As you know, our gear reviews aren’t sponsored. We get a lot of gear and, quite frankly, we test the hell out of stuff.
This year was no exception: we took gear on a camping trips in Northern Ontario, as well as a multi-day canoe trip in the Kawartha Lakes, leading to Petroglyphs Provincial Park and Curve Lake First Nation. We also tested some gear at a rustic cabin (meaning no water or loo, folks). And while it’s true that some of the gear just didn’t make it, we found some things that we absolutely love — items that we know will be with you for a long, long time and many wild adventures.
We tested out a bunch of lightweight jackets, which were scored based on functionality, design, warmth, comfort, and innovation. Here are the best lightweight jackets of 2015 that we tested (both Canadian brands!):
Arc’teryx’s Atom LT Hoody Women’s ($250)
We’re raving mad about Arc’teryx’s Atom LT Hoody jacket. It’s lightweight and easy to scrunch into a backpack; but brings the warmth and comfort of a sleeping bag. It quickly became our “go-to” coat on several camping, cottaging, and hiking trips.
What we loved: The jacket’s versatility. It functioned so well as an outer layer across multiple seasons and excursions. On chilly mornings and evenings, the hoody kept us snug as a bug while cooking over the campfire, thanks to the synthetic insulation in the torso, arms, and hood.
But we weren’t sweating like a pigs during a challenging hike in Alberta’s Jasper National Park and Maui’s Haleakaka National Park. It’s because this hoody is designed for movement and breathability – ideal for travellers who get active outdoors, but need to prepare for cooler temperatures.
If we could change one thing: While water resistant, the Atom hoody isn’t waterproof – a possible downside for those planning long haul treks in the backwoods.
Ideal for: Mountain weather, autumn/summer camping, bumming around the cottage.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Westcomb Fuse Light Hoody ($450)
This is one kickass jacket. We can’t sing the praises of Westcomb’s Fuse Light Hoody any higher. Yes, it’s one pricey mofo, but it’s carefully designed using premium technology and materials. The outer shell is made from Polartec NeoShell, a special membrane that’s got the 3 W’s covered: warm, waterproof, and wind resistant. Yet the jacket is still thin, lightweight and breathable, as the shell allows a miniscule amount of outside air to permeate the jacket for circulation.
The Fuse Light is also incredibly functional and versatile, ideal for getting active outdoors. We wore this jacket during a multi-day camping trip that involved canoeing, hiking, and learning the art of pole- and axe-throwing. It’s basically suited to any outdoor activity.
What we love: The Fuse Hoody is 100% waterproof – for reals. One day, there was a monsoon of rain at our campsite, but we stayed completely dry underneath.
If we could change one thing: More pocket space, and perhaps a built-in zipper to add a fleece.
Ideal for: most outdoor activities.
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