The BC-100 Jacket is an ultralight outer shell from…
Price Paid: $50 - on sale
The BC-100 Jacket is an ultralight outer shell from Eddie Bauer's line of technical gear, First Ascent (FA). Recently, I've decided to test out several of their products due to the costs versus other premium brands (Patagonia, North Face, HH, etc.).
This jacket is a great 10k/10k option, and better than the equivalent from EMS for example. It's tough. It kept me dry in the snow and rain during my normal activities outdoors (about 2 hours outdoors at a clip). I wear it over my mid-weight base layer and fleece and I had no movement restrictions: close fitting, didn't feel bulky, and could breath.
I had no problems with my pack on (though this might be subjective), Gregory Baltoro 70. The hood is nice, and though it isn't removable or stowaway it's not in the way when off. This jacket is truly ultralight and very packable (with the exception of those sealed zippers which always make packing stuff interesting). Nice inner and exterior pockets, all with sealed zips. Same advice I've learned from others: replace the zip pulls with 3" cords for ease of use with gloves on.
My intended use is to have something ultralight and ultra packable to pop out on the trail if rain starts that can give me enough time to find shelter or setup my tarp. I'm pleased to report FA gear is really good, however, you have to choose correctly. Anything beyond that (4-5 hour hikes for me) I'm fine with 10k/10k because in that time I could be taking a nap waiting for the rain to stop or setup for the night, have some grub, and listen to my iPod, LOL.
The only complaints I've seen elsewhere include the lack of pit zips. In addition to agreeing with this I would add to CHECK THE SIZING, I found a medium that was mistagged as a large (felt like a corset when I zipped it up, GAH!).
If you are shopping in the Eddie Bauer store this is not an issue. If you buy online and you need to return I've found EB has a fantastice return policy and service, even if it's for something like you don't like the color of the item you bought after you got it (yes, guilty as charged).
Also, no inner zip to make it compatible with a soft shell or liner.