Lightweight and efficient… definitely some of the best attributes for a waterproof and breathable shell. Thick, heavyweight shells are limited in their use to dead of winter or mostly sedentary activity. I prefer the lightweight shell on top of any number of layers necessary for the conditions–fleece, puffy, base layers, vests or any combination gives you options.
I still remember my days as a Boy Scout on Mt. Rainier learning about layering. What I learned then still carries with me to this day. I typically carry a few different layering options in my backcountry ski pack just for the flexibility and safety–you never know when the weather will turn. Having a superlight shell, like the Backcountry.com Stoic Shell, is a no-brainer since it takes up such little room and can protect you in adverse conditions. That said, how did it fare in the Wasatch backcountry?
About the Backcountry.com Stoic eVent Jacket
A very simple shell, the Stoic is a mere 14 oz. of wind and water-repelling bliss. Built with eVent Fabric, the most breathable and waterproof fabric on the market, the Stoic will maintain comfortable temperatures under heavy exertion.
While the sleeves may not be articulated, this jacket is built with 20 carefully-designed panels to ensure an athletic, no-nonsense fit that’s perfect for 4-season comfort.
- eVent Fabric for waterproof performance that still breathes
- Backcountry.com lifetime guarantee
- Velcro sleeve cuff with stretchy Schoeller-like material on opposite side
- Three pockets: 2 handwarmer and 1 napoleon
- Helmet-compatible hood with inner-routed drawcords
- Built in Canada
- Weight: 14 oz.
- MSRP: $339.95
Backcountry.com Stoic eVent Shell Review
First off, let me talk a little bit about eVent Fabrics. I was first introduced to eVent at Outdoor Retailer in 2003 and have been completely blown away ever since. From gloves to shoes, eVent fabric simply raises the waterproof/breathable bar well beyond the reach of other laminate fabrics.
The choice to use eVent is always a little bit of a risk because so many people still don’t know the brand as well as the 500-lb. gorilla alternative. With a few reviews like this one, people should start to take notice.
No question, this jacket breathes well–even without pit zips–and it sheds water with the best jackets on the market. It’s the perfect combination for a backcountry skiing shell because you can wear it longer on the uphill than other jackets but with its light weight, it packs away in a jiffy.
The fit is slim and trim, so don’t plan on wearing an ultra-puffy underneath this shell. I wore a Westcomb Fusion HX Jacket under this jacket (midweight Polartec softshell) and pretty much maxed it out. I’m 5’11” and 175 lbs., so yeah… this jacket is definitely an athletic cut. I happen to like that type of cut, but others might not.
Underneath a ski pack, the Stoic feels comfortable and slipping the pack on/off is super-easy. The only negative is that the handwarmer pockets are impossible to access with a pack on. I would put two large chest pockets on this if it were up to me.
A handful of detractors on this jacket aren’t deal-breakers, but must be noted. It could be just a tad longer or sport grippy rubber to keep the jacket from riding up in the back. I also found the sleeve cuffs inadequate for shorter gloves like the Dakine Blockade. I also had to carefully guide the front zipper to the top every time so it didn’t snag–kinda annoying.
- eVent Fabric breathes much better than anything else on the market
- Super light and packable
- Efficient, minimalist design
- Lightweight, stiff fleece-lined collar stands up in back
- All-season versatility
- Lifetime guarantee
- Front zipper sometimes snags
- Rides up in the back… could be a tad longer
- High price of entry for a house-brand
The Bottom Line on the Backcountry.com Stoic Jacket
I named this in my 2008 Gear of the Year picks and am sticking by that pick. It’s not perfect, but this ultralight shell is so versatile it’s hard to pass up. With eVent Fabric, you’re as breathable as it gets and a lifetime warranty adds peace of mind.
Buy Now: Find Stoic Gear at Backcountry.com
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What size did you review? I’m about the same size as you, and I’m trying to decide between the small and medium size.
Mine was the size Large… not sure if a Medium would allow for any layering underneath. If you’re my same size, I’d go with a Large.