the time of the field testing my area got very strange weather. Very
little snow and extreme temperatures ranging from record (or near
record) lows to abnormal highs. For example after a period of record
low temperatures making outings dangerous I finally managed an
overnight trip up in the Washington Cascades and the temperatures never
got below freezing. Go figure.
- 1 overnight snowshoeing trip – Washington Cascades (5500’/1700 m)
- 7 days of Nordic Skiing (Ski Patrol) – White Pass Washington
- 1 day of Nordic Skiing (for fun) – White Pass Washington
- 1 day hike – Bear Canyon, Eastern foothills, Washington Cascades
- 1 day hike – Cowiche Canyon, Yakima Washington
- 5 day family (holiday) trip to Cancun Mexico
mentioned in the Initial Report I originally ordered the wrong size, so
I contacted the distributer and had no trouble sending mine back for a
replacement, and the replacement fit very well.
would like to say that this jacket is warm and comfortable. As such, in
addition to the above use, it has become my everyday jacket, and by
that I mean I have worn it just about every day since receiving it
(with the obvious exception of during my trip to Mexico). In the
morning it is the jacket I reach for. Being warm and comfortable while
not bulky, makes it ideal for going out to sweep snow and/or scrape ice
off of my truck. And since it takes most of my drive to work before my
truck warms up, a warm comfortable jacket makes the drive a noticeably
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, during
my one overnight outing so far the temperatures hovered just a little
above freezing the entire trip. I departed the trailhead late in the
morning, went a short way along the trail before turning to climb a
steep hill (about 50-60 degree slope) up to a peek that looked promising.
I was hoping for some nice views but the tree cover was too dense for
that. Soon after leaving my vehicle I had to remove the Flux jacket due
to becoming overheated. After setting up camp I was damp (mostly from
the effort of the climb, but also due to high humidity) and started
getting cold so I put on the Flux jacket which I wore until I went to
bed. For my Ski Patrol duties I mostly carried the jacket in my pack or
left it in the Yurt. The jacket is far too warm for Nordic Skiing.
However my duties result in frequent stops and periods of inactivity.
This is where the jacket comes in handy. It compresses small enough to
fit in my larger patrol pack (it is too large to fit in my lumbar pack)
so that is where I keep it while I am skiing, ready for use when I need
One feature of the jacket is that it stuffs into one of its
own pockets and can be used as a pillow. This is nice but there are two
problems with this. First is the material. The material in the pocket
is the same as on the outside of the jacket, as such it is very slick.
The second is that the shape is a bit odd, kind of a trapezoid shape.
These combine to make its use as a pillow poor at best. For example,
during my trip to Mexico I brought the jacket as I figured it would
come in handy (3 flights and 2 very long layovers). My daughter used it
as a blanket during one of the layovers and I tried to use it as a
pillow during the longer flight home (I was rather sick at the time
with some sort of stomach bug), but its shape and slick surface made
that impossible. Between the shape and slippery surface, no matter what
I tried I could not make it work. Okay, so that is kind of a petty
complaint, but I have not found any significant problems with this
have one other concern that I hope will be unfounded. Since receiving
the jacket I have found a number of loose threads. When I discover them
I make it a point of not pulling on them but wait until I can use a
lighter to trim them. Having a few stray threads is not necessarily a
problem but since I keep finding new ones I worry about the durability.
This may be nothing but it is something I will be paying close
attention to during the rest of the testing.
The insulated hood
of this jacket is very well made. While it does not allow as much head
movement as a separate piece, the rear drawstring tightens the hood
around my head so that it fits like a hat and does turn at least part
of the way without blocking my view. I really like that detail. The
hood also contains a stiffening wire in the brim. That has worked well
when it is snowing to keep the snow out of my face and eyes.
I said above the jacket is very warm and very comfortable. I can’t
stress that enough. The pockets are very large and well situated so
that they are accessible even when wearing a backpack. The insulated
pockets mean that I can actually use the hand warmer pockets to warm my
hands without losing a bunch of heat from inside the jacket. Also,
since I have a bad habit of forgetting to close the zippers on my
pockets I don’t have to worry about that with this jacket. The flip
side to this is that aside from the main front zipper there is no way
to ventilate the jacket so when I start to overheat my only option is
to remove it.
I would like to conclude this Field Report with a
visual. Imagine if you will a Nordic Ski Patroller. It is the end of a
day spent shoveling snow and skiing all of the trails. He is tired and
damp from perspiration, and trying to finish the afternoon sweep of the
trails. The final stretch is directly into a strong wind with snow
stinging his face and snow bombs dropping from the tree with uncanny
accuracy. Upon arriving at the parking lot he strips off his snow
encrusted patrol jacket and puts on the Flux jacket with an audible
sigh. It feels good to be warm and comfortable again.