are, which we collected through some genuine testing out there in winter on the mountains.

Technical Description

SUPERNAUT and VOODOO Jacket
Both the Supernaut Jacket and its women version, the Voodoo Jacket, are loose-fit and long-cut 3-layer GORE-TEX® Pro jackets, specifically designed for skiing/snowboarding. The only difference between the two is the feminine cut of the Voodoo Jacket.

Features:
  • Articulated elbows and shoulders
  • Adjustable, helmet-compatible hood
  • Removable and tuck away swivel powder skirt with stretch panels
  • Water resistant YKK zips
  • Brushed chin flap
  • Asymmetric cuffs
  • Wrist gaiters
  • Water resistant YKK ventilation zippers
  • Two chest pockets
  • Laminated inside audio/phone pocket
  • Laminated inside pocket
  • Key/card arm pocket
  • Feminine fit (Voodoo)
Materials:
  • GORE-TEX® Pro 
  • Outer fabrics: 150 denier on arms and shoulders, 70 denier on the body.
Supernaut Jacket Weight: 655 g (Size L)
Voodoo Jacket Weight: 575 g (Size L)

SUPERNAUT and VOODOO Pants
Both the Supernaut and the Voodoo Pants are 3-layer GORE-TEX® Pro bibs, specifically designed for skiing/snowboarding.The Voodoo Pants have a feminine cut.

Features:
  • Woven stretch material on the back
  • Detachable suspenders
  • Inside Cordura facing and reinforcement
  • Powder gaiters
  • Full length 4-way YKK AquaGuard® Coil zippers
  • Transceiver pocket
  • Two large cargo pockets
  • Bib pocket
  • Laminated pocket bags
  • Feminine fit (Voodoo)
Materials:
  • GORE-TEX® Pro
  • Outer fabrics: 150 denier on knees and seat, 70 denier on the body.
Supernaut Pants Weight: 735 g (Size L)
Voodoo Pants Weight: 675 g (Size M)

Our Test


We have put the Supernaut and Voodoo Jacket and Pants to the test for an entire winter season. We tested the garments for skiing, snowboarding, splitboarding, and backcountry skiing. The tests were conducted exclusively in winter conditions and in
deep snow: the weather was mostly cloudy, snowy, and windy with frost temperatures (approximately between -12 and -5 Cº)
. We skied mostly on Alpine glaciers in the Tyrolean Alps, in the Dolomites, and in the island of Hokkaido, Japan.

First Impressions

The first impression is pretty clear: these garments are bomb-proof! The Supernaut and Voodoo Jacket and Pants are thick and robust hard shells made to offer the highest protection for skiing & snowboarding. The fabric is tough, a bit stiff, certainly protective, but also quite heavy and bulky. Overall, the garments showcase great care in the manufacture (as for the nicely hidden and taped seams) and a careful choice of high-quality materials down to the smallest detail (for example, the aluminum buckles to fix the suspenders on the pants). The position of the pockets (high on the torso of the Jacket and low on the tight of the pants) allows easy access to them even when carrying a backpack and when wearing a climbing harness (in case rappelling is needed). The fit is loose, but

all the critical spots are perfectly sealed and protected.


Lightness & Packability

Because of their extra length and the thick fabric utilised on the most critical parts, plus the large number of items and features, both
Jacket and Pants have a considerable weight. Altogether the combo adds up to about 1.4 kg! This is often the price to pay when very high protection is sought. Also packability can certainly not be considered the main quality of these garments. When carefully packed, each of them occupies approximately the size of an american football ball. Therefore, they are not the most practical garments to put on, take off, and shove into your backpack, as you often need to do when backcountry skiing or splitboarding. They are rather the protective shells that you will want to, or need to, keep wearing all the time out there on the mountain, till your skiing day is over.

Cut, Fit & Design

Both the Jacket and the Pants have a relatively loose fit, which allow great freedom of movement. Underneath, the jacket leaves enough room to fit relatively thick insulation layers (we used it most of the time with a combination of a mid-weight Primaloft jacket and a thick synthetic base layer)Both the Jacket and the Pants are very carefully designed: shoulders and elbows are shaped so that the jacket never bothers you or pulls against your movements and the same is true for the pants, because of the slightly pre-curved knees. The length of the jacket, which reaches down to cover your buttocks, is already sufficient to keep the body well sealed and protected from snow and wind around the waist, but in addition you also have an internal powder skirt, which can be removed if not needed. When the jacket is worn in combination with a bib, like the Supernaut and Voodoo pants, the two form an impenetrable barrier around your torso and waist, leaving absolutely no chance for the snow to get in, not even after the most terrible falls in deep powder. The wrist gaiters on the jacket and the gaiters on the pants
work perfectly in keeping the snow out of gloves and boots.
 The hood-adjustments are integrated into
the fabric and are easy to 
tighten and release, also when wearing gloves. T
he elastic cords are all well hidden on the inside, which avoids any annoying "whipping" when windy. The size of the hood is large enough to let your head move almost completely freely also when wearing a helmet. While the central zipper works flawlessly, on the other zippers the head doesn't slide very easily (a common problem of waterproof reverse coil zippers). The elastic suspenders on the pants are easy to attach and very comfortable. The only flaw we found: the transceiver pocket on the upper torso on the pants is too small for most transceivers, not very practical, and not very easy to access.

Comfort

The excellent shape of the articulated elbows and shoulders, the loose cut, and the well-fitting and roomy hood contribute to the overall comfort of the Supernaut and Voodoo jackets. The same is true for the pants, which have a combination of very comfortable elastic suspenders and a stretchable woven panel that effectively increase flexibility. The absence of any constricting belts or cords around the waist on the pants lets them slide freely, therefore providing great freedom of movement. When used in combination, jacket and pants form a double, impenetrable waterproof and windproof barrier on the torso that offers ultimate protection from drafts and snow and that creates a comfortable "warm shelter". As on most Hard Shells, the fabric is quite stiff, but this is the price to pay on a garment that has to withstand the worst weather conditions.

Breathability

The GORE-TEX® Pro membrane is well known to be highly protective, but not highly breathable. After trying the Supernaut and Voodoo jackets and pants, we could confirm this once more. The GORE-TEX® Pro membrane is capable of providing a decent breathability only up to a limited amount of physical effort. At low temperatures, even during the most strenuous skiing/snowboarding descents your body won't require an
extremely efficient cooling (that means your skin won't need to produce and get rid of much sweat). Therefore, in these circumstances the GORE-TEX® works fine. But when skinning, walking, or climbing, your body will quickly need an extremely efficiently sweat evaporation and that's when the 
GORE-TEX® Pro completely fails. When wearing the Supernaut or Voodoo combo jacket+pants during skinning, the double GORE-TEX layer on your torso will rapidly make you end up in a sauna. Opening the ventilation zippers under the arms and along the legs will only provide a partial and often
uncomfortable relief.

Weather Protection
Hard Shells are designed to be the most protective garments against rain, wind, and snow. When you are out there exposed to the worst stormy conditions, your outer clothing layer should prevent water, snow and wind from penetrating inside. Well, the Sweet Protection Supernaut and Voodoo Jackets and Pants do this job perfectly. We have been standing in the storm, sometimes for hours, and we could still feel comfortable, dry, and fully protected. In these situations we really appreciated the capability of the fabric to stop the wind and the perfect sealing at all the extremities, which allow jacket and pants to form a warm air chamber inside, keeping all the cold drafts outside. The long cut of the jacket coupled to the high-reaching bib forms an impenetrable barrier for wind and snow.

Durability

The Supernaut and Voodoo Jackets and Pants are undoubtedly

extremely durable garments! The outer fabric has an excellent resistance to abrasion and tear. We also noticed that the thick fabric offers a good protection from whacking tree branches while skiing in the woods (obviously, better avoid the tree trunks!). The fabric has perfectly resisted some accidental encounter with the ski edges. Even the DWR coating, which is generally the least durable part of Hard Shells, has resisted quite well. We only noticed some weakening on the shoulders, where the backpack straps rub. We certainly can say that the Sweet Protection garments fulfils all the expectations for highly durable and protective skiing/snowboarding garments.


