Gear

Backcountry.com Shift Welder Softshell Jacket

December 31, 2008

A recent dump to the Wasatch flooded our streets with white and our mountains with 20+ inches of fluff. With a recent addition to the family I couldn't partake of the epic powder but was assigned to keep the sidewalks walkable in my neighborhood. I threw on my new Backcountry.com Shift Welder jacket in an attempt to give it a gear performance pop-quiz during one of the many SLC snow puke sessions. Under the reviews on the jacket one guy is saying the Welder is "comparable if not superior to the Arcteryx Gamma MX". I'm not sure if its up to the Gamma level but here are my thoughts. The BC Design The material is very soft, well duh its a softshell but I swear the backcountry.com team threw something else into the brew on this jacket. I like that aspect because it makes it super packable and doesn't restrict any arm movement. For all that crazy snow shoveling I was doing it kinda felt like I wasn't wearing anything. As far as resisting the moisture it did ok, but I was really wanting my hardshell or my Sigma SV during the snow storm. With the fully welded seams, hence the name, your mind can be put to rest. I also took this for a run in the cold to see what it could do. The heat regulation was impressive with my merino baselayer underneath. And it also kept me just warm enough to withstand the 19 degrees it was that night. The wrist cuffs don't have a velcro strap but has a 3 inch section of lycra (I think) to reduce the bulk. That really makes this jacket a solid touring choice. Along with the teeny foam pads they use to hold the multiple drawstrings, you can tell the design team didn't let any details slide. Not my favorite Ok speaking of details and call me knit picky if you want, but the front zipper. For one it can open from the bottom which I'm really not a fan of. And maybe I got a funky one but its just not very smooth. Maybe the team considered waterproof zippers or a more high-quality zipper but they kinda missed it on this aspect of the jacket. Bottom Line I would buy the jacket again because I think its bomber alternative to my array of jackets. It fits with a helmet and has a nice micro fleece lining. The arms fit long so get ready, I'm 5'8" and usually wear a medium and this jacket in a medium fits perfect. The Tahoe blue color is also really snazzy! BUY NOW: The Shift Welder Softshell jacket at Backcountry.com.

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