I've had this jacket for about a year now and it has…
Fabric: Polartec Powershield
Price Paid: $90
I've had this jacket for about a year now and it has more than surpassed my expectations, especially for the price I paid for it. The jacket is made of the same material that is in the more expensive softshells, Polertec Powershield.
It is backcountry.com's composite jacket, which means it is made of two different thickness Polartec material. On the inside of the sleeves and abdomen area, is the lighter, thinner, less stretchy version. The outside of the arms, chest, and entire back are the real-deal, thicker, 4-way stretch material. The colors of the materials are different too, which give the jacket a fantastic, fashionable look. Much better than a lot other softshells. I bought the black/cinder model and it looks fantastic.
- The composite makes this jacket ideal for a wide range of temps. I have used it in the summer to winter. Its not going to keep you warm alone in the winter. You'll need a solid insulating layer underneath. But most softshells wont supply you that kind of warmth anyway.
- It's lighter due to the composite setup, and breaths exceptionally well.
- Same weatherproofness as all over Polertec softshells. Its not watertight by any means, but it will shed off light rain and snow easily. Especially if you retreat with nikwax.
- The pockets are decent. One on the left sleeve. Two large hand pockets with fleece lining. One security pocket inside the right hand pocket. One inside left chest pocket with mp3 headphone hole.
- Price, price, price. I managed to pick it up for 90 bucks brand new on sale at Backcountry.com. Ridiculously cheap for this quality jacket. I was looking at Gamma Mx, and Mountain Hardwear Synchro, which would have cost me multiple times the price I paid. And I can return it anytime for any reason under Backcountry's return policy. Ridiculous!
Cons - The jacket has very few downsides to think of.
The only one is the composite, lighter Polartec material isn't as stretchy as the thicker material around the shoulders and back. This leads to a slight decrease in overall stretch compared to Backcountry.com Shift jacket, which is 100% the thicker Powershield material. Only slightly noticeable, and the jacket still stretches a solid amount as is.
- They jacket is not meant for a stand alone piece in winter by any means and will probably be a little lighter than most softshells due to the composite material in the sleeves.
All in all, you simply cannot beat the performance of this jacket for the price. If you are worried about the quality of an online retailer's product, don't be. This jacket is made of name brand, award winning softshell material, well made, and has exceptional features and fit. I am 6'3"-6'4" about 195 lbs, 42 inch chest, 34-35 inch arms, slender and athletic build and the large fits perfectly. Not too much room in the chest, and the length of the sleeves are adequate and not underlength.
Quite the exceptional find for the price I paid. Well done, backcountry.com.