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Review: BeyondClothing Cold Fusion X soft shell jacket

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I spent about a month researching various jacket options (soft shell, hard shell, systems, blah blah blah) and kept coming back to BeyondClothing because of the ability to order custom made clothing (more on this later) at a competitive price. The big frustration though is a seeming lack of useful information and reviews floating around the interweb. Hopefully this review will help someone out.
Picking a jacket and ordering online

Cruising Beyond’s website is an easy way to kill hours of your time and put off doing real ‘work’. They have great information on the science of the fabrics they use and will help pick out clothing based on your type of activity, body type (naturally cold, naturally hot, etc) or a combination of the two. Since my new jacket was meant to serve as a ski coat for the Tahoe area my priorities were light weight and freedom of movement over super warm. I was also really keen on getting a soft shell. Beyond recommended their “Cold Fusion X” jacket, which starts at $199. Style-wise I’d call this jacket “subtle”, though I’ve gotten several unsolicited compliments on it. By the way, Beyond makes jackets, pants, mid and base-layer clothing as well. Their catalog of products is very wide-spread.

Ordering is a straight-forward, multi-step process. Step one begins with selecting the main shell color and accent panels (5 choices for the jacket).

Step two moves on to the “a la carte” menu of jacket accessories. The shell comes with two very generous zipper shut hand pockets as standard, which are fantastic for warming up the hands on the chairlift. In addition to those pockets I added an outer chest pocket on the left side. This pocket, which sits just below the clavicle (higher than I expected, which I really like) is approximately 4” x 3” and also zipper-sealed and fleece-lined. I find it’s perfect for holding my iPod and collection of IDs and some credit cards. On the inside of the right chest is another cavernous pocket perfect for food, gloves and / or baklava. I didn’t opt for them, but other options are pit zips and bicep pockets. All pockets add $15 each to the base jacket.

Step three allows you to add other “enhancements”. I ordered the zip-off hood ($35), collar shock cord ($10) and YKK water resistant main zipper ($15). Step four is a quickie, selecting color and placement of Beyond’s logo as well as offering a second logo at no charge.

Step five is where the fun begins, so break out the measuring tape. As I mentioned, Beyond is unique by allowing a custom tailored fit, which they claim to be accurate 98% of the time but are 100% guaranteed. In the event you don’t like the way the garment fits, you can send it back free of charge and they will correct. Beyond provides guidance for how to accurately measure at 9 different points. In my experience, the fit was true to measurement and better for me than buying off the rack.

Step six allows more fit fine-tuning by selecting body type, fit preference and various lengths. I went with the “Standard” for layering, however I think I could have gotten away with the “technical” fit and still have layering options. I also opted for the jacket length to end 2/3 down the fly. I probably would prefer to end at the bottom of the fly, too.

So how long’s the wait and how’s the customer service?

Beyond’s website is pretty accurate in estimating how long building the new garment will take. I think in the lower order periods 2-3 weeks is a standard turnaround. I was silly enough to order just before Christmas and was told in my confirmation email that it would take 4 weeks. The next day, though, the website said wait times are currently around 5 weeks, which is exactly how long it took. Throughout the wait you can track your clothes’ progress through the manufacturing process with stages like “in queue, material being cut, sewing and post production” and a description of what each means. In another thread some posted experience with of poor customer service but I found that to be the opposite. Apparently Beyond’s marketing guy saw the same comment and quickly wrote me offering to update me on the status of my jacket. Dan was always responsive and seemed genuinely interested in helping out.

And…how does she perform?

After a long and anxious wait, my jacket arrived not one hour before I was planning to head to Tahoe last Friday. Packing the car it was raining moderately to hard and you could see the water beading and rolling right off (so cool!). In the snow, both deep powder and heavy wet snowfall I stayed warm and dry. During some of my spills, I didn’t even get snow up into the jacket! I’ve worn the jacket in temps ranging from 15 – 55 degrees with various layers and have been comfortable the whole time. Despite its water-repellent abilities, the jacket definitely breathes. Today I had it out on a road bike ride and could comfortably ride tempo at 32mph in 45 degree weather. Again, stayed warm, it wicked the sweat and I didn’t feel wind-chilled or beaten. This really is a 3 season jacket and suited for many activities.