Versatility

The Supernaut and Voodoo Jackets and Pants have been designed for a specific use: skiing and snowboarding. They are perfectly designed to offer the greatest comfort and the highest protection when skiing in the coldest winter days and high on the mountains, even in the stormiest of the weather. However, given their conspicuous weight, the long cut of the jacket and the highly reaching bib on the torso, and because of their difficult packability,
these garments are not well suited to a very wide range of activities, except maybe those requiring light physical effort in bad
 weather conditions.

Our Verdict


The Supernaut and Voodoo Jackets and Pants are the perfect combos for those epic powder days. No matter how deep it gets and how much you sink into the snow, you'll always stay comfortable, dry, and warm from the top your head to the tip of your toes. The high quality of the materials, the carefully studied design, and the precise cut and fit contribute to enhance comfort and durability. In our view these Hard Shells only have one real downside: the conspicuous weight, the long cut, and the far from minimalistic packability make these garments difficult to be used for other activities than skiing or snowboarding. If what you are looking for are top quality garments for skiing or snowboarding offering uncompromising protection from the harshest winter conditions, we highly recommend these Jacket+Pants combos!

PROS

+ High degree of protection

+ Excellent cut and fit

+ High quality of materials and durability


CONS

- Heavy and not easily packable

- Not very versatile

- Limited breathability


 Lightness & Packability    6/10
 Comfort    8/10
 Cut, Fit & Design   10/10
 Weather Protection   10/10
 Breathability    6/10
 Versatility    5/10
 Durability    9/10
 Total Score   7.7/10

Mountain Hardwear - Torsun Alpine Jacket

posted May 3, 2015, 12:51 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated May 15, 2015, 11:10 PM by Italo Balestra ]




The Hard Shell is an essential piece of mountaineering gear, like the ice ax or the backpack. It represents your "handy refuge". The Torsun Alpine Jacket by Mountain Hardwear does not have a fireplace inside, but it promises to provide you with the same level of protection of a stone and concrete mountain hut. Let's see if it's true...

Technical Description

The Torsun Alpine Jacket is a waterproof jacket with a 3-layer laminated construction designed specifically for mountaineering. With a clean design, a slightly tight cut and nothing more than the essential, a glance suffices to understand what it has been design for: climbing!

Features:
  • Dry.Q™ Elite* instant on waterproof, breathable, air permeable technology
  • Asymmetric velcro wrist-straps
  • Two chest pockets with PU zippers placed high enough not to interfere with the harness 
  • Single interior zippered security pocket for keys, ID, and other valuables
  • Helmet-compatible adjustable hood
Materials:
  • Dry.Q™ Elite 40D 3L - 100% Nylon
Weight: 290 g (Size M)

*NOTE: The Dry.Q® Elite is a breathable waterproof membrane developed by Mountain Hardwear. It offers a valid alternative to the classical laminated fabrics with membrane or coating, from which it differs for its ability to be air permeable, rather than only permeable to water vapor. The traditional waterproof membranes begin to breath only when the amount of water vapor and heat inside the garment is high enough. The Dry.Q® Elite, instead, thanks to its larger pores,
allows the moisture to dry as soon as you put it on

Our Test


We have put the Torsun Alpine Jacket to the test for the entire winter and part of spring. We tested it for ice climbing, alpine climbing and mixed mountaineering routes, as well as for backcountry skiing. The tests were conducted mainly in winter conditions (snow, wind, chill), but we had also some occasional rain showers at warmer temperatures in spring.

First Impressions

At first glance it is immediately clear that the Torsun Alpine Jacket is a minimalistic and ultra-technical garment. Its main aim is not aesthetics, but essentiality of the lines and minimalism. The fabric seems durable, despite not being terribly stiff to the touch. The position of the pockets (very high on the torso, above the line of the harness) is a clear indication of its nature: the Torsun Alpine Jacket is designed for climbing!


Lightness & Packability

The Torsun Alpine Jacket follows the typical Mountain Hardwear's style: "light & fast"... as we like it at Go Out Project. A 3-layer Hard Shell weighting less than 300 g is an exceptional result, a real champion of lightness! Impressive also if you consider that the length of the jacket is greater than that of a classic-cut mountaineering jacket. The extra length is designed to offer greater protection when climbing in bad weather conditions. Its packability is also better than that of many similar Hard Shells of competitor brands.


Cut & Fit

The Torsun Alpine Jacket has a regular fit, roomy enough to fit one or more layers underneath. We have used it very often in combination with a thin insulator and it has never hindered our movements. The cut is very well studied: shoulders and elbows are shaped so that they are never bothering or limiting, even during the most ample movements. The length of the torso (a couple of centimetres longer than standard) helps to keep the body well sealed and protected around the waist. The jacket remains correctly positioned under the harness, even when stretching to the max to reach a distant hold. The cuffs have a smaller-than-standar strap, which is very practical sealing perfectly the wrists without excessive bulky material around it.
The hood-adjustments and
 the elastic cords are well hidden on the inside, which avoids any annoying "whipping" when windy.

Comfort

The excellent shape of the elbows, the roomy-enough cut, and the well-fitting hood contribute to the overall comfort of the Torsun. Thanks to its extra length, the jacket offers better protection from drafts, water or snow which truly makes it a comfortable "warm shelter". As on most Hard Shells, the fabric is quite stiff, but this is the price to pay on a garment that has to withstand the worst ill-treatments on the rocks. In any case, even when climbing, the rigidity of the fabric has never bothered us.

Breathability

In comparison to any other Hard Shell with a "classic" waterproof membrane (e.g., Gore-tex) the Torsun is much more breathable. The Dry.Q Elite membrane is actually a step forward compared to everything that we usually classify as a Hard Shell: it offers the same degree of protection from the elements, but it breathes much more, actually bridging the gap with the Soft Shells.

Weather Protection
A Hard Shell should be your most protective garment. When you are out there exposed to the worst conditions, it should prevent water, snow and wind from penetrating inside your layering system. Well, the Torsun Alpine Jacket does this job perfectly. We have been ice climbing for hours while water was pouring down the wall and no drop has passed through the fabric. The longer cut avoids draft or water to penetrate around the waist and allows the jacket to sit perfectly under the harness.

Durability

The Torsun Alpine Jacket is undoubtedly a durable garment! It has an excellent resistance to abrasion and tear: rubbing against the rock is generally of no harm  The fabric has even resisted some accidental encounter with the ski edges. We certainly can say that the Torsun fulfils all the expectations for a mountaineering garment.


Versatility

The Torsun Alpine Jacket has been designed for a specific use: climbing in the worst weather conditions. This makes it an obvious choice whenever you have to get ready to face the worst. Highly breathable and very light, it is well suited to all the "light and fast" 
challenges, when the weather is bad or uncertain
. With the right combination of intermediate layers it is a garment that you can use throughout the year, whenever you need 
maximal protection from the elements. We found it very useful, not only for ice climbing 
and mixed mountaineering climbing, but also for backcountry skiing.

Our Verdict


In conclusion, we truly enjoyed the qualities of Torsun Alpine Jacket. It is a functional, high-performance, highly specialized, and minimalistic garment, that adopts unconventional and valid technical solutions, namely in the choice of the waterproof membrane and the longer cut of the torso. The Torsun Alpine Jacket represents an extremely valid alternative waterproof membrane that really stands out in a flat landscape fossilized on old, ultra-hyped, but less functional technologies. If you are looking for a garment offering uncompromising protection and that can withstand all possible abuse on rock, snow and ice walls, we highly recommend you this jacket!


