Mountain Equipment Bastion
Mountain Equipment get two thumbs up for their innovative and functional Bastion Jacket this 2013/2014 skis season. It's a synthetic jacket with Zonal construction and more hi-tech fabrics and feature than you can shake a ski at. “Gear of the Year” and our congrats to Mountain Equipment from the Backcountry Skiing Canada testing team.
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
The Mountain Equipment Bastion Jacket is a synthetic mid layer that is designed for active pursuits in the mountains where down just won’t do. The Bastion jacket uses the most breathable version of Gore Windstopper which is called ‘Activeshell’. This allows body moisture to leave the shell and avoids that hot and clammy feel you can get with down. Since it’s Gore Windstopper however, the wind is still kept a bay; even the under arm stretch panels are made with Gore Windstopper X-Fast material to allow the jacket to breath but keep cold winds out. Inside the shell there is Mountain Equipment’s proprietary Polarloft Duo insulation in an 80 grams weight.
The cut on the Bastion is large and roomy with a generous dropped back to overlap ski pants and easily fit under a pack belt or climbing harness. The Bastion Jacket can be used over another insulation layer as a competent outer layer or if the weather is cold it’s still fitted enough to be worn as a mid layer.
Overall the design of the Mountain Equipment Bastion Jacket is simple but effective. Two hand warmer pockets and one mesh internal zipped pocket offer up enough storage options while the climbing helmet compatible hood offers up multiple adjustability options and a simple hood flap for storing it out of the way when you would rather have it as a high collar.
As I mentioned in the earlier Mountain Equipment Eclipse Hooded Zip T review, Mountain Equipment is a European brand with its roots in Britain. Since Mountain Equipment products are not available at the retail level in Canada I was happy to find out that they can be easily purchased in US brick and mortar stores or online—click the links at the bottom of this review to see how easy it is.
Polarloft is Mountain Equipment's own brand of insulation and it’s made from a combination of 3D long filament fibres and micro fibres. This combination provides a good warmth to weight ratio while still being able to pack down relatively small. Polarloft is fast drying and not affected by moist environments the same way that down is.
Gore Windstopper Active Shell fabric
This is the lightest version of Windstopper that Gore makes and it’s also the most packable. They claim it is completely windproof and I would have to agree. They also claim that it provides maximum breathability and some water resistance—again, agree on all counts.
Gore Windstopper X Fast Inserts
Under each arm of the Mountain Equipment Bastion Jacket you will find Gore Windstopper X Fast panels with no additional insulation. These panels allow heat to escape more easily than through other parts of the jacket and also provide a greater range of motion for climbing and skinning.
- 2-way YKK front zipper with insulated rear baffle- 2 zipped micro fleece lined hand warmer pockets
- 80g POLARLOFT® insulation
- Active cut with pre-shaped and articulated sleeves
- Gore® Windstopper® Active Shell fabric