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Backpacker Magazine – Fall Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: Big Agnes Shovelhead Puffy

A jacket that packs some serious heat without being a heavyweight.

by: Kristin Hostetter

Big Agnes Shovelhead (Andrew Bydlon)
Big Agnes Shovelhead (Andrew Bydlon)

Midweight Down

In its sleeping bags, Big Agnes uses vertical baffles to distribute warmth from head to toe. In the Shovelhead, the company takes that concept to puffy jackets. And it works. Vertical baffles run from shoulder to hem, and they’re crammed with 700-fill, water-resistant down held in place by vertical Insotec Flow Gates. Overall, the construction uses less material to hold all the down in place, and the result is a jacket that “cranks out the BTUs, on par with heavier, bulkier belay parkas,” reported one tester after wearing the Shovelhead into the teens on a six-day backcountry ski trip in Montana. The hood fits and functions impeccably well, thanks to baffles that wrap from ear to ear and a wire-stiffened brim that let testers mold it around their faces to shield from wind-blown flurries. Nice touch: The long sleeves have thumbholes (rare in puffy jackets) that help protect hands and wrists. Sizing gripe: We wished for more room through the arms and torso. $250; 13.3 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL;

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