PROS

+ Excellent breathability

+ High degree of protection

+ Excellent cut and fit


CONS

- Pocket zippers do not work very smoothly


 Lightness & Packability   8/10
 Comfort   8/10
 Fit & Cut   8/10
 Weather Protection   9/10
 Breathability   9/10
 Versatility   9/10
 Durability   8/10
 Total Score  8.4/10

Marmot - Artemis Jacket

posted Mar 21, 2015, 2:00 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated May 2, 2015, 12:58 PM ]




Lightness, breathability, and versatility... for Go Out Project these are the three most important qualities that a technical, protective shell should have. The Marmot Artemis Jacket is a waterproof jacket that seems to possess exactly these three fundamental properties, so... let's just test it!

Technical Description

The Marmot Artemis Jacket is a very light and relatively stretchable 2.5-layer Hard Shell. For its lightness, its clean design, and its relatively tight fit, it's a garment suitable for all those outdoor activities where weight and size are key factors.

Features:
  • Marmot® NanoPro™ Membrain® Waterproof/Breathable Stretch Fabric
  • 100% Seam Taped
  • Helmet Compatible Hood with Laminated Moldable Brim
  • PitZips™ with Water Resistant Zippers
  • Pack Pockets™ with Water-resistant Zippers
  • Internal Zippered Pocket
  • Asymmetric Cuffs with Velcro® Adjustment
  • Elastic Draw Cord Hem
  • Angel-Wing Movement™
Materials: NanoPro™ MemBrain® 100% Nylon Shadow Ripstop Stretch 2.9 oz/yd

Weight: 323.2 g
(Size M)

NOTE: Avoiding the use of the most renowned waterproof membranes with Hollywoodian-marketing, Marmot manages to keep the price lower than most competitors. Thanks Marmot, we fully support this choice!

Our Test


We used the Artemis jacket for backcountry skiing, alpine climbing, and mountaineering in the Mont Blanc massif (Mont Blanc, Elixir of Astaroth, Grand Capucin) in June in windy and snowy weather conditions. The Artemis jacket accompanied us during the ascent of Kang Yatze (5600 m) in variable weather conditions.

First Impressions

As soon as you grab it you immediately perceive its lightweight. Its construction immediately conveys its DNA, which is that of a multipurpose garment for many activities in the mountains and not only. The Artemis is a jacket with which you are immediately in tune, so that it is obvious how to put it to the best use!

Lightness & Packability

Although not the lightest in existence, with its 300 g the Artemis can certainly be considered a lightweight Hard Shell. If you consider that you are wearing, or carrying in your backpack, a full shelter against the worst weather that weighs so little and that packs in a ridiculously small volume, it must be recognized that it is an extraordinary light and small garment!

Cut & Fit

In order to maximize breathability the fit is quite tight, while still leaving room for thin intermediate layers. Thanks to the stretchability of its fabric, the Artemis does not hinder your movements evereven in the most extreme reachy movements when climbing. The sleeves fit well to the arms without bothering around armpits or elbows. The cuffs, with adjustable velcro, have an asymmetric shape that wraps very well around the wrist and that protects your hands better than the usual straight cut. The hood does its job very well, also when wearing a climbing helmet, thanks to the functional volume-adjustment cords. The hood stays in the right place without hindering your view also when you rotate your head. The length on the waist and the positioning of the front pockets are perfect for those who frequently wear a harness.

Comfort

As most Hard Shells and especially the 2.5 layers, it has a plastic-like
feeling to the touch, pretty far from the pleasant feeling offered by a Soft Shell. But still, the stiffness of the Artemis is not terrible. Combining the right materials, Marmot has managed to reach a good compromise between performance, comfort, and strength of the fabric. Unlike 90% of the competitors, Marmot comes out with a fabric that offers similar weather protection, but with a stretchable fabric! This greatly enhances comfort. Great job! And stretchability is obviously fundamental not to hinder your movements.

Breathability

Waterproof membranes that are breathable enough to be functional for sport clothing applications do not exist yet... and although this might not be "politically correct" to say, it's the truth! Having said that, compared to most 2-layer Hard Shells the Artemis breaths definitely better. Marmot's NanoPro MemBrain®, is indeed a step ahead in comparison, for example, to a classic GoreTex Pac-Lite: Marmot's membrane is overall more comfortable and the critical limit of condensation on the inner surface is reached significantly later. During the most intense efforts, the large ventilation zips help to let
the 
excess heat out.

Weather Protection

Weather protection is perfect! Wind, snow, water, and whatever else might fall from the sky does not penetrate this stretchable, protective shell. So, whenever the weather conditions become worrying, you can be sure that the Artemis will keep you protected! All the adjustments (on cuffs, hood, and waist) seal the bad weather out and the heat inside.

Durability

Ultralight Hard Shells, in particular the 2.5-layer ones, are typically more subject to wear and tear. To keep the weight low, most brands opt for light, but less resistant materials. However, on the Artemis the strength-to-weight ratio is surprisingly high! The highly abrasive granite, on which we thoroughly tested it, has not caused any alarming damage to the shell. Perhaps the Artemis is less durable than a heavier 3-layer Hard Shell, but it is certainly hard to die, even if "grated" on the granite!

Versatility

Not being a garment designed for a specific use (which is something we truly appreciate!), it behaves very well in a multitude of activities in the mountains. Thanks to its lightweight and excellent packability you can always easily fit it in your backpack. Because of its stretchable fabric you will favor it over other protective shells and you will end up carrying it with you all the time .Definitely a good choice if you are looking for a 4-season Hard Shell to do whatever you want out there!

Our Verdict


The Artemis is a multipurpose garment: not a jacket specifically designed for a particular activity, but suitable for all outdoor uses where you have to protect yourself from the elements. It is a lightweight, highly packable jacket with a good cut and that breaths almost like a Soft Shell. If you do not need one of those 1.5-kg armors from the 90s to protect you from the rain and you like to move freely, light and fast, the Artemis is the right jacket for you. Just bring it with you for any adventure outdoor and wait for the weather to launch the challenge!


PROS

+ Stretchable fabric

+ Good breathability

+ Good cut and fit


CONS

- Plastic-like feeling

- Ventilation zippers do not work very smoothly


 Lightness & Packability    8/10
 Comfort    8/10
 Fit & Cut    8/10
 Weather Protection    9/10
 Breathability    9/10
 Versatility    9/10
 Durability    8/10
 Total Score   8.4/10

Outdoor Research - Valhalla Hoody Jacket

posted Jan 2, 2015, 4:11 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Jan 2, 2015, 11:44 AM ]




The Outdoor Research Valhalla Hoody Jacket is a soft shell designed for backcountry skiing or splitboarding, and for all those situations where you need good breathability and good weather protection simultaneously. Could we miss the chance to try it? Certainly not! 

Technical Description

The Valhalla Hoody Jacket is a three-layer soft shell with a GORE® WINDSTOPPER® membrane and with the following features:
  • Water resistant, windproof, and breathable
  • Adjustable wire-brimmed hood
  • Two way separating front zipper
  • Internal front-zip stormflap
  • Two way TorsoFlo™ hem-to-bicep zippers
  • Two zippered napoleon pockets with one access PassThru pocket
  • Zippered internal mesh pocket
  • Internal media pocket with touch screen
  • Two zippered hand pockets set above hip belt or harness
  • Hook/loop cuff closures
  • Drawcord hem
  • DWR coated zippers on front zipper, hand pockets, and TorsoFlo™ zippers
  • Silicon shoulder grippers for enhanced stability of the backpack
  • Taped seams only on the most critical areas
Materials: GORE® WINDSTOPPER® X-FAST Soft Shell, 3L 85% nylon, 15% spandex face // 100% polyester back
Weight: 613 ​​g (size L, men's version) 

Our Test


We tested the Valhalla for 4 months mainly for backcountry skiing and freeriding toward the end of the winter season and over spring, the ideal period for the use of a garment of this kind. The temperature range during all days of testing was mostly around 0 °C, with peaks down to -5 ºC and up to +10 ºC. The skinning under the sun have been perfect to test the breathability of this jacket!

