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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Canada Goose HyBridge Jacket > Test Report by Ben Mansfield
Canada GOose HyBridge Jacket
Canada Goose HyBridge Jacket
17 December 2010
The front, back, and inside of the HyBridge Jacket
The Canada Goose HyBridge Jacket is a down and soft shell hybrid jacket that puts the down where I want it (primarily my chest and back) and uses a PolarTec softshell material for places that insulation doesn't make as much sense, like in the arms and shoulders. Canada Goose calls this concept of targeted insulation "Thermal Mapping Technology." It's a great idea - the down beneath my backpack's shoulder straps gets so compressed that it's insulating capability is diminished anyway. And not having overstuffed down sleeves means that I look less like a marshmallow and feel like I have a little more natural range of motion.
Canada Goose didn't stop at Thermal Mapping Technology with the HyBridge jacket, however... this thing is packed with features. As an added bonus, the features are meaningful and not simply marketing gimmicks. First off, Canada Goose is famous for their down outerwear, and they use top-notch 750 fill-power Canadian Hutterite white duck down in the HyBridge jacket. The other thing to note is that Canada Goose sources their down from a company that does not harvest its feathers from live birds.
The softshell material Canada Goose uses is high quality as well. I'm a big fan of Polartec, and the HyBridge jacket uses a blend of 80% Polyester and 20% Polartec Power Shield O2 material with a durable water repellent finish for the soft shell portions, which cover the shoulders and arms. The shell that contains the down is ripstop nylon, also with a durable water repellent finish. The Power Shield O2 serves to block the majority of wind while still allowing the jacket to breathe. It also feels like it will be relatively resistant to tear and abrasion. The lining behind the down covered portions of the HyBridge jacket is a really soft material made from recycled polyester, with a weave that is down proof so that the jacket doesn't leak feathers. It also has a durable water repellent finish. Behind the soft-shell portions of the HyBridge is a really soft fleece material.
The down-filled portion of the jacket covers the chest and back areas, and is quilted in a square pattern to keep the down in place. It doesn't feel bulky or overstuffed, presumably due to the high quality down and its strategic placement.
The sleeves of the HyBridge jacket are articulated at the elbows via a couple of sewn-in darts. They also have an elastic cuff which is recessed just slightly so that the softshell portion covers much of the elastic. The sleeves also have a pair of reflective stripes around each bicep to enhance visibility at night. The hem around the waist is also adjustable, which allows me to tighten it down to seal out wind and cold.
From top to bottom:
The HyBridge jacket also has a pair of zippered pockets on the outside, as well as an inner pocket that secures with a hook-and-loop closure and is sized about right for a spare hat or maybe a pair of goggles. The outside zipper pockets are lined with the nylon shell material on one side (facing out) and a soft fleece material on the inside (closest to my body). Speaking of zippers, the full-length double front zipper feels pretty robust, and is backed up by a storm flap to limit wind coming through the zipper. The top zipper of the front zipper pair has a well-sized pull, as do the side pocket zipper pulls.
Canada Goose offers the HyBridge jacket in men's and women's styles. The men's model comes in a size range from small to extra, extra large. This covers a chest size range from 34 to 51 inches (86 to 130 cm). I normally measure around a 42 inch (107 cm) chest, so I opted to test the men's large. The manufacturer calls the cut of the HyBridge jacket "Slim Insulated." There are also three color choices in the men's model - black, red, and mid grey.
Several tags are sewn into the lower left side seam of the jacket. Use and care instructions are printed here, and I was surprised to see that machine washing is allowed, albeit in a front-loading washer only. The instructions also suggest line drying, no bleach, no ironing, and no dry cleaning.
Another tag inside the jacket is a quality assurance tag from the Down Association of Canada, basically certifying that Canada Goose used good quality down. A hang-tag accompanying the jacket gave a little more detail on the meaning. Basically, it's a certification of origin (Canada, from Feather Industries), a statement that it's hypo-allergenic and lab tested and exceeds Canadian and international standards for cleanliness.
