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What is the best ski jacket???? - Page 12

post #331 of 357

This thread seems to be the place to deposit jackets review so I add my 0.02.  I was quietly after a new truly waterproof ski jacket this season.  I currently ski in a NeoShell FlyLow LabCoat, which is at 10,000 is fine for most days, but probably wont stand up to a nasty wet weather day in CA (when was the last time we had THAT?? but I digress).  So I knew that my choice was limited to the newer GoreTexPro shells and eVent shells.  I went through a few shells, so here are Cliffs notes impressions:


1. My usual go-to company for shells was Westcomb, but they seemed to abandon the skiing market and only sell a hybrid climbing/skiing shell in the forms of a Revenant jacket.  It is a splendid piece of gear, the construction is as usual better than Arctryx, with every seam being impeccable,  bit it is fairly trim fitting and does not have much pocket space to store gloves at lunch or an extra goggle pair.  The hybrid construction probably makes it less bombproof than a full eVent jacket. Still made in Canada, which is a plus, as all other jackets are made in China.  Westcomb- please re-issue or better yet update your freeride Vapor FX line.  It may have not sold well, but among those who owned it customer satisfaction was sky-high. 


2. Mountain Hardwear Compulsion jacket- this is their most high-end DryQElite (eVent) shell, and it is a nice piece of kit.  However, if you are used to Arcteryx, Patagonia, Westcomb, you will notice that the design and construction are not up to those standards, the jacket just seems to have some extra fabric here and there.   It will do fine, but you don't get a sense that you are buying high end gear, and it is more palces for the sweat and moisture to trap.  If you go MH, you may want to look at their Minalist jacket instead. 


3.  Patagonia Primo.  This is not their highest end shell (that honor belongs to the stratospherically-priced $699 PowSlayer), but they billed it as their burliest.  Burly it is, no nonsence thick fabric and a very generous almost baggy cut.  Patagonia always was almost intentionally un-fashionable, and this jacket will not win any awards in the slick fit department.  However, it is non-restrictive, roomy, and covers all the bases.  This is also one of the few jackets that has a sleeve pocket for the pass.  The industry has moved to RFID passes, sand most ski jacket manufacturers are still stuck in a wicket world.  Cudos to Patagonia for thinking about a pace to put your season pass or ticket and forget about it. The construction is unexpectedly impressive, fully on-par with Arcteryx and in some areas slicker (the powder skirt for example, is a work of art).  There are also all the required little things, such as the back collar stiffener to keep the collar sitting properly- something that drives me nuts in the Lab Coat. 


4. Black Diamond Front Point.  This is the new kid on the block,  and I always admired BD for their tendency to make well-thought out unfussy gear that just works.  This is the shell that I really wanted to like- the colors are great, the styling is cool, and the quality seems to be right there with the top guys.  They are also the only company that uses Vislon zippers for both central zipper and the chest pocket zippers.  Vislon are easier to open and they are more waterproof than the usual coated coil variety you find on most pockets.   A few things made that shell to go back.  First of all, this is a climbing shell, so no powder skirt, and no pass pocket.  Although the pockets are fairly generous, the openings are small, and there is not a single small zipped pocket to keep your pass in.  The "media" pocket could do it, but it is angled to allow you to take your phone in and out, not great for the pass.  The deal-breaker was the fit, their Large fits almost like a European Large, very trim to the point of being restrictive in the arms and shoulders, definitely leaves no room for any insulating layers.   I am also not very fond of the central zipper pull being a large metal bar, its durable and nice, but I don't want that thing to flap at speed in front of my face.  The hood also seemed too small to accommodate a freeride helmet. 


5. Arcteryx Rush.  This is not surprisingly the closest competitor to Patagonia and Arcteryx's version of an all-around resort ski jacket (Caden is their ultimate shell).  It ticks all the checkmarks, powder skirt, pass pocket (yes!).  I didn't like the thin stiff crinkly fabric, I get that it works, and it makes the jacket very light, but I much prefer the thicker and seemingly less noisy fabric on the Patagonia.  I also don't like how Arcteryx's line has fragmented over the years with almost a dozen waterproof jackets making the choice more confusing than it should be.  