First Impressions

The fabric is rather soft to the touch, it has a comforting thickness, and it is even slightly stretchable! The manufacture is excellent, as well as the choice of materials used. All the finishings (taping, zippers, cord adjustments) are very well made. All the zippers work with excellent smoothness and are easy to access and operate with one hand or wearing gloves.

Lightness & Packability
Being just above the threshold of 600 g, the Valhalla can be classified as a medium/heavy-weight jacket. However, considering the high degree of protection it offers, it is a good compromise between lightweight and protection. It is still lighter than many of its direct competitors. Its compressibility is not amazing, but the Valhalla is thought to be a garment that you can keep wearing all day long, 'til you get back home (see also below in the section Breathability). 

Cut & Fit

The cut of the Valhalla is roomy enough to allow good mobility and extra space for intermediate layers. The jacket leaves ample range of motion without bulky excess material. Having some extra cm of length on the waist compared to garments intended for mountaineering, the Valhalla fits well on long-limbed body types and it offers better protection when sinking in deep powder. The hood has different adjustment options. The visor has an internal flexible wire that is useful to maintain the optimal shape of the hood, but which, unfortunately, reduces its volume making it incompatible with a helmet. The sleeves are long enough and they usually keep the
wrists well covered, but the velcro straps are positioned in a way that does not allow to tighten the cuffs beyond a certain threshold, therefore they cannot always guarantee a proper closure, especially if you wear thin gloves.

Comfort

As for comfort, in our opinion, the choice of materials is particularly good: the fabric is soft, protective, and slightly stretchable. This contributes significantly to make the Valhalla jacket particularly comfortable and suitable for sports that require high mobility. The lining material is pleasant and it is never abrasive on the skin. The well-made cut greatly contributes to increase the comfort. The neck is high, separated from the hood, and it seals very well. The main pockets are large (large enough to stuff your gloves or even the skins in there) and they are optimally positioned: they are easily accessible even when wearing a backpack or a harness. Inside all the pockets, even those on the chest, a mesh fabric helps to improve ventilation.

Breathability
The breathability of the GORE® WINDSTOPPER® X-FAST membrane has always been very good. During most of the ascents, the Valhalla has maintained a pleasantly dry interior without forcing us to open the ventilation zips, except in some of the warmest days. Breathability is, indeed, the real strength of this jacket! The TorsoFlo zippers are simply the most efficient ventilation solution in existence: the length of the ventilation zippers, as well as the possibility of opening the jacket all the way from the hip to the armpits, like a poncho, are unmatched. The TorsoFlo zippers are also practical when wearing a backpack, since they can be opened both below and above the waist band. For all these reasons, the Valhalla is one of those garment that you wear in the morning, as you step out of the door, and that you only take off in the evening when you get back home!

Weather Protection

The WINDSTOPPER® is an excellent barrier even against the most stubborn winds. It can comfortably withstand as much snow as you can get in a whole day in Niseko! Therefore, with the Valhalla you are going to be pretty safe... what are you saying? ... not all the seams are taped?... that is true, but we can honestly say that we've never suffered the lack of taping in the less exposed areas. Finally, as in most of the protective shells, the degree of thermal insulation is not very high, so in colder days, think in advance about the most convenient combination of layers!

Durability

The quality of all the materials used and their wear resistance are very good. The slightly stretchable fabric of the Valhalla often saves from accidental tears and cuts. By the end of our test, we didn't notice any sign of wear or breakage, but the Valhalla is not armor! Please treat it with care!

Versatility

It is a jacket designed specifically for backcountry skiing or splitboarding and if you plan to use it mainly for these activities, you'll certainly love it. However, even when it leaves its own "habitat", the Valhalla never feels lost. For example, it is also great for a winter day-hike. It can virtually be used for any other outdoor activity in moderately cold climates. You can really leave room to your imagination!


Our Verdict


In conclusion, the Valhalla Hoody Jacket is a very functional garment for the activities for which it has been designed (backcountry skiing,
splitboarding, and ski touring), offering a good compromise between protection and comfort in the practice of high-intensity sports in moderately cold environments. It is particularly well suited for backcountry skiing, splitboarding, or even short winter hikes during which it meets two opposing needs: the need to dissipate moisture during the ascents and the need for protection from wind and snow during the descent. It is a great garment for those who like to reach the best lines with their own legs!

PROS

+ Good cut and manufacturing 

+ Good breathability 

+ TorsoFlo ventilation zippers


CONS

- The velcro cuffs are not well positioned - The hood is incompatible with a helmet


 Lightness & Packability    6/10
 Comfort    8/10
 Fit & Cut    7/10
 Weather Protection    8/10
 Breathability    9/10
 Versatility    8/10
 Durability    8/10
 Total Score  7.7/10


Vaude - Ducan Soft Shell Jacket

posted Oct 23, 2014, 4:15 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Oct 27, 2014, 1:03 AM ]




What is the highest degree of protection that a Soft Shell can reach before converting itself into a Hard Shell? ...The answer is obvious: a Soft Shell with a windproof membrane! The Vaude Ducan Soft Shell Jacket is a perfect example of such a garment! We tested it for more than 6 months and here are the results.

Technical Description

The Ducan is a Soft Shell jacket for generic use in the mountains. It is a laminated jacket with a windproof membrane developed by Vaude. The Ducan jacket features:
  • Ergonomic cut 
  • Adjustable cuffs with velcro
  • 2-way front zip with back flap 
  • Elastic drawcord at the waist adjustable through the pockets 
  • Underarm ventilation zips
  • Two front pockets that also function as extra ventilation, plus one chest pocket (men's version) or arm pocket (female version) 
  • Hood with visor and adjustment cords
Materials
  • Outer fabric: 100% Polyester 
  • Windproof membrane: "Windproof 100" - 100% Polyurethane 
  • Lining: 100% Polyester 
  • DWR Eco-Finish*
Weight: 605 ​​g in size M, men's version 

* Unlike the majority of the DWR treatments used today on outdoor garments, the water-repellent treatment Eco-Finish contains no fluorocarbons. This means no non-biodegradable,
bioaccumulative, or toxic substances. And Go Out Project really loves this!

Our Test


We tested the Ducan jacket for more than 6 months mainly in the mountains but in very different conditions: from the cold alpine winter to the milder summer in the valleys of the Dolomites, from sunny days to heavy rain showers. We used it for skiing, mountaineering and climbing at high altitude, rock climbing, backcountry skiing, hiking in the woods... and picking berries!


First Impressions

Some of the comments of our testers after the first few field tests of the Ducan: 

  • "A little heavy, but it gives you the same level of protection of a German panzer!" 
  • "It impedes a bit the movement of the arms." 
  • "I found it especially good for short hikes in the mountains, in days of moderate cold and uncertain weather." 
  • "Annoying tinkling of zip cursors and not very comfortable pockets."

Lightness & Packability

It is certainly not a lightweight jacket, you notice it immediately when you grab it in your hand. With approximately 600 g in the men's version in size M it is closer to the weight of a Hard Shell ... and not one of the lightest! When you wear it, you notice its weight and sometimes you wish you could throw a few hundred grams of cloth away. But it is clear that the design is aimed firstly to protection and durability, not to lightweight. Obviously compressibility goes hand in hand with lightness. In the backpack it occupies a volume that is far from negligible. Probably it's better to wear it rather than having to stuff it in your backpack!

Cut & Fit

The Ducan follows fairly well the shape of the body, better in the
female version though. The fit is not too tight and it leaves enough room for additional layers underneath the jacket, as a light insulator or a fleece for example. The length on the waist and hips is enough to keep them well protected and it doesn't interfere with the harness, when you are wearing one. The fabric is a bit poor in elasticity and does not always help during activities that require ample movements. The hood is not intended for use with a helmet: the volume is relatively small and able to accommodate only some small mountaineering helmets in case you really need to. However, the hood has a good cut and it never bothers or obstructs the view when you rotate your head.