Canada Goose offers a lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship for all of their garments. Like many manufacturers, they don't cover damage from wear and tear, negligence, and the like. They process their warranty work through the original retailer.
I was super excited when the HyBridge jacket showed up. I immediately unpacked the jacket and pulled it on, only to discover that it was a little tighter than I expected. I'm used to technical clothing being a little slimmer in cut, but this felt a bit too slim. Taking the jacket off, I realized I was wearing a size medium, not the large that I had requested. After a little more investigation, I noticed that the packing slip indicated a large jacket being packed, and the outer plastic wrap that covered the jacket had a sticker that indicated a size large, but the jacket inside that plastic was a medium, as indicated by the sewn-in tag, the hang tag, and how poorly it fit me.
At this point I was pretty disappointed, as I was planning a backpacking trip the very next weekend with temperature forecasts well below freezing, even during the day. It would have been the perfect situation in which to try out the HyBridge. I called the customer service number on the Canada Goose website, and was answered by a machine that indicated higher than normal call volumes due to the holiday season. I was then transferred to a voice mail box, where I left a message summarizing my situation.
A day or two later I also sent an email to Canada Goose customer service via a form on their website. I got a prompt reply within a few hours from a real person that indicated that I should manage my return through the retailer from whom I purchased the jacket. Seems reasonable, but due to the fact that I received this jacket through BackpackGearTest.org, I had to use some alternate channels to get the jacket swapped.
Outside of the sizing issue, however, I'm still really excited about this jacket. I even contemplated taking the size medium with me on my trip, but I didn't want to unfairly evaluate a jacket that wasn't my size. I also didn't want to use a jacket in the field that I would likely be exchanging for size.
Thankfully, I did wind up receiving a replacement just in time to take the correct size large with me on my trip, so I'll be able to include that experience in my field report that I'll post in a few months.
The quality and construction of the jacket is top notch. All seams are finished well, and stitching is even throughout the jacket. I was particularly interested in seams where the down portions and the softshell portions meet, and these seams are really professional as well.
17 March 2011
The Canada Goose HyBridge jacket has kept me warm on three different backpacking trips this winter, and has been in my pack or on my back for a few additional day hikes. I've had a lot of cold hiking this winter, so the HyBridge has been well used (even crucial) on all of these trips.
The Canada Goose HyBridge Jacket keeping me warm
The trip for which I was rushed a larger size HyBridge (see my initial report) turned out to be really cold. We went to the Allegheny National Forest for a four night, three day trip on a trail that was buried under 12 - 18 inches (30 - 45 cm) of snow. We enjoyed the high temperatures during the day of only about 20 F (-6 C) because at night it was much colder.
The two other backpacking trips I took were also to the Allegheny National Forest (I love that place, and I can get there within a reasonable drive) and were both normal weekend trips of three days and two nights. Temperatures were still quite cold on both of these trips, topping out at about 30 F (-1 C). On one of these two trips I encountered some falling snow, but otherwise my outings were precipitation-free.
In addition to backpacking, I have worn the Canada Goose HyBridge jacket for three different day hikes, and a few non-backpacking uses (like taking the kids sled riding, skiing, shoveling the driveway, etc.). Counting up only the trail days I've worn the HyBridge jacket for 12 days of hiking, and also used it to supplement the insulation of my sleeping bag on 8 cold winter nights.
The Canada Goose HyBridge jacket is amazing. During the longest, coldest trip that I took, I wore a winter-weight base layer only under the HyBridge jacket when hiking during the day, and was very comfortable. I didn't have any issues getting cold while I was moving, nor did I get over-heated when climbing uphill or otherwise exerting. The down panels surrounding my core seemed to be placed just right. Thanks to the soft-shell panels on my sides and arms, the jacket breathed quite well on warmer days when I did start to perspire.
Some days I wore a shell over the HyBridge to protect against snow or block wind
On very windy days the soft-shell sleeves did let some cold air in that would give me a bit of a chill, so on some of those days I'd add a lightweight wind and waterproof shell on top of the HyBridge. This configuration would do the trick quite well, and kept me very snug.
