Gear Review: First Ascent BC-200 Jacket

An all-conditions jacket that's under $200.

[bargain]

All-conditions jackets often cost three bills or more—but the BC-200 delivers lightweight, three-layer protection for just $200, making it a standout value for everything from ski mountaineering to high-altitude summer treks. The baggy cut allows thick layers to be worn underneath—on Colorado’s gusty, 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, our tester says it easily fit over a down sweater for warmth and wind protection. And during the 4,000-foot climb, with a baselayer underneath, the proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane prevented overheating.

“It doesn’t feel super-airy like some fabrics, but still offers good breathability,” he reports. As a weight-saving measure, the BC-200 skips pit zips and keeps other features to a minimum. It includes three chest pockets (all placed high to clear a hipbelt) and adjustable hood and cuffs. That, combined with gram-shaving welded seams (also a surprise at this price), brings its weight to well under a pound—so not only is it cheap for a storm-worthy shell, it’s surprisingly light. $199; 11 oz.; m’s S-XXL; eddiebauer.com