Comfort

The fabric of the Ducan is not extremely soft or stretchable, but the texture of the material composing the lining makes the jacket overall sufficiently comfortable. The feeling you get when you wear it fully reflects the nature of this garment: it is not as soft as a classic Soft Shell without membrane and it is not as stiff as a Hard Shell, but rather a good compromise in between the two. The knitted honeycomb lining, slides smoothly over the skin and over other layers, it favours the transport of moisture, and it gives a pleasant
feeling of "warmth".

Breathability

Compared to a classic Soft Shell, the presence of a membrane, obviously, inhibits air circulation, but despite this the Ducan has a satisfactory level of breathability. The combination of a fairly breathable membrane and a good open-weave outer fabric helps the garment to function adequately even when the physical effort is more intense. Only in the most extreme situations, such as high humidity and downpours, we noticed some problems of condensation inside the garment. To tackle this, however, the large underarm ventilation zips and the hand pockets, lined with an open mesh, provide free air circulation, therefore in most cases you don't need to take the jacket off.

Weather Protection

Considering that it is a Soft Shell, the Ducan offers a more than satisfactory level of protection form the elements. Obviously, the membrane makes the difference and in the most extreme
weather conditions it is undoubtedly an advantage to have it
. The Ducan protected us well for a few minutes even under strong downpours. If you tighten the hood, the cuffs, and the hem on the waist the jacket seals quite well, maintaing the body heat inside. In high mountain environments, when exposed to strong winds, sometime we noticed a few drafts. Is this a flow or and advantage? It depends on the situation! The range of temperatures for which the Ducan is best suited is toward the colder ones. The DWR works well, but it does not have a long life. We recommend reactivation every two, maximum three washes.

Durability

It is thick, tough, and durable! The Ducan does not fear abrasion and tearing. Accidental touch with sharp tools or with sharp rocks are not a problem. The only weak point are the seams, that in some places are exposed and vulnerable. Overall, however, it is a garment that is little affected by wear over time compared to an average Soft Shell. At the end of our test the cuffs, which are usually more subject to wear, are still almost perfect! Certainly, the Ducan is a good investment in the long run! In fact, high durability also means delaying the need for a replacement and the need for a new 
purchase, so less waste of resources and energy and less waste into the environment. This is something that Go Out Project fully supports!

Versatility

The fact that the Ducan has not been designed for a specific use, actually broadens the range of activities for which it is well suited. Mountain environments with cool/cold temperatures are ideal, while at intermediate/warmer temperatures and in more humid climates, due to the windproof membrane, the Ducan is not the best choice. For climbing in winter, dry tooling, ice climbing, or demanding alpine routes the Ducan is an excellent companion. It functions very well also for less demanding activities such as hiking in cold environments or skiing in warmer days.

Our Verdict


If you're looking for a jacket that offers very good protection from the elements, but you think, as we also do, that in most
situations
a Hard Shell is actually superfluous
, then the Ducan could be the right garment for you. If you also require a high level of durability, then with the Ducan you certainly hit the spot! When it's starting to get chilly and it's time to work hard out there, the Ducan is ready to protect you!

PROS

+ High level of protection

+ High durability


CONS

- Definitely not a featherweight - Limited freedom of movement - Some details can be improved


 Lightness & Packability    5/10
 Comfort    7/10
 Fit & Cut    8/10
 Weather Protection    8/10
 Breathability    7/10
 Versatility    7/10
 Durability    9/10
 Total Score  7.2/10

Mountain Hardwear - Super Chockstone Jacket

posted Sep 7, 2014, 9:17 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Sep 18, 2014, 9:39 AM ]




Lightweight, super stretchable, and wind-resistant the Mountain Hardwear Super Chockstone Jacket seemed to be a great garment for alpine climbing, rock climbing, and much more... This season we had the opportunity to put the Super Chockstone to the test for several months and it turned out to be really an extremely versatile garment.

Technical Description

The Super Chockstone is a soft shell jacket with a simple and minimalistic design. To reduce weight and bulk and to maximise functionality some of the commonly used features have been eliminated: there are no elastic adjustment-cords on the hood and no velcro adjustment-straps on the cuffs. The double-weave, abrasion-resistant softshell fabric is light and highly stretchable.

The Super Chockstone features:
  • DWR (durable water repellent) treatment
  • Zippered chest pocket
  • Two zippered hand pockets
  • Low-profile hood (without adjustments)
  • Elastic with single-hand adjustable cinch on hem
  • Elastic cuffs (without adjustments)
Material: double weave soft shell fabric 91% nylon, 9% elastane
Weight: 371 g 

Our Test

We tested the Super Chokestone jacket for more than 6 months, over spring and summer, probably the best epoch of the year to test this light softshell because the milder temperatures allow a wider range of uses. We used it for climbing, backcountry skiing/snowboarding, trail running, mountain biking, and hiking
in a range of
 temperatures of approximately -2°C to +18°C and mostly during sunny and windy weather conditions, but we also had the chance to test it under a couple of heavy rain showers

First Impressions

The Super Chockstone is all about lightness and minimalism and you realise that immediately. It has a simple design and it is functional, which is generally the key for every successful product. When you put it on, it fits quite well: the stretchable fabric easily adjusts to different body shapes, leaving at the same time great freedom of movement. The stretchable fabric is also quite soft and pleasant on the skin. The three pockets are very spacious and easy to reach.

Some of the first comments of our testers:
  • "Light and simple. Perfect for climbing when it's cold or windy."
  • "It's super stretchy! I love it! It protects me and it leaves me completely free to move."
  • "Very comfortable! I use it a lot for biking, climbing, and even to hang out with my friends at night."
Lightness & Packability

Given the good level of protection it offers, the Super Chockstone can certainly be considered a lightweight softshell jacket. With almost 400 g, it is definitely not the lightest softshell in existence, but its fabric is much more protecting than a thin ultralight windbreaker. In fact, it is thick enough to provide some minimal degree of insulation, which makes it suitable for a wider range of temperatures even as a single layer. The bulkiest and heaviest part of the garment is the thick central-zipper flap. We would have reduced its width by half, at least! However, the jacket packs in a relatively small volume (approximately 1L).

Cut & Fit

The highly stretchable fabric, specifically chosen to guarantee the maximum mobility while climbing, offers the right amount of flexibility to adjust well to different body shapes. The jacket fits well and tight, without constrictions on any part. It always keeps its correct position on the body even during the most dynamical movements. There are no bulky parts on the most critical areas and

no chafing is noticeable anywhere. The elastic adjustable cord on the waist is very useful to protect the belly and lower back from cold air drafts. This is certainly appreciated when climbing and cycling. If the cuff bands were a bit more elastic, they would sit more tightly on the wrists and they would let your hands slide more easily when putting on and taking off the jacket.


Comfort

The soft shell fabric is light and highly stretchable, therefore offering excellent mobility, which is great during climbing. The small patches of soft lining material are strategically placed on some of the most critical inner parts, as for example inside the collar to avoid rubbing on the zipper. The three pockets are very spacious and easy to reach, also when wearing a harness or carrying a backpack. The thickness of the fabric is optimally chosen, providing good "thermoregulation": it retains some warmth and at the same time it allows a minimal degree of ventilation. The collar and the hood wrap around the neck and protect very well without chafing. 


Breathability

The soft shell fabric of the Super Chockstone breathes quite well
 and dries relatively quickly. The inner face of the fabric forms a kind of micro 3D-pattern which helps the evaporation process by spreading sweat and moisture along the fibres and away from the body. At low temperatures you rarely reach the point of discomfort caused by excessive condensation. Only above a certain temperature and during more intense activities you obviously tend to overheat and sweat more, but generally the quickly drying material helps to keep you dry, therefore limiting the need to take the jacket off completely.

