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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Canada Goose Canyon Shell Jacket > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

CANADA GOOSE CANYON SHELL JACKET
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
May 23, 2015

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 64
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Canada Goose
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.canada-goose.com
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 18 oz (510 g) Medium
Sizes Available: 2XS to 2XL
Size Reviewed: Medium
Colors Available: Torch/Mid Gray, Aurora Green/Altitude Blue, Tundra Blossom/Arctic Dusk, Black & Altitude Blue/Pacific Blue
Color Reviewed: Black

Other details:

* Canada Goose rates this jacket as "lightweight" for active pursuits 32 to 23 F (5 to -5 C)
* Materials according to the interior tag is nylon and polyurethane laminate with a nylon tricot backing
* Care instructions from interior tag: Wash and dry separately inside out with all zippers, velcro, snaps and other closures secured closed. Use cold water, gentle cycle and hang to dry. Do not use fabric softener. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
Wearing the Canyon Shell in Twin Lakes,
Wearing the Canyon Shell on Independence Pass

FIELD USE CONDITIONS & PERFORMANCE

Over the winter months, I continued to backpack/hike and snowshoe as much as possible. I spent most of my time in the south central region of Colorado that I call home. Mostly, I hiked in the mountains of Fremont County, including the Wet, Fremont and Cooper Mountain ranges. This area's terrain runs the gamut of evergreen forests, to grassy plains to high desert rock and dirt/mud (as the moisture or lack thereof dictates).

I also spent some time snowshoeing in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and a wonderful week in the snow in Twin Lakes, Colorado, snowshoeing in and around the Colorado Trail. These two areas are environmentally similar to my usual haunts but had way, way more snow.

It's been a strange year for weather, so early on, winter was mild but snowy; then it became very bitter cold and snowy, to mild temperatures, to downright warm. All this in the time span of November 2014 to March 2015. As I write this, it's early May 2015 and it's been raining almost every day for the past two weeks and I'm back to wearing long-sleeved base layers along with wind and rain jackets! Wacky Weather!

Over these 5 months, I estimate I've covered 40 miles (60 km) backpacking/hiking/snowshoeing and walking.

I've been wearing the Canada Goose Canyon Shell on almost every chance I've gotten when playing out in the snow this past winter as well as on local hikes down our dirt roads and bushwhacked paths whenever it's been windy. The Canyon is very functional! Let me explain why.

First off, the Canyon Shell really does protect me from getting chilled from the windy conditions I often encounter. Usually the wind is a "dry" wind, but that doesn't make it any less cutting. I truly can tell the difference between the Canyon and some of my other less impermeable shells. Even when it was in the double digit minus temps on our Christmas snowshoeing trip to Twin Lakes, Colorado (altitude 9200 ft/2800 m +), my torso remained warm even while my face was numb.

In the colder temperatures - well below freezing - I usually wore a base layer and either a lightweight down vest or a full-blown synthetic soft-shell jacket. When it was above freezing and/or I was wearing a heavy pack and "working" hard, I'd peel off the mid-layer and just use the Canyon solo. Even then, sometimes, I would find the need to un-zip to cool off. If I were to suggest any changes to the Canyon, I'd humbly suggest underarm zips for venting. However, with the front center zipper lowered, I was usually good. The lowest temperature I ventured out in while wearing the Canyon Shell was -20 F (-29 C) and the warmest temperature I was comfortable and not sweating while hiking was 35 F (2 C)

The body fit of the Canyon Shell is perfect for my purposes. It is trim enough to keep me from looking like the Michelin Man yet roomy enough for multiple layers. Most of the time, I wore a heavyweight wool base layer and a lightweight down vest, but there were a few night-time snowshoes when I wore a soft-shell jacket under the Canyon as well. I was still able to zip the jacket though it was a pretty close fit. I loved the versatility of this as I was able to layer as needed. I have some jackets that barely tolerate my down vest and certainly are too tight for anything more. Even fully bundled up, I found full mobility in the sleeves' range of motion.

The cuffs of the sleeves are long, almost down to my fingertips with the front of the cuff rounded and longer than the back. This was great when not wearing gloves or mittens and the soft fleece interior of the cuffs was a welcome treat for my often cold-chapped hands. The cuffs are adjustable via Velcro tabs but to be honest, I never used them as the cuffs' openings are very narrow as it is. As a matter of fact, unless I was wearing my thinnest thermal gloves, I could not get the Canyon over them and yet most of my gloves and mittens would not fit over the cuffs. I think I need new gloves!

Canada Goose thoughtfully put the same soft fleece lining that is in the Canyon's cuffs on the front collar of the jacket. This was wonderful on the occasions I had the shell zipped right up to my neck. As stiff as the standup collar is, I am so grateful to have that softness of the fleece against my neck! Which brings me to the - ah- generously sized attached hood. The hood is great for a hard ski helmet but since I long since have given up downhill skiing (I'd kill someone or myself with my vision!), the hood is ridiculously big and covers most of my face UNTIL I cinch it up via the convenient barrel locks in the front and back of the hood. Then I am snug and dry no matter the weather!
Hood unadjusted
Luke, I am your Mother!
Hood adjusted properly
I can SEE!

There are two super big front pockets with zippers easy enough and zipper openings big enough for my bulkiest gloves to manage. I generally would stash my small camera in one and my cell phone in the other along with tissues, lip balm and my car keys securely in place with the interior key clip in the left pocket. There is an additional pocket in the interior left front of the Canyon Shell and this is advertised as a media pocket. I have to admit it looked at the pocket a couple of times and wondered where the media port was. Duh! I finally found it disguised as a cut in the rubber-like Canada Goose emblem on the pocket! Clever! I have to confess that I never used the media port though. While I have sometimes carried my cell phone in the interior pocket for extra protection from the elements, I never use earbuds when enjoying the outdoors. I like the silence of nature!

The above features are nice but what I was most pleased with is the super wind protection the Canyon Shell provides. It's fantastic! I mean, really! At no time did I ever feel the even a hint of a breeze coming through the shell. There were a couple of hikes on unprotected mountain ridges where we clocked the wind gusts at over 20 mph (32 km/h) and while I could feel my thighs chilling out, my face burning and my toes and fingers almost without feeling, my core, covered by the Canyon Shell remained warm. An advertising promise fulfilled! Yay!

STARRING ATTRACTIONS

1.) Fits great over a base layer and heavy mid-layer.
2.) Keeps me dry in all cold wet weather conditions short of heavy rain.
3.) Fantastic wind protection!
4.) Neat-looking as well as functional.

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

1. Hood is way too big for me since I don't use it with a hard ski helmet.
2. Need gloves that will go over the cuff rather than under cuff.

SUMMARY

It's getting on to springtime now and I probably will be soon moving the Canyon Shell into my gear storage closet to await next winter's adventures. But when the winds start a'blowing again, the Canyon will be right back hanging front and center in my hall closet, ready to keep me warm and dry during my favorite time of year doing my favorite things; hiking, backpacking and snowshoeing. With all its great features, like the big pockets, multiple adjustments for warmth (or cooling down a bit) and that wonderful bit of fleece at my neck, the Canyon has become one of my favorite outwear items. And that's in addition to its main purpose, stellar protection for the not-so-nice winter elements.

So happy the Canyon found its way into my backpacking clothing system!

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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