Brooks-Range Mountaineering is a company that specializes in lightweight mountaineering and backcountry skiing gear for mountain guides, avalanche forecasters, and ski patrollers, and while they don’t have a huge product line, their gear and apparel are nicely designed and extremely functional.
Take their new Primaloft One-filled Cirro Hoody Jacket, for example, which sports a Pertex Quantum shell, inside and out. It’s a great coat to wear as an active insulation layer when hiking up a winter peak and has a number of features that are better than the Montbell Thermawrap jacket that I currently use for this purpose.
First off, the Cirro has a hood that is large enough to fit over a climbing helmet. The hood opening can be adjusted using dual cord locks which cinch down the elastic band running along the hood brim. In addition, the jacket has a full collar which wraps around your neck and seals in your body heat, even if you’re not using the hood. Elastic sleeve cuffs and a drawstring hem further trap warm air close to your body and reduce the bellows effect when you move.
Next, the side pockets on this coat have zippers. That’s real important to me because I use my jacket pockets as extensions to my backpack. For example, it’s normal for me to wear multiple pairs of winter gloves and hats on a winter hike, and I like to have these close at hand so I can quickly change them when they wet out. Having zippers makes sure they don’t fall out of my pockets, and has always been a concern when I use my Thermawrap jacket, which does not have pocket zips.
In addition to side pockets, the Cirro also has a large external zippered pocket on the left chest, and another hidden chest pocket on the right. Both pockets are large enough to fit hats, balaclavas, glacier glasses, and even ski goggles. I just love the storage.
From a warmth standpoint, this jacket is good to about 20 degrees (F) with a sweater underneath, but it’s not warm enough to replace the big puffy down parka I wear in camp or on subzero summits. Similarly, while the DWR on the Pertex is water resistant, I wouldn’t relay on it without a waterproof shell layer designed for that purpose.
Weight-wise, the Cirro Hoody Jacket weighs 14.8 oz in an XL. In terms of sizing, ignore the sizing information on the Brooks-Range Mountaineering site for his garment because it is just wrong (new product, so I assume it’s just growing pains). The XL fits me just right, with ample room for a shirt and a Patagonia R1 Sweater underneath. For comparison purposes, I have a 46-48 chest and 36 inch sleeves, but of you have questions about the sizing, I’d just call Brooks-Range Mountaineering directly. It is the kind of business where a human actually picks up the phone.
Disclosure: Sectionhiker.com received a complementary Cirro Hoody Jacket from Brooks-Range Mountaineering for this review.
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