Good for Backcountry
We're not too nuts about the term "all-purpose either, but we hope you understand our point: Whatever you do, from resort skiing to snowshoeing, we've got the perfect jacket for you. Some, like the North Face Free Thinker II, are bedecked with nearly a dozen ski-specific features, while others, like the Gear of the Yearwinning Cloudveil FirsTurn, are streamlined and adaptable enough for year-round use.
1. One of the most versatile soft shells we've seen, the FirsTurn easily beat back steady 20-mile-per-hour winds and driving snow at New Mexico's Taos Ski Valley yet also kept us comfortable on a sunny, 40-degree day of backcountry laps. Ski, skate, runthe FirsTurn even held up on a cold and rainy bike commute. "Harder than giving up my woobie, said a tester reluctant to give it back.
2. At the end of the dayespecially a long one in the backcountry, with changing weather conditions and varying levels of exertiona jacket is only as good as its main ingredient. The FirsTurn's tightly woven, DWR-coated polyester face has just enough stretch for athletic, top-to-bottom descents, and its three mesh-backed pockets (there are no pit zips) make it breezy enough for uphill slogs.
3. In a world of overpriced and overfeatured soft shells, the FirsTurn is refreshingly simple: It's streamlined enough to be your go-to, all-season soft shell. And, at 150 bucks, a screaming deal. You get what you need: a helmet-compatible hood that doesn't limit visibility or motion, and two internal pocketsone zippered and the other big enough to hold a Nalgene bottle. And that's it.
(1.5 lbs) cloudveil.com