Price: $Frontier Down Jacket, $269 | Hyperspace Jacket, $219Buy Here
If you’re planning on doing any evening skinning to watch the sunset while you enjoy a dinner of backcountry fondue and hot wine before a moonlit ski out, you’re going to need a good touring layer that can manage your changing body temperature.
La Sportiva has introduced two new touring layers this season, the Hyperspace Jacket for men and the Frontier Down Jacket for women, that are light, warm layers made for touring. Both pack down small to take up less room in your pack, yet are also breathable enough to wear even when you’re exerting extra energy.
For women, the Frontier Down Jacket ($269) offers a bit more insulation with 700-fill goose down. I chanced it one night in Utah last winter by attempting to wear this layer for the skin up and the ski down. I was surprised how breathable the jacket was.
I got warm and had to unzip, but since the air temperature was so cold, my body temperature was pretty balanced. However, after spending an hour standing still on the summit before the ski down, I was wishing for another layer on top to keep me warm. The snug hood was appreciated when the winds started to pick up.
The Frontier Down Jacket is meant to fit close to the body, yet I found my usual medium size to be a snug fit in the torso and would consider sizing up to a large. If you’re comfortable in La Sportiva’s Euro fit, you’ll be fine in your usual size.
The range of motion in the arms is adequate and there’s a rubberized band inside the bottom hem of the jacket that sticks to my pants and helps to keep the jacket from riding up when I’m reaching forward or moving my arms. It’s a great detail that keeps the jacket in place.
The sleeves have some extra length to them too, so you won’t be getting any exposed skin on your wrists as you move through the mountains, and there’s a roominess to the upper sleeve that will be appreciated by women with buff arms.
The Hyperspace Jacket for men ($219) is a slim-fitting puffy insulated with Primaloft Silver Active fill designed to trap heat against the skin without lowering breathability. Water beads off of the nylon outer. For windy days, wet days, or temperatures below 30 degrees, we recommend layering this piece under a hard shell.
While the slim fit felt a bit uncomfortable to us first (and we thought about sizing up), the cut is part of the functional design of this jacket. It helps to reduce cold air pockets against the skin and kept us warm on the descent. Four-way stretch fabric under the arms and around the shoulder ensure full range of motion, even in this narrow package weighing just 16 ounces.
We did get a little back sweat in this jacket on the uphill, but not enough to want to take it off. Thanks to the anti-bacterial odor control technology called Polygiene, we didn’t have to wash it right away either, and so far no one has told us we stink.
Bells and whistles on this jacket are almost nil, save for two zippered hand pockets (not big enough for storing skins) and a zippered pocket inside the chest. Detail we love: the visored hood that snugs up tight for the ski down. Detail we miss: gaiters to keep it in place.