Jul 05 2012

Review: Westcomb’s Cruiser Jacket


Westcomb's Cruiser jacket provides a windbreak while climbing Mt. Shasta.

When first introduced to the brand Westcomb my ears were only half listening until I heard the term “ex-pat from Arcteryx.” Now that I have your attention as well, Westcomb is a new apparel brand out of Canada that gained serious experience as the factory building many of Arcteryx’s garments.

Here’s a quick look at their Cruiser shell jacket. Made with eVent®, the Cruiser is a simple, back to basics shell that provides the core pieces of functionality that I’ve come to demand for backcountry skiing, without adding any unnecessary frills. Since then the Cruiser has become my new jacket of choice, accompanying me to Mt. Shasta to deflect its notorious winds.

As you would hope, with that sort of minimalist feature list it is, indeed, a light weight shell. Not just light on the scale, but noticeably light when you pick it up to put it on, or roll it up to stuff in your pack.

The design is not ground breaking, it merely includes all the basic functions I want and expect in a jacket. It has simple, reliable Velcro® straps to cinch the cuffs tight around your wrist to keep snow and cold out. On the chest there are two full length zippers on either side with pockets large enough to stuff climbing skins in after the climb so you can rip and stuff and start descending without having to waste time taking your pack off to stash the skins. There’s even a small inside pocket on the left side for a cell phone, ipod, mp3 player or whatever else you deem to be important and easily accessible. And then there’s the hood, which has a nice reinforced bill to keep snow out of your eyes, and a simple drawcord cinch in the back for snugging the hood around your head, and draw cords on either side to hug your face. Is it large enough for a brain bucket? That depends on how thick of a bucket you need for your brains. It is roomy enough for most climbing helmets, but may come up shy on some of the gignormous ski helmets on the market (for which a hood is redundant and vestigial).

The Cruiser kept the chill out, and didn't overheat while skiing down.

The core function of keeping the weather on the outside and a regulated space of warmth and relative dryness comes courtesy of eVent® fabric. In my experience eVent® is more breathable than Goretex, and equally water resistant. The only negative on this jacket was the main zipper which just happens to be difficult to start due to a seam that was too close to the zipper teeth for the first inch or so. Once I got past this restriction in the starter zone it zipped easy and reliably. I think my particular jacket is just a bit flawed.

Would I recommend the Cruiser? Absotively. Just check all the zippers and features to make sure they work fine before swiping your card.

Cruiser LT
MSRP: $380
Weight (sz Lg): 16.3 oz. (465 g)
Material: eVent®, ripstop nylon face fabric.

© 2012