With the weather in CA not being any wetter than it is in summer, I have time to look around, but so far Patagonia Primo takes my vote for the top choice in resort waterproof skiing jacket.  It ticks all the checkboxes on features, and the construction is unexpectedly high-end fully on par with Arcteryx and maybe exceeding it in a few spots.  As general comment, I resent the move by the high-end guys to make more backcountry-oriented shells, I guess they are counting for aspirational purchases, but most of the time the shell never leaves the resort, and resort skiers deserve something better than the sub-par Spyder and Karbon jackets and sweet and progressive but oh so sweaty Trew garments.  But again, with Tahoe weather, a waterproof shell fully counts as an aspirational purchase. 

Edited by alexzn - 1/30/15 at 3:15pm

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #332 of 357

An exceptional skier makes a Carhart hunter orange jacket look cool...

post #333 of 357

While I still can't say anything about longevity, I can say my compulsion 2L jacket jacket is rain proof and warm and though there may be places for moisture to collect, it doesn't; I have done karate katas wearing the jacket and it was not a problem.

post #334 of 357

Anyone tried the MH Sitzmark Jacket?

post #335 of 357
Originally Posted by aschick View Post

Anyone tried the MH Sitzmark Jacket?

think it's a climbing jacket, pretty light and doesn't look like it would take much abuse! for a lightweight jacket it seems nice, I remember it doesn't have many pockets as well, but I only tried in the store the frabric has some stretch to it and looks more like a softshell
post #336 of 357

At the end of the day, almost every one of these companies makes a product that is good enough or better than necessary for 99.99% of the end users out there.  And as someone alluded to, it's the Indian and not the arrow.  I think the interesting part of any  analysis of textiles or the finished retail garment is "what value is represented by the product for its intended use?".


Skiing generally presents fairly light demands on things like shells.  Activities like ice climbing and hunting place much heavier demands on outerwear . . . the former on the internal performance and the latter on the exterior.  Climbing clothing crosses over into other areas, so the tech is high, but the price is kept moderate (tough to sell super expensive stuff to the backpacking community).  Hunting gets mid tech, but very durable construction, and the price point is kept low (until very recently).  Skiing for some reason (come on, we all know why) gets mid to high tech, but at the highest price point by far.


This is the golden age of tech fabrics, we are lucky to have so many choices.  


I just noticed that one of the higher end manufacturers has replaced the C-change on their flagship shell with Polartec Neoshell and I honestly can't figure out why.  I know everyone is ga ga over neoshell, but this company doesn't advertise that it's in their garment, and I think c-change enjoyed a good reputation, although the marketing claims were a bit much.

post #337 of 357

Thanks, and you're dead on right in my opinion.  To illustrate this, I once saw the gear that North Face supplied a sponsored Everest expedition . . . if this stuff had been sold at REI, we all would have been lined up with our wallets out!  lol

post #338 of 357
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post



Just an observation VIST jackets have had Toray Primeflex-Dermizax and other very high tech membrane tech woven into their apparel for a very long time, over 10 years I would wager, and Valtherm insulation etc. Kjus introduced that pretty recently I was told.


That's interesting, I didn't think that had appeared on commonly available ski stuff until recently (inside of 5 years).  I know in the lightweight hunting community it has been used for a while.  Ten years ago, that must have been a very pricey option.


I'm not sure when Kjus started putting it in, I first saw it advertised a few years ago.

post #339 of 357
I ordered a MH minalist, but would not be surprised if the fit is way off. I called MH and the large runs 50 in the chest, sleeves 38 waist 41. My dimensions are 43 chest, 37 waist, 34 sleeves. Absolute dimensions and cut are two things so we'll see when it arrives. I was strongly considering a similar OR shell that was more geared to hiking but the powder skirt and the greater breathability were in MH's favor.
post #340 of 357

I have the MH Minalist, but in a Medium size.  Relative to MANY other jackets I've tried, the Minalist is not well suited to barrel-chested guys (not that you are).  Arms are sufficiently long, and it's fairly trim in the waist/hips.  Think long and athletic fit.  My Arcterxy Rush jacket is much more roomy overall by comparison.


