Ground has quietly been plugging away at building bombproof outerwear, bags and packs since 2002. Ground takes a no compromise approach to building all their products, and they look outside the box for better ways of doing things–even if that goes against the status quo in the industry. First and foremost, the products must be built to actually withstand repeated floggings in the backcountry. Ground customers come to expect high quality and durability and their products deliver.
About eVent Fabrics
By the way, outerwear has come a long way since the invention of Gore-Tex® back in the 1970’s, but you may not know it. That’s because W.L. Gore is trying their darndest to keep competitive products, like eVent Fabrics from consumers like you. eVent Fabrics have been waging a David and Goliath type of a battle to get their share of store shelves and manufacturer’s production facilities overseas. Some companies are catching on and producing eVent outerwear–Ground is one of those companies.
Since we ran into the folks from eVent at Outdoor Retailer in 2003, we’ve been believers in the stuff. Kendall flogged a test jacket for an entire season and loved every minute of it. The stuff just plain breathes and keeps on breathing, whereas Gore-Tex breathes well at first, but doesn’t keep on breathing over time.
Ground Radius Jacket Details
So, back to the review at hand… ahem… the Ground Radius Jacket is best described as the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to ski jackets. It comes with a zip-off hood and zip-out powder skirt for those storm days at Alta, or lightened up by taking off the hood and powder skirt for more athletic backcountry adventures.
The overall construction of the jacket is top notch. It features 2-layer eVent Fabric throughout, fully taped seams, one-handed drawstrings, pockets galore, soft fleece collar liners and a moisture-absorbing inside liner. This jacket leans more towards resort-style skiing, but with eVent, it breathes well enough for even your most athletic backcountry tours. The only hinderance to this jacket in the backcountry is design–like pocket location and excess bulk when wearing a pack. Backcountry skiers want a highly mobile fit without any excess bulk. This jacket becomes a tad bulky under those circumstances.
I took the Ground Radius Jacket out for a handful of backcountry trips and even one quick XC skiing trip to Soldier Hollow, UT. The initial feel of the Radius is comfortable with its articulated sleeves and stretch fabric, which is inserted on both sides of the jacket where the front and back of the jacket comes together. This creates a flexible fit, which is not binding at all.
The only gripe I have of the fit of the Radius was that the sizing is a little off. I typically wear a mens size large jacket, but in Ground, I wear a medium. But, at the same time, the medium fits perfectly everywhere except for sleeve length. The large is way too big overall, so the medium it is. For people to easily order the right size in the Radius and other Ground models, I’d suggest standardizing the sizing a bit to match industry leaders like Marmot, The North Face, Sierra Designs and the like.
Now let’s get to the good stuff… so, how does the Radius Jacket perform when the going gets sweaty? Well, just like every other piece of eVent gear we’ve tested, the Radius Jacket shines when you create your own personal sauna. It’s amazing to me how well this stuff breathes–even under highly aerobic activities, like XC skiing or backcountry touring. I don’t know why more manufacturers don’t use this stuff.
Very few jackets with eVent have pit zips because you simply don’t need them. It ends up being an ego thing, I think, because even though you don’t need them, they are still nice to have.
Overall, the Radius Jacket is a great jacket for those who spend most of their time in-bounds at the resort and who also bring along their own personal saunas. Because this jacket breathes much better than any other competing product on the market, you can charge all day long without soaking yourself in your own perspiration. So, if you are a skier who likes to hike in-bounds or who charges from top to bottom, the Radius Jacket will provide warmth while being one of the most breathable jackets on the market.
Visit GroundWear.com to Search for a Retailer Nearest You.
Just a quick update here. eVent Fabrics have really taken off in recent years, but they are still facing challenges of reaching consumers because many top-notch manufacturers are tied at the hip with W.L. Gore. It’s hard to break those contracts, but at some point consumers need to demand better technology in waterproof/breathable outerwear.
We have tested GoreTex XCR and Pro Shell next to eVent and it’s not even close. eVent jackets typically are built without pit zips because you don’t need them. When you get to the top of the skintrack in an eVent jacket, you have no perspiration buildup inside the shell. Whereas with GoreTex, you’ve got all kinds of buildup. The stuff just plain works!
In a recent news release at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008, REI announced that they will be utilizing eVent Fabrics for a new line of technical outerwear for Fall 2008. Look for more information and hopefully a product review shortly!
Who do you work for?
I work for Glasses.com and own/run FeedTheHabit.com. I’m just shooting straight about the realities of eVent. Since this was published, Gore Active Shell and Polartec NeoShell have come onto the scene as well as Mountain Hardwear’s laminate (slightly-modified eVent), which all performs pretty darn well.
To answer your question… I don’t work for eVent.
For high-output winter activities, there is no comparison to eVent. I have the Ground Extension shell, which is definitely the best shell I’ve owened. For cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, it’s top-notch. You’ll be cool and comfortable while your friends are shedding layers.
No doubt, Billy!
eVent is by far the best-performing fabric for high-octane outdoor activities like backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, trail running, etc. The stuff is money!
Is there an eVent jacket sans hood (or at least zip-off) with an athletic cut along the lines of a Patagonia Lightweight R4/Arcteryx Gamma SV/Cloudveil Serendipity?
Your best bet will be to look at http://www.Westcomb.com. They offer similar products and quality to Arc’Teryx and use eVent Fabrics throughout the line.
They are also available through http://www.Backcountry.com.