Weather Protection

The durable water repellent (DWR) treatment is key in preventing the water to easily penetrate through the fibres. Despite the elasticity of the fabric, the DWR has lasted for months, even after several machine washes. Only on the shoulders, areas that are most exposed to wear, the DWR has become weaker, but this is normal (the DWR needs to be reactivated with a certain frequency). Protection from light rain and snow is relatively good, but during more intense rain showers, after a few minutes the water inexorably seeps
through the fabric and seams. Protection against wind is also good, although a moderate amount of air always penetrates
through the fabrics. However, in most cases this does not bother, since it provides a minimal degree of air circulation which favours moisture evaporation.

Durability

The Super Chockstone is a pretty tough garmentWe have used it intensively for months: we rubbed it against rocks, we whacked it on tree branches, we drenched it in sweat, we squeezed it and stuffed it in our backpack full of climbing gear... and after all our mistreatments it is still in very good conditions. The only part that suffered a bit the wear has been the elastic band around the collar and hood. As mentioned above, also the DWR treatment started to fade on the shoulders, but this can be considered normal after months of use.


Versatility

We found the Super Chockstone well suited for thousands of uses: for climbing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, trail running, mountain biking, hiking... and what not... It's so comfortable that you often prefer to grab only that from your closet. It's also quite tough and it doesn't require much care, so you often just chuck it in you pack and bring it with you anyway... just in case, if the weather is going to change. The only limits in its usage begin at warmer temperatures, but that's ok. If it gets too warm while climbing for example, you can quickly take it off and squeeze it in your backpack.

Our Verdict


The Super Chockstone jacket is a super comfortable, extremely versatile garment that, despite being specifically designed for climbing, offers great functionality in a wide range of outdoor uses. It is light, super stretchable, tough,

and moderately wind and water protective. It offers great freedom of movement and extreme versatility. If you choose the Super Chockstone, you can be pretty sure that it won't sit in your closet very long.


PROS

+ Very comfortable

+ Elevated freedom of movement

+ High versatility


CONS

- Limited water resistance

- Some grams could be still easily filed off


 Lightness & Packability    7/10
 Comfort  10/10
 Fit & Cut    9/10
 Weather Protection    7/10
 Breathability    9/10
 Versatility    9/10
 Durability    8/10
 Total Score  8.4/10

Outdoor Research - Helium Hybrid jacket

posted Jun 17, 2014, 1:25 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated Jun 21, 2014, 2:55 AM ]




This spring we had the chance to thoroughly test the Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Jacket, an interesting development of the Helium jacket, made significantly lighter by eliminating the waterproof membrane where this is less needed, that is on the lower part of the trunk. The Hybrid version of the Helium, being even lighter and more breathable than the fully waterproof version of the same jacket, seemed to be an even more versatile garment. We have put to the test the women version for several months and here we report on the results of our tests.

Technical Description

The Helium Hybrid Jacket™ is an ultralight windproof jacket of hybrid construction. It is equipped with waterproof, breathable Pertex® Shield+ fabric on the shoulders and hood and a super-light, stretchable and breathable nylon fabric on the body.

The Helium Hybrid features:
  • Zippered Chest Pocket that doubles as Stuff Sack
  • Drawcord Hem
  • Internal Front-Zip Stormflap
  • Water-Resistant Zippers
  • Elastic Cuffs
  • "Halo" Hood Closure
  • Key Clip
Fabrics: 
Shoulders and hood - Pertex® Shield+, 2.5L, 100% nylon, 30D  
Body - 100% nylon ripstop fabric

Weight: 144 g (Size M)

Our Test


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We tested the 
Helium Hybrid jacket for more than four months, from late Winter to the end of Spring, probably the best period to test this ultralight shell because of the milder temperatures. We used it for climbing, snowboarding, trail running, mountain biking, and hiking in a temperature range of approximately -2°C to +18°C in all possible weather conditionsWe tested the women version, but a men's version is also available.

First Impressions

The Helium Hybrid jacket is soft, stretchable, and super-light. Its trim fit adapts perfectly to the women's shape of the body and the light degree of stretchability of the nylon fabric that composes most of the jacket, allows you to move without limitations. The quality of materials and the finish are very good. We immediately fell in love with the cheerful red color, which enhance your visibility on the snow and in foggy conditions. The Helium Hybrid is also available in other eye-catching colours!


Lightness & Packability

The Hybrid version of the Helium is extremely light (about 140g in

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size M!) and it can be packed in a very small volume (approximately that of a tennis ball!). It is so light, soft, and stretchable that, when you wear it, you hardly notice it at all. You can stow it in the chest pocket, which doubles as a stuff sack. This makes it the perfect protective garment to carry with you everywhere. It easily fits in any backpack, so you'll have no excuse... you can always carry it with you, whatever your favourite sports or outdoor activities are!


Cut & Fit

The trim fit and the well designed cut of the Helium Hybrid perfectly adapt to the female body shape. The jacket fits tightly on the trunk, but, thanks to its stretchable fabric, it also guarantees great freedom of movement and, at the same time, it has an elegant and graceful look! In high-speed sports, such as snowboarding or mountain biking, the fluttering is limited, thanks to the softness of the fabrics, especially on the trunk. Despite its tight fit, enough room is still available underneath the jacket for an additional insulating layer. When temperatures are low you'll need some extra warmth!


Comfort

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Overall the Helium Hybrid is a very comfortable jacket! Super light, soft, and stretchable, it is perfect for rock climbing, allowing ample freedom of movement and keeping you dry and warm also in windy conditions or under light rain. Because of its exceptional lightness, you hardly ever notice that you are wearing it, you will simply forget about it, even while running! This means that you can always concentrate 100% on your performance.


Breathability

The body is made of a simple nylon fabric without waterproof membrane, which makes the jacket much more breathable than the fully waterproof version (at least on the trunk and arms). Breathability is more than adequate even during the most intense activities, such as trail running or mountain biking. The waterproof Pertex® Shield+ fabric is used only on shoulders and hood. This provides good protection when the weather turns bad, but it makes these parts of the jacket less breathable, of course. 

Weather Protection

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The Helium Hybrid is a very versatile jacket that offers a perfect shelter for any high-intensity activity out there, especially on those days of uncertain weather.
The nylon ripstop fabric used on the body offers good wind resistance. Moderate and strong winds have never been a problem, in particular if the jacket is coupled with a proper insulating layer. With the right combination of layers the Helium Hybrid works pretty well also at lower temperatures, therefore it can be used even in winter for skiing or snowboarding. In rainy conditions it offers relatively good protection on the shoulders and hood as they are equipped with waterproof, breathable Pertex® Shield+ fabric. However, the body is not totally water resistant and its fabric tends to stick to your body when it starts getting wet.


Durability

The jacket is made of very light and very thin fabrics, which instinctively makes you want to treat it with extra care, especially in the most extreme uses, such as rock climbing! However, we can honestly say that after wearing the Helium Hybrid for more than four months and having used it several times also for rock climbing, we

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are really impressed by its durability! Even the stretchable fabrics have withstood all the rubs and scratches against the rocks and the signs of wear after the test are only minor. Good abrasion resistance obviously means longer lifetime.


Versatility

Although designed primarily for climbing and mountaineering, the Helium Hybrid jacket is a very versatile garment, excellent for many other outdoor activities. It is such a versatile garment that it would be really a shame to restrict its use! It's also a very practical garment: thanks to its lightness and packability, you'll always find some room to pack it in your backpack, so that you can bring it with you everywhere.


Our Verdict


Are you looking for an ultralight, stretchable, breathable, and easily packable weather-protecting jacket that you can carry with you everywhere throughout the year? Then the Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid jacket is what you are looking for. 

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Designed for light-and-fast challenges, from trail running sessions to alpine assaults to the summit, we found this jacket perfect for rock climbing and hiking, as well as for any physically intense outdoor activity, such as trail running, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing or snowboarding.


