The Cold Fusion, from an interesting company called Beyond Fleece, is a more typical soft shella basic jacket made with Schoeller's excellent WB-400 fabric. In its basic configuration ($159; www.beyondfleece.com), it's a simple, snug-fitting jacket with a full zip. You can add all sorts of extraspit zips, attached or zip-off hood, arm pockets, and more. And you can customize the size. Of course, all that also jacks up the price to $250 or more when all's said and done.
Choosing between the two is tough, and I'd say they match up on durability. I like the Mixmaster, but the Cold Fusion is probably a better multi-purpose garment. That's because you'll likely still want to throw a full shell made from Gore-Tex or similar material over it as the Himalayan weather worsens or cools. And when you line them up, the Mixmaster is a heavier jacket (26 ounces, compared to the 21-ounce Cold Fusion) and is really meant to be a garment for severe conditions. So the basic Cold Fusion will be better at filling that "layering or alone" niche than the Mixmaster, and saves you a few ounces into the bargain.
Hope you have a good trip!
To see a selection of soft shells compared and rated across a range of temps and activities, read "The Soft-Shell Game" from the February 2003 issue of Outside.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.