Breathable Insulated Jacket
Beyond Clothing Dasche L3 Jacket
$190, 14 oz./397g (men’s medium regular)
Sizes: men’s XS-3XL
Over several cold days of ski touring from Utah’s Wasatch Range to Idaho’s Boise Mountains, with temps in the single digits and teens Fahrenheit, snow falling, and a cold wind chill at times, the Dasche L3 Jacket rarely left my body, whether serving as a middle layer skiing downhill or an outer layer skiing uphill—a testament to its breathability and versatility. The fact that it comes in under a pound and under 200 bucks should make a variety of winter adventurers sit up and take notice.
On one day touring in Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah’s Wasatch Range, with temps in the teens, dumping snow, and the wind blowing hard, the Dasche stayed on under my shell while skiing both uphill and downhill, keeping my core at just about an ideal temp, neither sweating not ever feeling chilled.
I’ve also worn the Dasche Nordic skate skiing very hilly trails in temperatures around 20° F and cold wind, for which it proved ideal, delivering enough warmth for the long, fast, chilly downhills while not causing me to overheat on the long, strenuous uphills. Whether backcountry or Nordic skiing, it breathed and moved moisture well enough that only a little dampness built up inside, even at my upper back, and my base layer dried within minutes whenever my exertion level dropped. For me, it only became too warm in sunshine, calm air, and temps around or just below freezing—when I’d go down to one or two base layers skinning uphill or choose a lighter, more breathable jacket or vest skate skiing.
The Dasche employs a hybrid vest-jacket design, with mapped, water-resistant, low-bulk 80g PrimaLoft Gold Luxe synthetic insulation in the core (front and back) and shoulders and very breathable, stretchy soft-shell fabric in the sides, underarms, and lower arms.
This somewhat unique combination of materials creates a jacket that traps heat effectively where your body needs that but also releases heat and moisture—where many jackets with this type of hybrid design do either one thing or the other better.
And rather than the usual method of stitching lines into a garment to create pockets for the insulation—holding it in place—the 20-denier, Pertex Quantum soft-shell fabric (over the jacket areas with insulation) features Pertex 3D Weave, which allows tunnel-like chambers to be woven into the fabric itself, eliminating the hole-punch effect of stitching that can compromise wind resistance. Treated with a DWR for water repellency, the fabric comes from 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, Bluesign-certified textiles and is certified to standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, meaning it’s free from harmful levels of 100 substances.
The athletic but not skin-tight fit accommodates a couple of warm base layers—but unfortunately, does not come in women’s sizes, although it is available in an unusually wide range of sizes.
Be smart about winter. See “The Best Clothing Layers for Winter in the Backcountry”
and “How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry.”
The uninsulated, stretchy, close-fitting hood, adjustable using one rear cordlock, moves with your head, fits under any helmet, and provides excellent coverage, extending over your face almost as much as a good, technical, winter shell hood. It cuts some wind while breathing quite well—an ideal middle-layer hood that I could wear climbing uphill without overheating. Its unique stow design, zipping inside the collar and securing with a hook-and-loop patch, is smart and simple—except that the tiny zipper pull tab and location of the patch behind your head make it tricky to deploy or stow the hood while wearing the jacket and gloves. Still, when stowed it’s virtually unnoticeable inside the collar.
Two inside, mesh drop pockets provide space close to your body for items you want to warm up or dry: One is smaller, for a spare hat or map, while the other could hold a pair of warm gloves or a single climbing skin.
On the exterior, the two zippered hand pockets are quite deep—certainly large enough for very warm winter gloves or mittens—and fronted by insulation for heating up cold hands. The left pocket has a second zippered pocket inside it, added security for anything valuable, and the jacket stuffs easily into that inner pocket.
At 14 ounces, it falls in the mid-range of insulation layers for wintry temps, and it packs down to slightly larger than a liter bottle (and compresses even smaller inside a pack).
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Backcountry skiers and riders, climbers, snowshoers, hikers, and others looking for a versatile, breathable, outer and middle insulation layer for working hard in sub-freezing temperatures may not find a better value than the Beyond Clothing Dasche L3 Jacket.
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See all of my reviews of breathable insulated jackets and outdoor apparel that I like, including “The 10 Best Down Jackets,” “The Best Gloves for Winter,” “The Best Mittens for Winter,” “The Best Clothing Layers for Winter in the Backcountry,” and “12 Pro Tips for Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter.”
NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See my Gear Reviews page for categorized menus of all of my reviews and my expert buying tips.