PROS

+ Very light and easily packable

+ Highly breathable

+ Stretchable


CONS

- Limited weather protection (rain)


 Lightness & Packability 10/10
 Comfort   8/10
 Fit & Cut   9/10
 Weather Protection   7/10
 Breathability   7/10
 Versatility   9/10
 Durability   8/10
 Total Score 8.3/10

Arc'teryx - Accelero Jacket

posted May 12, 2014, 12:45 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated May 16, 2014, 11:06 AM ]



For trail running sessions up on the mountains when temperatures are below 15 ºC one requires good protection from wind, humidity, and, of course, adequate breathability! In Arc'teryx's catalog we found a Soft Shell jacket that seemed to respond exactly to this need: the Accelero JacketGo Out Project has tested the Accelero for more than 12 months and here we report the results of our tests.

Technical Description

The Accelero has an exclusive construction called Dry Web™ that uses a continuous thread of Polyester fabric to build a double weaving. This fabric is specifically designed to have a certain degree of mechanical elasticity, thus eliminating the need for an intrinsically stretchable fabric. The outer face is very smooth and soft to the
touch, while the inner
 one has an embossed, next-to-skin fabric-backer with bamboo charcoal, which has the purpose to help to control odour build up. The extended, stretchy cuffs with integrated thumb loops and the hip pocket are made ​​of a stretchable fabric: a blend of Schoeller® Dynamic and Nylon/Spandex.

The Accelero also features:
  • DWR (durable water repellent) treatment
  • Articulated elbows
  • Lined collar
  • Stretch-woven cuffs with thumb loops
  • Reflective blazes and logo
  • Zippered hip pocket with media port
  • Drop back hem
Weight: 260 g ( Size M)

Our Test


We started testing the Accelero jacket exactly one year ago! An extraordinarily long time for a test,... but only now we can really tell you EVERYTHING about the Accelero! We used it primarily for running, in a range of temperatures of about 4ºC -18ºC, mostly in dry conditions, but we got caught by a few showers too. We also used it for some winter hiking on the snow, for some backcountry skiing, and for mountain biking. Most of the time we have worn it directly on top of a synthetic or merino wool breathable base layer, in other cases we have also added a lightweight micro fleece as intermediate layer.

First Impressions
Since the first moment you hold it in your hands, for its lightness, clean look, and minimalism the Accelero jacket immediately conveys the idea of a simple and essential garment. When you first put it on, you immediately notice that it fits
perfectly
: the jacket fits relatively tightly on the arms, shoulders, and torso, but without being constrictive. The fabric is quite stretchable, soft, and pleasant on the skin and it also provides a kind of "fresh" feeling. What strikes immediately is also the lack of pockets: the only one present is placed on the hip and it can contain at most a key or a small mp3 player.

Some of the first comments of our testers:
  • "Light and essential. Excellent for running in cool weather."
  • "Great cut and perfect fit! Such an elegant look that you could wear it under a tuxedo!"
  • "A step forward compared to the classic wind breakers!"
Lightness and Packability
The Accelero is among the lightest soft shell jackets in existence: Arc'teryx has eliminated all the superfluous, filed off every gram, and left only the essential! Even during running, when
weight really matters, you will hardly notice it. Given the degree of protection it offers, it can be definitely considered a super light jacket! It can also be packed in a very little volume, therefore it can be easily carried in a waistpack or a hydration pack as an extra, emergency garment.

Comfort
Pleasant to wear in all weather conditions, from dry to very wet. Unlike classical windbrakers, it does not stick to the skin and it quickly removes moisture from it, even during intense sweating. The inner face of the fabric offers a good degree of "thermoregulation": it retains some warmth in cold days and it provides good ventilation during hot ones. The stretchability is not so impressive, but it is sufficient to make you feel comfortable and move always freely. The collar is not very high, but it wraps and protects fairly well without chafing, even when sweating begins to be more abundant. The only thing that disturbs the idyll of a run with the Accelero is the constant clinking of the zipper slider that will mark incessantly every step of your workout: CLINK! ... CLINK! ... CLINK! ... It would have been sufficient to add a pull string or apply a rubber coating on the slider!

Cut and Fit
Arc'teryx is well-know for the excellent fit of its garments and the Accelero jacket certainly did not disappoint us: nicely fitting without being too tight or constricting, as a running garment should be. The sleeves in particular are perfectly tailored to the shape of the arms. The body is well shaped and a bit tight, but it never causes  annoying chafing on the armpits. Although the lower part of the bust is well shaped, it lacks an elastic band or adjustable cord on the waist,
therefore the free
 circulation of air on the belly and lower back cannot be stopped. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid this would be to get fat! The drop back hem is useful cause it keeps the lower back always protected, even when you lean forward, which is very useful for example when cycling. When you wear the wrist-cuffs with thumb loops, the Accelero stands firm in its place even if you cross a tornado!

Weather Protection
The polyester fabric has a very smooth outer face with dense texture. The fact that the elasticity is mechanical rather than intrinsic to the fabric, probably helps preserving the DWR treatment on the outer face for a longer time. Even after 12months of use and 4 machine washes*, the DWR still works  fairly well. Protection from light rain or snow is good enough, but during more intense rain showers after a few minutes the water inexorably seeps through the fabric and seams. The wind also partly penetrates through the Dry Web™, but this is never annoying, since it provides a minimal degree of air circulation which favours moisture evaporation. Overall we were
satisfied with the degree of protection offered by the Accelero, especially if considering the use for which it has been designed.

Breathability
It is a soft shell intended for running, so its main task is to breathe and to dry quickly and we can say that the Accelero does its job excellently! The inner face of its fabric, with its unique
embossed fabric-backer, effectively helps evaporation of sweat by soaking it and spreading it along the fibres and away from the skin. In cold temperatures it is hard to get to the point that you need to take off the jacket because of excessive heat. In general, the limit of discomfort is much harder to reach compared to the average for garments of this kind. In addition, the Accelero dries very fast and does not tend to develop unpleasant odours very easily.

Durability
If you use it for what it has been designed, that is running, the Accelero can last for years. It is not designed to resist tears, cuts, or abrasions, but if you want to roll down the mountains we do not think
that it is going to disappoint you. After a year of use, 4 machine washes, and a few close encounters with branches and brambles, the Accelero jacket we tested is still in excellent conditions.

Versatility
The Accelero is a minimalistic garment designed for running. Any superfluous gram has been eliminated to favour performance, therefore it is also a highly specific garment. Its mission is running. It functions pretty well for mountain biking, but for further uses is rather limited. For other activities, for example for hiking, although functional it lacks small details that may be useful in those circumstances: pockets, adjustable cuffs, hood, adjustable waist drawcord, etc. However, the excellent breathability and fairly good protection are a successful combination that make this jacket a viable choice in a wide range of climatic conditions.

Our Verdict

In conclusion we can say that we really enjoyed the Accelero! A minimalistic, though highly technical garment that provides a perfect balance of breathability and weather protection for runners. If you love running and you're tired of the typical "plastic bag feeling" of most wind breakers, the Accelero is surely a garment you'll love. Wear it in spring when you go out in the morning to run on your favorite trails, it will be your best training partner.

PROS
+ Highly breathable and quickly drying 
+ Very good comfort
+ Lightweight and minimalistic
+ Excellent manufacture and quality of materials 

CONS
- Annoying clinking of the zip slider 
- Not extremely versatile

 Lightness & Packability    9/10
 Comfort    9/10
 Cut & Fit
   8/10
 Weather Protection    8/10
 Breathability    9/10
 Versatility    7/10
 Durability    9/10
 Total Score
 8.4/10

* Note about washing: only 4 washes in 12 months?! It may sound like we haven't taken good care of the Accelero, but there are several factors to consider: 1) the inner surface of the Accelero uses bamboo charcoal to reduce odours and it works very well, so this greatly reduces the need for washing, 2) during our tests we have always let the jacket dry immediately after every activity, 3) at Go Out Project we try to avoid unnecessary washes since they deteriorate materials more quickly and they are an unnecessary waste of water and energy.

