Eddie Bauer First Ascent BC-200 Jacket
Source: received it as a sample, freebie, or prize (Trailspace)
An ultralight rain jacket featuring an athletic fit and WeatherEdge Pro waterproof fabric tech. Unfortunately needed to re-waterproof the jacket after first use wet-through.
- Good fit
The first thing I thought about when I received this jacket was how light it was compared to my Marmot Oracle. This is a purebred rain shell though, so it should be this light. The jacket is still well appointed in pockets, smooth and waterproof zippers, and generous tail and hood cuts.
It is an athletic fit though, it will be tight around the torso, but has plenty of length where it counts in the sleeves and back when you're bending or reaching. Perfect for climbing. Also the material is not crunchy or stiff as will happen with some of the waterproof fabrics. It's very pliable. Though this may affect its durability in the long run.
The hood is large enough for a helmet and is still adjustable for when you're not wearing one. It was hook and loop at the cuffs as well as a kind of rubber material that seals against your wrist when you cinch the cuff down.
This jacket contains Eddie Bauer's WeatherEdge Pro fabric, which I think is the highest end of their WeatherEdge line. Unfortunately, on my first real test of the jacket in average rain and an 1.5hr hike, the jacket soaked through on the arms and shoulders. I was able to use the NikWax system and revive it. I have not had the chance to test it in a similar situation, but in more mild rain the water continues to bead and shed.
My most recent hike with this jacket was as a hard shell over my Uniqlo down jacket. It provides amazing wind protection and does a great job covering neck and wrist gaps from cold and wind seeping in. It definitely took the edge off of the 20mph gusts and 30 degree air.
Overall, I recommend this jacket. No jacket is completely waterproof, but I think for the weight savings and amazing fit, it's still worth its space in my pack.
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $99
This is a surprisingly lightweight, weatherproof breathable jacket.
- Uncertain about durability due to the thin fabric
I purchased this jacket last spring, and used it on several day hikes and backpacking trips. At 11 oz it's quite a bit lighter than the REI eVent jacket that I had been using.
Mine is sized large, allowing for layering underneath. It's a comfortable fit on me, at 5'10" and around 185 pounds. The zipper engages easily, a big deal in bad weather. The hood is oversized so that can fit over a climbing helmet, but it has a drawcord that allows cinching it down to fit one's head comfortably. It also has a small brim.
My first few trips with this jacket were at Mount Rainier, hiking from Paradise to Camp Muir. On the first trip the weather was inclement; it was windy and raining pretty much for the entire trip. I kept the BC-200 on the entire time, and the water beaded off it nicely. The jacket did an excellent job of keeping the gusts of wind out as well.
I took my BC-200 with me on a week-long backpacking trip in the North Cascades, specifically the Glacier Peak Wilderness. For the most part, the days were hot and the evenings chilly. Most of our camp sites were at 6000 feet or higher, so when the sun went down so did the temperatures. That said, it was July in the Cascades, so the sunset was pretty late.
The weather was perfect when we arrived at our 3rd to last camp, but not much later a cloud bank rolled over the ridge and enveloped us, bringing with it a cold breeze as well as the threat of rain. I wore my BCS-200 over a First Ascent softshell and an Ibex wool hoodie base layer. The combination kept me warm, and kept the wind out. The weather the following evening was even worse, with lower temperatures plus fog and more wind. Same story.
I used this combination when hiking in the Gates of the Arctic also, a wool base layer, First Ascent softshell, and BCS-200 hardshell. Being labor day weekend, it was near the end of the Arctic autumn, so the nights were bitterly cold, and the warmest it got during the day was the 30's and 40's when the sun was out.
The pockets on this jacket are accessible when wearing a backpack, but being an ultralight hardshell, they're not handwarmers. It does not have armpit zips, because as I understand it the testers didn't feel that they needed them, because the fabric was breathable enough to get the job done.
My only concern so far is that due to the extremely light fabric, I don't know how well it will hold up over time. So far however, it shows no signs of wear, in spite of having it out in some fairly harsh conditions — including wearing it at the summit of Mount Rainier.
I recommend this jacket for anyone looking for a lightweight hardshell jacket, or even just as an emergency rain jacket.
Where to Buy
The Eddie Bauer First Ascent BC-200 Jacket is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
Or you may want to check for a dealer list or direct sales on the Eddie Bauer website.
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Here's what other sites are saying:
Eddie Bauer BC-200 Hard Shell Jacket - It's never been done. A 3-layer, waterproof/breathable hard shell with 20K/25K performance and complete welded-seam construction that's under 11 oz. AND under $200. All the protection of a seaman's storm jacket. Yet so breathable and lightweight you can wear it anywhere, any day of the year. Perfect for hiking, climbing, cycling or any other time when you're active and the weather's nuking. The helmet compatible hood is oversized for helmets but can be cinched down to work without. Quite possibly the most versatile gear you'll ever own. The breakthrough fabric, exclusive to Eddie Bauer First Ascent, puts this ultralight in a class by itself.
- Eddie Bauer refers to the men's version