Gear Review: Westcomb Skeena Hoody

A weather-resistant shell that's as warm as a sweater.

[warmest]

Apply a weather-resistant shell to your favorite wool sweater, and you get the Skeena. This softshell features a merino wool fabric lining the shoulders, hood, chest, and upper arms, so it’s as warm as many lightweight down jackets. Though the jacket is not seam-sealed, an eVent waterproof/breathable membrane protects those merino zones from wind and precipitation. And on the back, underarms, and sides, super-stretchy Schoeller Dryskin panels deliver top-notch breathability.

While snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park and on a blustery day atop 14,265-foot Quandary Peak, our tester pulled it on during rest breaks to provide much-needed insulation. It also served as a cozy camp jacket during a winter trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park. On-the-go, this toaster (it lacks venting options) is best for extreme cold, in the teens or below.

“Hiking uphill in the 20s, I was overheating within 200 yards,” says our tester. The wool-lined front pockets make excellent hand-warmers, and durability is outstanding: After being dragged across sandstone and through pine branches, the Skeena looks brand new—and spiffy enough for city wear. Downside: It doesn’t pack down small, but what you gain in weatherproof insulation is worth the bulk. $360; 1 lb. 7 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; westcomb.com