Marmot - Isotherm Hoody

posted May 6, 2014, 12:11 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated May 11, 2014, 2:29 PM ]




The award-winning Marmot Isotherm Hoody is one of the few insulating garments using Polartec® Alpha®, a highly breathable and quickly drying synthetic material developed by Polartec for the US soldiers. Of course, Go Out Project couldn't miss the chance to test this unique garment in its favorite lab: the Outdoor! Here, we report on the results of our tests... 

Technical Description

The core of the Isotherm Hoody is made of Polartec® Alpha®, a new synthetic insulation material that, unlike conventional synthetic insulations, is a knit material. The advantages of this material are its greater stability and durability, which allow to eliminate scrims or tightly woven fiber-proof lining fabrics. The outer material is a light 20 Denier Pertex Quantum© fabric. The lining uses the same material, except on areas that need more breathability (back, shoulders, armpits, and part of the hood), which are covered with a mesh of quickly drying material. Two stretchable softshell 
panels are placed o
n the shoulders to offer enhanced mobility. 
The Isotherm Hoody also features: 
  • Two hand warmer pockets and one chest pocket
  • Hood with single cord volume control
  • Elastic cuffs (no adjustments)
  • Elastic drawcord on the waist
Material: 
Outer fabric: 20 Denier Pertex Quantum©
Insulating material: Polartec® Alpha®

Weight: 408 g (Size M)

Our Test 

We tested the Isotherm Hoody for more than six months for running, climbing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding,
splitboarding, hiking and mountain biking
. We've worn it in a relatively ample range of temperatures, mostly between -10 and +10 ºC. We have used it mostly in sunny conditions, but we had many chances to test it also in rainy/snowy days. We used it as an outer layer, wearing it directly on top of a baselayer or in combination with a light-weight fleece.

First Impressions
The Isotherm Hoody is a jacket that you can wear all day long! Very warm and comfy! Warm, but not too warm, protective, but not too bulky, greatly breathable, and very comfortable. The smooth and kind of "slippery" outer and inner fabrics are not bound to the filling material, so they form three layers that tend to slide on one another and on other clothes. This has the advantage of reducing the pull that normally tend to contrast your movements, but in some situations it may also be annoying, for example when carrying a backpack.
Some of the first comments from our testers: 
  • "I like it a lot!... I found it great for backcountry skiing and hiking. When skinning and hiking, it's warm enough and it lets the sweat on my back dry quickly."
  • It's comfy and warm enough! Very practical: it's like having a fleece and a windbreaker in a single garment.
  • It breaths very well, so I don't need to take it off as often as other jackets. 
  • "I find it very comfy! I'm wearing it almost everyday. The outer fabric is quite slippery though. The jacket often slides up on my back and my backpack slides on it!"
  • "At first I thought, ok another puffy... but soon I realised that, most of the time, I favoured it over my other insulators, simply because it's equally warm and comfortable, but much more breathable!" 
Lightness and Packability
With 400 g (in size M) the Isotherm Hoody can be considered a mid-weight insulating jacket. Despite its weight, the warmth it offers is not so extreme (more or less comparable to that of an average fleece). In terms of packability the Isotherm Hoody is not particularly impressive, especially if compared to analogous down filled jackets: the size M cannot be squeezed in less than 1L,
approximately the volume of an average fleece.

Comfort
The outer fabric and the parts of the liner made of Pertex are very smooth and soft to the touch, but also quite "slippery". On the one hand, this guarantees good comfort and it eases the operations of putting on and taking off the jacket. It also enhances the freedom of movement, cause the jacket slides easily on any other clothes you are wearing. On the other hand, however, we noticed that this may also cause some problems: for example, the jacket often tends to slide up your back, therefore uncovering the lower part of the back and, when carrying a backpack, the lack of grip on you back causes the pack to slide more freely, therefore often compromising your whole stability and balance. The insulating material is relatively thin, which means that the warmth provided by this garment is not extremely high, which makes it better suited for high-intensity activities. The high collar, the wrapping elastic wrists bands, and the waist drawcord are all quite functional and effectively keep out any draft. The hood is not designed to be worn over a helmet, but it's very comfortable and warm enough. 

Fit & Cut
The fit is not very slim. Enough room is left for one, or even two, additional layers (for example a baselayer plus a thin fleece). The areas around the shoulders are roomy and, thanks also to the stretchable softshell panels, this guarantees an excellent freedom of movementThe relatively loose fit on the trunk and the construction that uses three separated layers not bound to one another, also favours a slight degree of air circulation, which is of great advantage in high-intensity activities. In all the high-speed sports we tested (ski/snowboard and mountain bike), we often noticed a fluttering of the outer fabric, that may become quite annoying at very high speed

Weather Protection
Protection from wind is excellent
. The outer fabric and the synthetic filling material work very well together in shielding from cold wind. You will definitely appreciate this on the most exposed ridges up in the mountains. The outer fabric has no DWR coating, which, in case of strong rain, causes the soaking of water drops by the outer fabric. While light snow and rain are absolutely no problem, during the strongest down pours the water easily reaches the surface of the insulating layer, which then stops it. In fact, we never noticed water penetrating all the way in. Definitely not the best garment to wear under the rain, but at least the outer fabric and the insulating material dry very quickly. In case of intense rain, we suggest to wear an additional, light waterproof shell on top of it.

Breathability
The relatively thin insulating layer is disconnected from both the outer fabric and the lining. This allows a certain degree of air circulation, which greatly favours breathability. But most importantly, the quickly drying mesh used on the most critical areas of the lining (large part of
the back, shoulders, and armpits) is very effective in keeping you dry and ventilated. Only in the most extreme uses, for example when hiking uphill at a high pace and with temperatures above 0 ºC, the breathability becomes insufficient.

Durability 
The Pertex outer fabric is thin and light, but sufficiently resistant to wear and abrasion. Obviously, it's better to avoid contact with spiky objects, like trees, branches, bushes, rocks, and ski edges! The stretchable soft-shell panels on the shoulders, which are more subject to wear if you frequently carry a backpack, are made of a wear-resistant, good-quality material that withstood all our mistreatments. One of the greatest advantages of the Isotherm Hoody is certainly that it requires much less care and that it is more durable than a fleece or a down filled jacket. You can chuck it in your backpack and squeeze it as much as you can, it will always recover its original "puffiness" without being damaged.

Versatility
The Isotherm Hoody effectively combines two layers in one: a highly breathable, quickly drying mid-weight insulating layer and a light windbreaker outer shell. This practically creates a unique garment that you can wear all the time without the need for frequent changes, which is obviously of great advantage, especially during backcountry skiing or splitboarding. The Isotherm Hoody
 is a relatively light an thin garment, therefore offering only "moderate insulation", but if combined with the right base layers, it is highly functional especially at moderately cold temperatures and for high intensity activities. It is a very good shelter against wind and you can use it even under light rain/snow. Probably for all these reasons this has been one of our favourite jackets for many outdoor activities during the past winter.

Our Verdict

We have put it to the test for months and we have to admit it: we loved the Isotherm Hoody! This unique garment can be considered as a valuable alternative to a classic fleece for all the outdoor activities that require intense physical effort. In fact, it is a truly
versatile garment
, that, if combined with the proper base-layers, can be used for a great variety of sports and outdoor activities. Its greatest advantages, compared to other insulating jackets, are its good breathability and the ample freedom of movement it offers. It also requires much less care and it is more durable than a fleece or other down filled garments. With the Isotherm Hoody you can't go wrong: you'll be warm, dry, protected, free, and fast out there!

PROS
+ Considerably more breathable than its competitors
+ Good freedom of movement
+ Very versatile, effectively combining two layers in one 

CONS
- Quite "slippery" outer fabric
- Some annoying fluttering in high-speed sports

 Lightness & Packability   7/10
 Comfort   8/10
 Fit & Cut   7/10
 Weather Protection   8/10
 Breathability   9/10
 Versatility   9/10
 Durability   8/10
 Total Score  8.0/10

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