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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