All Season Quiver: Multi-Purpose Jackets
Published on 07/24/2012
By Peter Reese
High-alpine climates can experience drastic weather changes in short time periods and having the right gear is essential for survival. These two jackets are versatile options for all-day protection from the elements.
BERGANS HELIUM SHELL
Lightweight, reliable wind and rain protection during aerobic endeavors. Total grams matter and so does breathability as heart-pumping activity turns into potentially chilly descents or on-trail stops.
The Model 1160 HELIUM SHELL from Bergans of Norway is a well-timed entry into what Active Junky considers to be an emerging category. With the need for fewer pieces delivering greater functional range, HELIUM glides in at 340 grams complete with a wire-brimmed hood and generous pit zips. Taller athletes, including the testers, appreciated extra body and sleeve length offered by the Norwegian legion at Bergans. Dermizax is the 2 ½ layer fabric at the center of this technical jacket that resists abrasion as well as weather. Concerns were raised about reliable pocket and pit zipper function of the evaluation sample, a frequent problem with lightweight shells built for waterproof performance.
LOKI MIDI FLEECE
Pack smart but light for highly-variable weather conditions, particularly early and late season. Finding affordable pieces worth their weight means gear that stands up to repeated laundering as well. Useful life is an Active Junky value that makes synthetic options more viable.
Loki’s durable MIDI FLEECE is, when paired with a light base layer and ultra-light shell, a favored piece in the all-seasons quiver. With a built-in, adjustable hood and signature stealth mitts ready for action, everything from ski touring to rafting to alpine trekking gets easier. Testers continue to applaud Loki’s bomber construction and this piece fits comfortably while side stretch panels maintain MIDI’s shape (taller travelers will finally find adequate length as well). When conditions get dicier, the hidden neck gaiter can save the day: Active Junky deployed it as winds and cold rain struck at 11,000 feet.