Eddie Bauer First Ascent BC Ultralight Hardshell Review
A versatile hard shell that's light too.
Brand: Eddie Bauer First Ascent
Model: BC Ultralight
Why we like it It’s hard to find a shell with low weight and all-weather protection and versatility, but this piece transcends all seasons and sports.
Protection The BC Ultralight proved priceless for one tester, a USFS field scientist, on extended foul-weather fall trips in Washington’s Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness: “We had rain, wind-driven snow, and at times had to crawl through brush that felt like going through a car wash,” he says. “This shell was excellent at keeping me dry—and it emerged unscathed from the bushwhacking.” An adjustable, helmet-compatible hood and extended, cinchable hem helped seal out all drips and drafts.
Breathability The 2.5-layer membrane earned solid—if not outstanding—scores in the hardshell category. “Ventilation is helped along by mesh-lined pockets that are large enough to provide reasonable airflow in lieu of pit zips,” says a tester.
Fit The moderately athletic cut (as well as the slightly stretchy, 90 percent nylon, 10 percent spandex fabric) allows for layering over a thicker puffy for cold-weather trips, and unhindered motion: “I loved how it moved with me when I reached for holds on a mixed rock and ice climb,” says one tester. Long-limbed testers appreciated how the extended sleeves protected their wrists.
Gripe Small hood adjustment toggles are hard to manipulate while wearing gloves.
$299; 9.6 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; eddiebauer.com