The Minalist is also very breathable compared to the Rush.  It has to be a nice, non-windy day out to use it for me.  If it's storming or really chilly, I break out the Rush jacket instead.

post #341 of 357

I decided to order the Snowtastic and Snowpulsion as well. I'll keep whichever fits best. I'm really hoping the DryQ Elite lives up to its reputation cause I'm tired of feeling either too warm or clammy.

post #342 of 357

Kept the MH Snowtastic in the end and it has my vote for a very good  non-insulated quasi soft shell.



Durable but not stiff or crinkly fabric, definitely windproof.

As breathable a jacket as I have ever tried with huge two way pit zips.

All the usual ski-specific features (wrist gaiters, removable powder skirt, arm pass pocket, tons of pocket)

Pockets are well placed and not blocked by a pack.

Not bulky feeling, I bought a large (Me: 43 chest, 34 sleeves, 5'10" 200 lbs) but still has room for layers

Works with under cuff and gauntlet gloves (but feels better with under cuff - i.e. MH dragon claw)

Less than $200 at STP



Hood is not removable (this seems to be a common feature now for 'technical' jackets)

Zippers come stiff but do improve after being worn in.

Wrist gaiters are generally not good for anything other than skiing (sweaty wrists)

When fully zipped up the collar is a bit small for me if I am wearing layers that also have collars or want to put a neck gaiter on.

The past season version I got has no key clip anywhere, and I am kind of paranoid about losing my car keys.


My quick take on the other two:

Minalist: very stiff fabric, well thought out features, Large size is best for someone 6' and up.

Snowpulsion: Quality is a notch below the other two, but will be fine for a resort skier who wants an insulated jacket. Fit is similar to Snowtastic.

post #343 of 357
Replacing my ten year led Descente with another Descente. Cannot beat them .
post #344 of 357
Originally Posted by Redguide View Post

Replacing my ten year led Descente with another Descente. Cannot beat them .

The Descente jackets and pants that we've been getting to test and write reviews on have been incredible. 

The one in my signature is waterproof down, complimented by waterproof pants that are 4 way stretch.  I am in awe of the stuff I'm seeing from Descente. 

post #345 of 357

If you are from Texas you will want either the stand hunter extreme camo parka or the blaze orange extreme parka, both made by Cabela's. For spring skiing, gear up with the usual team jacket with Longhorn, Aggie or Red Raider logo.  Make sure when you are sporting these to ski straight down the hill hollering loudly.





post #346 of 357
Originally Posted by Knute View Post

If you are from Texas you will want either the stand hunter extreme camo parka or the blaze orange extreme parka, both made by Cabela's. For spring skiing, gear up with the usual team jacket with Longhorn, Aggie or Red Raider logo.  Make sure when you are sporting these to ski straight down the hill hollering loudly.  with your helmet mounted go-pro (at least one, if not 3)


suggestion: this ski sweater would be a great 3rd or 4th layer to go with your 2 pairs of white cotton socks  :D



blazeex_parka.jpg  Texas A&M Aggies Klew Thematic Ugly Sweater - Maroon

post #347 of 357

That's what I'm talkin about! Yee-haaa, Chigaroogarem! Go Aggies! Where's the bar?

post #348 of 357

Let's not leave Oklahoma out of this:



post #349 of 357

Let's get real here ...


post #350 of 357

^^^ this is classic " for sure but nothing is quite as priceless as the college wear that screams, "I am wearing this because I actually think it looks good......" Thumbs Up 

post #351 of 357
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Let's get real here ...


post #352 of 357

I prefer this timeless classic :D


post #353 of 357

Apologizing in advance ... and for mid-layers , these sweaters are a must !

( we need some Blue Jay's  S-T-O-K-E  up here for tonight's game ! )


post #354 of 357

That's so wrong that maybe it'll work?  We'll find out by tonight!  Go Jays!

post #355 of 357
Originally Posted by ARL67 View Post

I prefer this timeless classic biggrin.gif

There's a carving board guy here who sports almost that jacket, not as colorful.
post #356 of 357

For me, it's Eider jackets.  Body mapping down insulation, give in the outer fabric, holds up against east coast cold and storms.  Have found them cheap over the last few summers.

post #357 of 357

Sounds like a winner!

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What is the best ski jacket????