Gear Review: Westcomb Cayoosh LT Sweater
Westcomb Cayoosh LT Sweater
$260, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
From Idaho’s Sawtooths to Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness and Washington’s Olympic Mountains, this full-zip down jacket proved surprisingly warm for its weight in temperatures from the 40s down to a hair below freezing (with only one or two base layers underneath). Two reasons for that: the hypo-allergenic Hutterite down feathers, which Westcomb says exceed the European standard for 850-fill down, make the jacket lighter, more compact, and warmer. Plus, the soft and supple Pertex Quantum 20-denier shell is the lightest fabric in the Pertex line, with the best strength-to-weight ratio; it also shed a light rain and repelled wind.
The Cayoosh also distinguishes itself from other lightweight puffy jackets in using stretchy Polartec WindPro fabric in the side panels, cuffs, and under the arms, for breathability and better range of motion—meaning you can wear this jacket when exerting in much colder conditions, lending it greater versatility than most puffy jackets. The zipper has windguard and a flap behind it to shut out the wind, the collar seals closely right up to your chin to keep out drafts, and the pockets are terrific hand warmers. The fit is close for thermal efficiency, with space for layering a light fleece underneath, and the jacket compacts to the size of a cantaloupe. The hooded version is the Cayoosh Hoody, $300, in men’s and women’s sizes.
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu. See more reviews of backpacking gear I like by clicking on the “backpacking gear reviews” tag in the tag cloud in the left sidebar.
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