I have to say that I am also constantly concerned with getting the down wet, even though the jacket has a DWR coating, and so at the sight of the slightest snow, mist, or rain I usually pull a shell on top of the HyBridge. On a few occasions, particularly while day hiking where wet down is less of a problem, I just let the DWR do its job. In these cases it worked fine and produced tiny beads of water which eventually ran off - keeping both me and the jacket dry. I probably don't need to be as persnickety about it as I have been.
When I would stop for a lunch break I would often pull on another mid-layer between my base layer and the HyBridge jacket so that I wouldn't get too cold. At the end of the day I would change into a fresh, dry base layer, add a mid-layer, and then put the HyBridge back on. These three layers were sufficient to keep me warm while making dinner and setting up camp. For sleeping on cold nights I either used the base layer and mid-layer or the base layer and HyBridge jacket inside of my 20 F (-6 C) rated sleeping bag.
The minor details of this jacket make it really stand out. The zipper pulls, for example, are large enough to be used while wearing gloves but not so big as to be in the way. The collar zips up nice and high and covers my neck all the way up to my chin when fully zipped, but without abrading my face or neck. The side pockets are located high enough so as to be out of the way of my hip belt when wearing a backpack. The articulated elbows, and the elastic cuff ensure that my wrists stay covered when when reaching or stretching. The HyBridge does not bunch or ride up under my hip belt and is long enough so that even when not wearing a pack it covers my back when I bend over. The cinch around the waist has been very useful on really cold days - it pulls the jacket in tight to my body and keeps wind and cold out.
I'm constantly impressed with the quality construction of this jacket. It looks like the day it arrived and has suffered no abrasions, snags, scuffs, loose threads or pulling seams. I have also not noticed any leaking feathers from the jacket. I will say that I'm careful to protect the ripstop nylon shell, which is holding back the down, from thorns and similar perils.
I have not had the need to wash the HyBridge jacket just yet. It still smells relatively fresh, with an ever-so-slight campfire fragrance. It also doesn't have any dirt marks or stains.
Long Term Report
21 May 2011
Long Term Observations
Loving the Canada Goose HyBridge Jacket
Tracey Ridge is situated, as might be expected from the name, on a ridge. It's actually a trail system or many interconnected side trails that run up and down the side of a few small mountains. Down in the valley is the Allegheny Reservoir, a fairly large body of water that gets heavy use in the summer time but has minimal visitors in the colder seasons. I mention all of this because in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees the wind coming off the reservoir can be quite intense, which was my experience when I was there. This really reinforced for me the need to wear a windproof layer over the HyBridge Jacket, particularly because of the wind coming through the sleeves.
As far as durability is concerned, the HyBridge jacket has held up really well. I still haven't noticed any feathers leaking out, nor any snags or any other marks anywhere on the jacket. The zippers are all still smooth and easy to operate, and the DWR coating has continued to bead up any water that finds its way onto the outside surface. I've continued to be careful not to expose the HyBridge to extreme precipitation, opting instead for a waterproof shell on top. I'm not sure this is necessary, and have no reason to think that the DWR coating wouldn't do its job, but with anything down-filled I'm always a little extra cautious.
I love this jacket. It's warm, comfortable, and breathes well. If I want to take it off it squishes into whatever spare space is available my pack. The cut is perfect for me and it fits well as an outer layer or under a shell. The zipper pulls are easy to use, the pockets are in the right place, and the collar is quite comfortable even when fully zipped.
I don't have any issues with this jacket at all. If I had to pick one thing, I suppose I'd say that I wish it was a little lighter weight - at over 1.5 lbs (0.7 kg) it's not a featherweight (pardon the pun). However, I wouldn't give up anything about it to reduce the weight. I'll just carefully consider when I need to bring it along (really cold trips) and when it might be best left behind (shoulder season trips) in favor of a lighter and less warm option.
At the end of the day, I find myself hoping that my trips will be frozen ones so that I can bring this jacket along. While my hiking friends pile on layer after layer and look like overstuffed pillows, I'm comfortable and warm and have a full range of motion. I can't wait until the next time I can take the Canada Goose backpacking.
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