Feb 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm #1255233
http://www.giltman.com has the Westcomb Vapor and Flex Event shell jackets for 80% off. The Flex is a hybrid with a combination of Polartec Powershield and Even fabrics and is priced at $80. At their home page, click on the Final Sale link and then choose Westcomb on the brand list. You do have to create an account to order and I have not ordered from them before. I have the Westcomb Mirage which is a similar Event shell and construction is top notch.Feb 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm #1573532
The vapor looks like a great ski jacket – but I'm wondering if it would be an effective backpacking jacket? Anyone have any feedback?Feb 13, 2010 at 9:58 pm #1573568
any idea how long it takes for new accounts to be created? and how long the sale lasts?
i'm interested, but am hoping the account comes through before they are out of S/M jackets.
thanks for the heads up.Feb 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm #1573588
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
Hmm,,,, can't find weights.Feb 14, 2010 at 1:57 am #1573603
Hey, I believe you can be instantly accepted if you use an existing member's invite link. Here's my invite link:
Full disclosure, I would get $25 credit towards a potential future purchase at giltman if you bought anything through the site.
I believe it took something greater than 24 hours to be accepted–perhaps 3 days (maybe a bit less) give or take? Sorry if this sounds like I'm just whoring out my invite link, I don't have any idea how long the sale lasts and it just seems like a good deal.Feb 14, 2010 at 7:13 am #1573624
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Michael – I have one and it's nothing short of great for skiing. I've also used it for wintertime fishing. It's got lots of pockets and a sewn-in powder skirt, so there is some weight you won't need when backpacking, but otherwise I think it would work well there too. Apparently the Vapor has the latest and greatest in Event; at any rate it breathes extremely well.Feb 15, 2010 at 9:12 am #1573985
Thanks for the link — you should have a $25 credit. I'm happy to support fellow BPLers, and grateful for the excellent deal… I grabbed a couple of Westcomb items and will cycle some other gear out of the closet.
No, it's not ultralight, but like most of us, I spend more time in the frontcountry than the backcountry, and for everyday wear, great gear that weighs a few extra ounces is more durable and helps avoid wear and tear on my ultralight gear. 80% off of Westcomb stuff is unheard of. I purchased a Westcomb Bravo Hoody for my sister last year and I think it's been the most worn item in her closet — amazing fit, finish and feel.
For anyone who wants/needs ski or frontcountry gear, these are the best deals you are ever likely to see on some of the highest quality gear being produced. Again, a HUGE THANKS!Feb 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm #1575397
Westcomb stuff arrived today from Gilt — my first order with them. Shipping was fast and the packaging is great. They showed an excellent attention to detail throughout the whole process.
Westcomb products live up to their reputation: they are awesome — it was like Christmas opening the box. Went ahead and grabbed five items; unsure what all I will pass on to others and what will be kept to replace other gear in the closet, but I was impressed enough with several pieces that it's worth mentioning my initial impressions here in case there is a future sale.
For reference, I'm 5'10", 160#, with long arms… a 39-long in a suit jacket, if that helps. All Westcomb items ordered were size Medium.
Arcane LT vest — this piece is just exceptional. Best feeling vest I've tried on. Weight is heavy, at ~14oz, but it just feels perfect on. Schoeller Dynamic exterior with a thin layer of primaloft insulation. Pockets are lined and fit just right, vest is stylish and comfortable over a T-shirt, sweater or sweatshirt. Feels indestructible. Every seem just screams quality. One of the most enjoyable items I've ever put on — very much looking forward to years of use.
Bravo Jacket – excellent feel, and very warm, made from Polartec Thermal Pro fleece. Loose enough to comfortably wear over a sweater; not so loose you can't get it on easily under a shell. Again, a very stylish cut and finish. This will get a LOT of everyday wear. Best fleece I've tried.
Ozone Hoody – this is the gridded Polartec Thermal Pro, and feels very nice, but not quite up to par of the previous two items. Cut for thinner shoulders — or maybe just not articulated well enough in the pits — but this rides up a little bit when I lift my arms. Very comfy, nice hood, and great for lounging, but the pits will make it a little more restrictive than I would like for cool weather sports that require a lot of arm movement. Unless you've got narrow shoulders, I wouldn't wear it climbing/skiing/disc golf, for instance.