In the end I paid $298 for all the add-ons, tax and shipping, which is at least a couple hundred less than comparable soft shells I was researching. While I’m sure I’ll pick up other jackets for more use-specific needs, this one will be the “go-to” guy - this jacket kicks ass!
post #2 of 16
Thats pretty cool, I just bought a Spyder jacket, tags are still on it and I would even consider returning it to get one of these but their color choices, IMHO, are there only downfall. Green or black, for some thats fine, but they just look too plain for my taste.
post #3 of 16
Glad to see this review. Like you, I'd hoped to find more reviews or comments online from people who'd bought from Beyond. I've been drooling over the women's cold fusion jacket, and have built it a few times. I think one is in my future.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Thats pretty cool, I just bought a Spyder jacket, tags are still on it and I would even consider returning it to get one of these but their color choices, IMHO, are there only downfall. Green or black, for some thats fine, but they just look too plain for my taste.
I was initially bummed about lack of color choices (there are 5, though). But then I went with my ubiquitous red / white combo (have a track jacket, cycling jacket and Orbea bike that fit that color scheme) and am pretty happy. I actually thought (still do) that the khaki color jacket would be pretty cool. As I said, the style is definitely more "subtle" than "look at me". People who know ski gear will definitely recognize the quality. Over the weekend before my local bootfitter even said "hey how's it going" he said "Wow, great jacket. You can tell it's really good because of the reinforced zipper."
post #5 of 16
There hard shells seem to be limited to green or black. I already have khaki green. Oh well, the Spyder jacket looks good and fits okay, could use some cinching in at the waist...seems that ALL clothing manufacturers assume that if you have big arms and shoulders then you must also have a belly like a 7mo pregnant woman.
post #6 of 16
Thanks for the review on the Cold Fusion X softshell jacket. Here's mine on Beyond Clothing pants I got last year. I'm still very happy with them and are holding up well. I've been on the fence regarding the tops as I do have a softshell which works well enough to not absolutely 'need' a new softshell top, but the fleece coat and vests with pockets, keep showing up on my radar.

This summer I ordered a pair of their convertible Cold Shock pants, with several pockets, which are lighter than the Cold Fusion. After a problem with fit I sent it back and they fixed them in no time. I thought it odd that I had to remeasure versus allowing the customer to store their measurements in their account database. The fit even gets a positive comment from my wife . and they are also comfortable. I've used the khaki pants for backpacking, skate skiing, touring in all kinds of weather, and just every day use and really like them. I also intend them for spring skiing use for the hotter days.

The color/style options, material and craftsmanship provide an understated quality level that should last years for these very versatile garments.
post #7 of 16

Still waiting

I ordered the Cold Fusion Shock Jacket on Dec 11th based upon recommendations from those that have one - they love it. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for delivery. I send them an email this week asking about deliver and have been told that it will ship next week. I was originally told 5 week delivery but it will be close to 8 when I get it. My guess is that business has been too good for them. I hope it shows up soon in case winter decides to happen in Pennsylvania. I'm sure I'll be very happy with the product once it gets here.
post #8 of 16

Fabric... not so much

I can chime in here. I ordered a Cold Fusion jacket a few years back. I had a good experience with Beyond; when it arrived, it didn't fit *quite* how I wanted, and since a totally custom fit is a large part of what they advertise, I sent it back for adjustment.

That went fine, no problems at all and they were very responsive. Turnaround time was quick, too.

Unfortunately, I haven't found that the jacket held up very well. Schoeller fabric just isn't the same as Polartec Powershield or GoreTex Windblocker types; the DWR coating wore off quickly and so the jacket would get wet. (note, this is wearing it in wet/rainy-ish conditions in Seattle.)

