Westcomb, you know that company up North that makes high-quality outerwear made in North America? Wait, what? Did you say North America? Yup, Westcomb manufacturers all of their products in Vancouver, B.C., which is how they have turned the outerwear manufacturing process on its head by producing new garments from concept to shelf in record time. The eVent DVL-clad Focus LT Jacket has been mine for a few months now and I’m giving high-5’s all around for this one.
Westcomb Focus LT Jacket Features:
- eVent DVL laminate
- Full-featured hood
- Single Napoleon pocket
- Velcro cuff tabs
- YKK Aquazip zipper
- MSRP: $279.95
There’s always a place for lightweight hardshells in my book. While the Focus LT is ultra-simple, the fabric and overall construction is anything but. Fit is anatomical and spot-on. The anatomical sleeves and right-cut body is ideal in combination with light to medium-weight layering. It’s not super-tight athletic, but it’s by no means baggy, hence why I’ll call it “Right Fit.”
At the core of the Focus LT, you have a trimmed-down minimalist jacket for athletic pursuits in the rain, snow or cold. The size large sample features anatomical sleeves and is right-cut for light to midweight layering. The rest of the jacket is minimalistic with no drawcord at the hem, a lightweight zipper and a single Napoleon pocket. While extra weight was cut out of every square inch of this jacket, I’m glad they didn’t skimp on the hood as it is full-featured and fantastic.
The fabric utilizes eVent DVL for ultra-breathable performance. This textured membrane offers unparalleled breathability when pushed hard. Never does trail running and hardshell go together in the same sentence, but with the Focus LT, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Run as hard as I tried and I couldn’t “out-sweat” this jacket. After extended aerobic activity, all I could ever do was get a little buildup on the seam tape. The fabric itself never had any sweat build-up whatsoever.
While eVent DVL maintains a high level of breathability, it also takes care of rain as well as the best ultralight shells on the market. This caliber of shell is not made to endure an all-day downpour, but on/off extreme weather or light rain/snow just beads right up and falls off as expected. I ran for 30 min in a constant rain and found the shell to be impermeable — not a drop. The hood does a fantastic job of keeping water from entering at the top and the rest of the jacket works perfectly to keep out the elements.
Because the zipper pulls are so well designed, they deserve their own paragraph. Note to Westcomb: use this pulls on every jacket you make. Not to other manufacturers: You should pay westcomb to license these pulls. Yes, they are that good.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to wear at least a long-sleeve base layer under this as bare arms will experience cold next-to-skin and reduce the needed air gap for best performance. Also, the eVent membrane has worn off on the back of the collar from rubbing on my neck. Westcomb should consider placing some light brushed material there to keep the membrane intact.
- eVent DVL shines… breathability is outstanding
- High-output activities (like trail running) are game-on
- Simplistic design gives you just what’s necessary
- Lightweight and packable
- Anatomic cut provides excellent coverage
- The triangular zipper pulls are no doubt the best pulls I’ve ever used
- Designed and made entirely in North America
- eVent laminate is wearing thin on back of collar
- One pocket and one pocket only, sir
- Long-sleeve base layer is mandatory as the jacket sticks to bare skin
The Bottom Line
Westcomb is one of the few remaining outerwear companies who manufacturers everything in North America. With the Focus LT, you get an amazingly-breathable shell that’s ultralight and packable to pull out in a pinch. Trail running, backcountry skiing and cycling are all possible with this lightweight hardshell.
Buy Now: Available at Campsaver.com