Westcomb is a small, hard-core outdoor gear manufacturer based in British Columbia, Canada. Their functional outerwear is built in Canada and the guiding principles behind their products have been to provide the most functional and stylish outerwear that will keep you protected and comfortable in all conditions.  They recently won the Backpacker’s Choice for the Specter Hoody and are looking to continue that standard throughout the entire line. Around since 2005, Westcomb continues to utilize top-end fabrics such as eVent®, Polartec® and Schoeller®.

I’ve been impressed with their products since launch and am stoked to have had an opportunity to flog the Westcomb Fusion HX Polartec Jacket.  It’s comfy, it’s cozy and pretty darn functional.

About the Westcomb Fusion HX Jacket

Built from a combination of Polartec® Thermal Pro® and Power Shield® fabrics to provide a combination of  low-bulk insulation and softshell protection from the elements all in one piece. The stretchy and wind-resistant fabric shields you from the bitter cold and keeps everything comfortable with added freedom of movement. One-pull cinch cords button down the lower hem and large front pockets stash your climbing skins or other large items like a water bottle in a pinch.

For 2008, the Fusion HX Jacket won a Polartec Apex Award which is based on innovation, design, style, workmanship, fit and functionality. Here’s how Polartec described this jacket:

Westcomb describes the Fusion as a “hybrid” because of its versatility as either a midlayer or an outerwear jacket. Across the torso, Polartec Thermal Pro provides efficient insulation while Polartec Power Shield on the shoulders provides all-weather protection, durability and breathability. Like any good hybrid car, the Fusion jacket is sure to get a lot of mileage.

More features of the Fusion HX Jacket:

  • Polartec Powershield body and sleeves
  • Polartec Thermal Pro front and back torso
  • Reinforced high-impact areas and high stitch-count construction for durability
  • Laminated forearm and media pockets
  • Two large front pockets suitable for climbing skins
  • Velour-lined collar
  • Weight: 19 oz
  • MSRP: $225

Westcomb Fusion HX Polartec Softshell Jacket Review

Westcomb Fusion HX Softshell Jacket Review

Softshell fleece jackets, like this one, are an essential piece of gear that everyone venturing in the backcountry should own. My old trusty Marmot softshell (built with Polartec) has been used as a mid-layer and outerwear for years. With Polartec Powershield, you get a soft and warm interior mated to a smooth and wind-resistant exterior.  Because the exterior is smooth, it can easily serve as either a midlayer (since it doesn’t bunch up when pulling a shell on top) or as outerwear.

Westcomb’s attention to quality is evident with this jacket. The mixture of both Polartec Thermal Pro and Powershield uses the best of both materials for its warmth and low-profile insulation where needed.

I’ve had a great time this winter using the Fusion HX around town and backcountry skiing. The dual-fabric construction really ups the core warmth, but still remains breathable. With a pack on, the Fusion HX remains comfortable and with the smooth sleeves and shoulders, backpack shoulder straps slip on and off without grabbing.

Under high-output activities (like the uphill skintrack), the Fusion HX worked well while the temps were cold.  But, like any jacket of this type, it got too warm uphill once the sun starts beating down and you’re really working up a sweat.  No worries, it does compact fairly well (not as well as a puffy) for storage in a backpack.

When it’s needed again for the downhill or if the temperatures once again drop, it may be a little damp from perspiration, but it quickly retains plenty of warmth. And, with it’s high wind resistance, it keeps your body warm and toasty when needed.

The large front zip pockets are excellent for storing climbing skins, but other items can feel a little lost inside them. There is another token welded pocket on the sleeve, but I didn’t see any use for it, so it’s kind of useless. A single inner pocket has a headphone port for those addicted to their iPods.

Durability has been excellent thus far with only slight piling on the Thermal Pro front sections where the shoulder strap goes under the armpit, but nothing major. Outside of that, the outer has been highly water-repellent and wind resistant in all conditions.

Good Fusion HX

  • Unlined Polartec Thermal Pro back panel increases breathability
  • Exterior sheds wind and water extremely well
  • Comfortable stretchy fabric
  • Construction quality is evident

Bad Fusion HX

  • Collar diameter not large enough to tuck your chin when it’s really cold
  • Collar height is 1/2″ too tall for comfort when fully zipped
  • One additional, usable exterior pocket would be nice
  • This jacket is hard to find

The Bottom Line on the Westcomb Fusion HX Jacket

A trusty companion on backcountry adventures, the Westcomb Fusion HX is a durable jacket that’s suitable for outerwear or as a mid-layer. I’ve been impressed with the warmth and comfort in mixed temperatures and conditions.  A quality jacket that’s made in North America, this one will last a lifetime.

Buy Now: Search for Westcomb Jackets at Backcountry.com

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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