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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Westcomb Cayoosh LT Down Hybrid Jacket

My version which is the original with bigger knit cuffs

I actually got this jacket by mistake.  Took me a while to wrap my head around a use for it.  The idea originally was to do a review and comparison of a few of the synthetic hybrid jackets.  Atom LT, the Mtn Equipment Bastion, Rab Vapour-rise Stretch Top and the Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid are good examples of what I was thinking originally.

The Cayoosh LT Down Sweater is the odd "duck" here.  The insulation is premium  850-fill Hutterite goose Down.  In the world of natural down,  it simply doesn't get any better.   I had asked for the hooded versions of the Cayoosh. 

What showed was the sweater version.  That through off my comparison in a number of ways.  But after  months of use I still thought the Sweater version worth a review.

Newer version with  out the knit cuffs

As the name says it is a "sweater".  For the most part it makes a decent climbing sweater in cold dry conditions.

My original version of the Cayoosh is light weight, 10.5 oz in a size large, wind proof for the most part and may be its best feature it vents well with the Polartec  stretch side panels.  I'd suspect the current version is lighter yet by a few ounces.  That is really light for the amount of insulation offered! 

My earlier version has full knit cuffs and a different side panel material from Polartech than the current version. 

What I decide the Cayoosh was best  suited for my own use  was either as a light weight sweater in cold, dry conditions or as insulation under a very breathable shell in wet conditions.  The Focus or Shift shells would be good outer layers for the Cayoosh in wet weather or simply when more wind protection or warmth is required. 

Not the best piece for me because there are no zippers on the side pockets.  Some times the designers have a completely different use of the garment in comparison to my own wants.  Once in a while I think it is worth a closer look at  an unusual garment to see if it actually will fit into your clothing system.  The Cayoosh does in mine if only in a small way.  But as super light insulation worn while very active in cold and dry conditions I am not sure there is anything better.  I don' t know if there are other hybrid down garments out there.  I like the idea.  With the addition of zippers on the pockets and a BIG chin level,  fleece backed, stand up collar the newest version would be pretty sweat and even more usable for me.

Sizing?  I wear a large in this one.  It is a slim fit.  Perfect with just a base layer or two.  Again 10.5 oz in the older, heavier model, size large.

The current version of how the cuff is finished
Westcomb has used the rare 850-fill Hutterite down. 

Views of both sides of the breathable and wind-blocking Polartec WindPro fleece panels.

What Westcomb has to sez:

The Westcomb Cayoosh LT Down Jacket displays such windproof, breathable, toasty-warm competence that you'll mourn the arrival of summer. Hike, climb, and explore every cool day of the year with unhindered mobility and protection, then consider a trip to the other hemisphere.
  • Pertex Quantum is strong and lightweight and feels like sliky 5-star luxury on the skin
  • Breathable, durable, wind-blocking Polartec WindPro fleece panels on the sides increase mobility and breathability, and make it easier to layer this jacket under a shell
  • 850-fill durable, non-clumping Hutterite Down insulation keeps you toasty-warm without weighing you down
  • 12 SPI (stitches per inch) construction means strong seams that don't interfere with down performance
  • Superlight 11oz weight makes it a breeze on your back (I got 10.5 oz from a slim fit large)
  • Full CF zip with windguard keeps out the cold, wind, and rain
  • Two velour-lined hand pockets prevent frigid fingers and secure essentials
Bottom line?  I wear a Eddie Bauer or a Rab Microlight Alpine down sweater/jacket as a daily garment all winter here in the Puget Sound area.  The Rab is usually too warm with the double panel front.  I've used it to ski in on big snow days when I forgot the right layers.  The Eddie Bauer is almost perfect here for casual wear.  The Cayoosh is perfect for similar temps imo.  The Cayoosh breathes better and is the right  amount of insulation when used alone in a mild winter climate.  No zippers defiantly makes it a "sweater" instead of a super light weight down jacket for me.

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