Flex Jacket – Polartec Power Shield and eVent — awesome combo. Looks great, though the angled-main zipper (starts in the middle by your navel, ends up on the right side of your chin) is a little odd. Hand pockets are a little odd, too — they are huge, and the openings are slanted in such a way that you've got to really pull your shoulders up and twist your arms a bit to reach the bottoms of the hand pockets — great for storing extra gear, but just not as comfortable as they should be for a jacket with a $400 retail. Fabric and overall appearance are exceptional, though. Hood is huge, but adjusts well with cinches.
Vapor FX – serious skiing hardshell; powder skirt is non-removable. I like it, but am unsure whether it is necessary for the closet. It is a little bigger cut, and I can just barely get a M-tall Fugu jacket underneath. Very slight compression of the jacket, but if I keep it, this will be an unbelievable cold-weather pairing. Bulletproof and insanely warm. Hand pockets much better on this than on the Flex.
If folks have questions, let me know. Neither eVent jacket is going to be a great answer to ultralight backpacking, but they're awesome for other apps, and at 80% off, these were far, far better than other gear of similar prices…
Overall, better fit and quality than anything else in my closet, including Montbell, GoLite, Arc'Teryx, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, etc… closest comparison for quality out of what I've tried is Montane and — believe it or not — the backcountry.com house brand.
Anyway, long overview, I know, but just wanted to say thanks again to Greg for the headsup on the best gear deal I've seen in years, and thanks to Ben for the signup link that helped me get an account in time to take advantage of it. You guys are awesome.Feb 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm #1575482
Awesome! Sounds like you scored some sweet gear. I'm glad I could help out :)
-BenFeb 19, 2010 at 10:30 am #1575886
Tim, thanks for posting those reviews.
I still have an opportunity to buy either the Vapor or flex jackets from Gilt, but am concerned about the sizing before I pull the trigger.
I'm similar to your size:
5'10", 155", and wear a 38 suit jacket. I usually wear a medium, but a lot of times a medium is pretty baggy on me. I'm thinking of ordering a small, but I'm worried that it might be too short in the body/sleeves. I don't own a puffy jacket, so room for layering isn't much of a concern.
I plan on buying a the jacket for an upcoming snowboarding trip, but don't get to get snowboarding very often. I was thinking i could also use it for backpacking/casual wear, since my existing $50 North Face rain shell has holes, no DWR left, and is pretty heavy. I'm leaning toward the Vapor, as it's all eVent, and could function as a hard shell.
so my questions:
– do you think the Vapor jacket runs big?(so I could get a small)
– are the "storm cuffs" removable?
– would a powder skirt and cuffs be annoying for backpacking/everyday wear?
– is it very packable? The 21 oz weight doesn't concern me, just don't want it to take up tons of room in my pack.
– is getting the Flex worth saving $30? Not sure if powershield could work in the rain, or whether the jacket is insulated.
Any help would be appreciated.Feb 19, 2010 at 11:11 am #1575905
@kidcobaltLocale: Western Montana
I also took advantage of the Gilt Man deal on Westcomb, and bought the Bravo fleece, the Vapor jacket, and the Flex jacket. They are all fine pieces, but in my opinion are no better in the details or construction than similar items from Patagonia or Arc'Teryx.
Both the Flex and Vapor are specifically designed for skiing/boarding, and thus should be considered winter only jackets unless you perform some modifications. For example, both jackets have a stretch inner cuff with a thumbhole, and the outer cuff doesn't open very wide at all. Thus, there's little possibility of venting through the cuffs or shoving the sleeves up your arm.
What's more annoying is that the main drawcords for the hood on both jackets are exposed on the outside of the shell–in windy conditions they'll slap you in the face. My Westcomb Specter (the light eVent shell) and BackCountry.com eVent shell (made by Westcomb) have the drawcords end inside the jacket.
Because both jackets have collars, the hood doesn't offer the greatest protection–the drawcords are further away from the center of the jacket than normal, making it more difficult to cinch the fabric around your lower face. The collar/hood arrangement on Arc'Teryx jackets is much nicer.
As mentioned by someone else, the pockets on the Flex are very deep, going all the way down to the hem–although the pocket zippers don't. It's difficult to get things out of the pocket. Also, because the Flex uses powershield for about 35 percent of the shell, it's not a jacket that will keep you dry in a rainstorm.