I've tried applying various aftermarket DWR products after washing/drying/etc without a lot of luck.

All in all, my experience with Beyond is this: If you have a weird body shape, they're awesome; you're going to be able to get a very custom fit. I'd still use them for a basic fleece.

Also, with the tremendous customization (bicep pockets? Chest pockets? Hoods? Vents? You name it, you can have it) you can really create a jacket exactly the way you want it.

But until they use a better quality fabric instead of the Schoeller stuff, I wouldn't recommend their soft shells to people. They're too expensive compared with what you can get from an REI One or Marmot SharpPoint or some of the other brands of soft shell jackets.
post #9 of 16

a buddy and me ordered some Jackets from Beyond some weeks ago and the order is on its way. So far, i can say only good things about Beyond Clothing... except that i never get a reply to my sent emails. I would like to order a lot more, but not unless i´ll get some answers. That is very frustrating, because i know that their stuff is top notch...

Does anyone knows if there is a better way than writing emails. (Phone isn´t good to go, because i am from Germany)

thanks in advance,

post #10 of 16

Fabric problems?

I was kind of surprised to read the comment about the quality of the Schoeller. I have always been impressed by the Schoeller material and always look for that instead of the Powershield. I found that the Powershield material faded (black became dark grey/grey) and wore out quickly while Schoeller stuff showed no wear at all.

To be honest, I really don't know about the lack of resistance to water with time that you had problems with. I never really noticed it - I also live in Seattle - since when it was really raining, I would always put on a light rainjacket too. I personally found that the water resistance was more a function of detergent problems than the DWR. I would also "reactivate" things occasionally with light heat in the dryer.

I will have to check out the Beyond Clothing site. I really need to find a pair of lightweight soft-shell (non Gore-tex) pants for the warmer ski days.

post #11 of 16
I agree with PhilPKA, that they are hopeless in answering emails.
i am having a beef with them, i ordered my jacket in August ( i am in Australia), finally got it in End of September. They didn't charge my credit card until one week ago. ( the approved my CC payment in the beginning of Sep. ), now with the currency market gone to poo. the jacket cost me 380 Aussie Dollars instead of 280 had they billed there and then.

I emailed them to 3 different email addresses and so far did not get any reply.

As for the material it does feel a bit thin , my wife has a Schoeller fabric jacket and it feels much more "solid" and on a 16 degrees Celsius ( 60 Degrees FH) the Cold fusion Jacket felt cold , my north face jacket does a better job there.

As for me , i will avoid them .
post #12 of 16
you said you fell in powder and didnt get snow up your coat.

Does it have a powder skirt or where you just lucky?
post #13 of 16

Beyond Clothing

I had been looking to buy one of their jackets but quite frankly I'll take my business elsewhere at this point. I have emailed on 4 different occasions ( not a single response or acknowledgment). I have tried calling but no one ever answers the phone. I requested a catalog ... nothing. Customer Service at this company absolutely SUCKS!! I've got money to spend but it's going elsewhere.
post #14 of 16
can anyone comment on the warmth of the scholler wb400 beyond uses? Id like a softshell but have a tendency to run cold. Other options appear to be the MH synchro, OR mithril but both are kinda tron like. id like something a bit more subtle
post #15 of 16
My Cold Fusion pants are 2 years old and I'm not sure if they are made from the WB400 material, but are impressive in their broad range of comfort, even in wind and snow storms with one pair of long underwear. You can always add thermal layers for added warmth and adjust for flexibility. I'd suggest getting an Icebreaker 360 wool base layer as part of your layering options.
post #16 of 16
I've been wearing my Cold Fusion Shock Jacket for about 10 Months. I've found it to be warmer than I expected it to be. I wore it the other day to ski with a fleece vest and shirt in 26 degree weather and I was very comfortable. I don't think it's real warm for very cold weather but with layering it works. I've worn it in lousy wet weather too and it held up very well. I'm very pleased to own it.
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