Both of the jackets use a very heavy herringbone eVent material that is the burliest eVent that I've ever seen. The inner scrim is also thicker than other eVent jackets, which may help with one of my major complaints about eVent–the tricot scrim is very easily damaged by abrasion.Feb 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm #1575928
Also notice that the Flex doesn't, I believe, have pit zips. No matter how good eVent is, this is probably not a jacket you want to be exerting yourself a lot in.Feb 19, 2010 at 12:17 pm #1575936
Hi Joshua– how do you access Westcomb now at Giltman? When I go to the site, I don't find it, though I was able to order something several days ago. Thanks.Feb 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm #1575938
Never had pit zips in my two eVENT jackets and never had an issue with internal condensation. FWIW.Feb 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm #1575944
David, that's amazing. I've never used eVent except in a bivy, and it was certainly great there. Very excited now about the impending Flex (later corrected–actually, it's a Vapor jacket I'm expecting).Feb 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm #1575960
@kidcobaltLocale: Western Montana
On the Flex jacket, the area under the arms is not eVent, but PowerShield–even more breathable.Feb 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm #1575972
From what I've seen their the sales last 36 hours start to finish per product line/offering.Feb 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm #1576077
First impressions–this is an extremely sturdy jacket. The 3 layer eVent fabric is about as thick, and stiff, as that used in the early (and maybe later) Arcteryx Alphas, which were Goretex. There's not much that's vaporous here.
There are long, though not extremely long, pit zips, with what look to be waterproof zippers. In fact, all the zippers look like they're waterproof, including recessed zippers which open to large bellowed side pockets, and the zipper to an internal cell-phone/ipod/etc. pocket, which has a laser-cut (?) small vent slot. The double tab large tooth front zipper looks extremely solid, with a stiffish 3/4" draft flap.
The elasticized powder skirt tabs together with two flaps which can snap to themselves to get out of the way when not in use. There are two "internal storm cuffs with thumb loop" which are sewn to the inside of the sleeves about 6" up from the cuffs. As noted in a previous post, the cuffs are not large, but thin gloves might fit inside them; otherwise gloves or mitts would probably fit best over the cuffs.
The rear of the jacket drops several inches, far enough that this jacket might work well on a bike, though brand new it feels a bit stiff for that use.
The waist is moderately trim, though there's plenty of room in the upper torso. One can reach forward with both arms without causing the cuffs to retract, but reaching upward raises the waist and retracts a cuff. Overall it's a pretty good compromise between internal volume and trimness of fit–no problem wearing a Montbell Alpine Light down jacket under the Vapor. The fit is long, not for someone wearing a belay harness.
When the jacket is fully zipped, the velour-covered chin fabric fits nicely around the chin without squashing, coming to a height just below the mouth. The hood is suited for a fairly large helmet, which means it's very big if you're not using a helmet.
Overall appearance is very good, and the jacket could function well around town. (mine is colored "bruise"–luckily early stage bruise, shades of brownish purple, not late stage bruise, mottled chartreuse and yellow.)
All in all, not exactly a BPL garment, but very well made and a spectacular deal at the price, so more thanks to Greg.Feb 19, 2010 at 10:36 pm #1576237
It does sound like you and I are almost the same size. And based on my minimal experience, I would guess that a small would fit you — but probably only in the Vapor. The Vapor runs bigger than all the other Westcomb gear I tried. I think it is because as their top-end ski shell, they give plenty of space for puffy underlayers. I was able to put it on over a Medium-Tall Fugu jacket — which are incredibly puffy, and run a little large — with very minimal compression.
cuffs and powder skirt are not removable — unless you cut them out to remove them permanently (which I would never do, but I can easily imagine some folks here doing exactly that).
The powder skirt and cuffs are designed in such a way that I don't think I would mind them for most wear, the only trouble is that the jacket is a little bit slick/stiff/noisy because of the heavy eVent material. It's not as casual and easy to wear everyday as some of the other gear available. It's also too thick to plan to wear backpacking year-round, though I think you'd probably be okay over a T-shirt to temps around 60* with light exertion (just a guess, though, since I haven't tried it).
The Flex appears a better fit for an everyday jacket, primarily because of the lack of powder skirt and the more athletic cut.
Neither jacket is perfect or an ideal all-around solution, though I do plan to use the Vapor for winter hiking just because it appears so bulletproof and waterproof.
again, my guess is that if you're not planning on wearing a lot of underlayers (or are using thin, close-fitting underlayers), you could get away with a small Vapor. But since I haven't tried it firsthand, I don't want to make an absolute recommendation since Gilt wasn't offering any returns on the "final sale" Westcomb stuff.
Just a curiosity — how can you still access the sale? If it were still available, I've got a couple friends I would love to hook up with some of the gear. After seeing the insane quality of the Arcane vest, for instance, I'd buy them now in plans for next Christmas and give them out to everyone I know — they are awesome.
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