At the price of the Hybridge Lite Hoody we expected perfection. Though this jacket narrowly missed the mark on perfection, it shot for the moon and didn't crater back to earth. Drab in the way all chic things are, the color options (black or red) for the Hybridge Lite Hoody are city cool and somewhat staid in comparison to recent trends in the outdoor clothing industry.
An athletic (or perhaps hipster skinny) cut looks, feels, and moves like it was made for the mountains, although may not be very well appreciated by those who have skimped on their training runs this month. The arm and body length of the jacket, intentional or not, keep it tucked into a harness and over your wrist when you're climbing. The Hybridge is warm, light, packs away to nothing, and is an excellent addition to a layering system. In short, the Hybridge Lite Hoody was a pleasant surprise, and though it may not be worth selling a kidney or mortgaging your home for, it's worthy of consideration if you're willing shell out the dough for it.
In the following sections, we detail why it scored as well as it did, by describing its performance point by point in the key performance metrics we tested.
This jacket is lightweight and due to its design will function differently than other jackets in this review. Whether you're going to take it ski touring or you bought it to maker the haters jealous and complete your urban survivalist look, this jacket will not keep you as warm as some others by itself. The Tensile-Tech fabric inserts in the sides and sleeves of the jacket that contribute to the comfort and breathability of the jacket also let in the cold, particularly in the form of wind.
The 800 fill-power Hutterite White Goose Down is top quality and responsibly sources, like the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody and The North Face Trevail Hoodie, but there isn't tons of it. This genre of garment relies on two different conditions to be practical: warmer temperatures or physical exertion by the wearer. This jacket is warm but it will also allow you to exert yourself. We found that we particularly love it as a mid-layer, which is unique to a down jacket and the primary reason we give it one of our Top Pick awards for specialized applications. Use it on warmer days or when you're pushing hard in the cold. Five out of 10 points.
Showing the Tensile-Tech fabric inserts that break up the standard down baffles on the Hybridge Lite Down Hoody. These panels form each side and also the undersides of the arms. They are fairly thick, fleecy on the inside, stretchy, and super breathable. This feature certainly makes the jacket colder as an outer layer than others in the test, but greatly increases its breathability, making it a great choice as a mid-layer or for aerobic activities.
With four pockets, big zip pulls, Tensile-Tech fabric inserts, and 10D fabric, we were surprised that Canada Goose managed to keep the weight of this jacket at 12.9 ounces. Even with the Tensile-Tech fabric on the sleeves and side panels, this jacket is easily warmer than the REI Co-op Down Hoodie. The present design with the Tensile-Tech fabric may or may not make it heavier, but it definitely makes it more versatile, and versatility goes a very long way when rating the worth of a jacket. As it was one of the lighter jackets in the review, we gave it 7 out of 10 points for weight.
Canada Goose has yet to jump on the Hydrophobic Down technology wagon and is still relying on a tight 10D outer shell to fend off wet weather. While the shell of the Hybridge will initially bead up water when it gets wet, it will pretty quickly succumb to soaking in anything other than the lightest intermittent rain. This isn't a tremendous surprise and isn't terribly disappointing until you consider the whopping price of the jacket. For the price, you'd kind of expect the individual plumes of down to be hand painted by angels with a DWR polymer coating. It would be awesome if the incredibly high standard of Canada Goose craftsmanship could be combined with the technology that Mountain Hardwear or Marmot is using to treat their down. Six out of 10.
This jacket gets really small when compressed down into its own pocket, the smallest in the review. Think softball or grapefruit small, and it has a clip for attaching it to your harness. Most frequently we stashed it away in a daypack or wore it everywhere we went. It packs away into its own pocket with surprising ease, but treat your down jacket with love and reserve this method of storing/carrying it for ultra-light days when you're not carrying a pack.
Overall the Hybridge lost very little down during testing and it lofted up quickly when taken out of a pack. As it was even smaller than the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded, we couldn't help but award it a perfect score.
The 10 jackets in this year's review stuffed into their own stuff sacks or pockets, with a nalgene bottle for comparison. Left, bottom to top, smallest to largest: Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody, Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, REI Co-op Down Hoody, Outdoor Research Transcendent Jacket. Right, bottom to top: The North Face Trevail Hoodie, some blue jacket we cut from the review (stuff sack), Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, Marmot Guides Down Jacket, Arc'teryx Thorium SV (stuff sack), Western Mountaineering Flash XR (no sack, stuffed into its own hood).
The trim fit of the Hybridge Lite Hoody is just that — trim. If you are not trim because you love donuts or because you are a He-Man, then the size you typically wear may not fit you correctly. Fortunately, sizing up is easy, and some of our donut-loving-He-Men testers found a size large fit perfectly though they typically wore a medium. The Hybridge Lite looks and feels expensive.
It is as pretty as it is practical, and if you just have no choice but to keep it on after you're down from the mountains and you've made it safely to the bar, it will blend in nicely. Some of our testers found it to be a little short in terms of body length, but its shortness wasn't really a fatal flaw like it was on the Western Mountaineering Flash XR. Seven out of 10 points.
This very well made and expensive jacket fits like an under-layer. It is short at the waist as you can see here, and fits very snuggly against the body, without much room to layer beneath, and thus works best under other jackets rather than over them.
For a lightweight, this jacket has a lot going on. Four pockets (two hand warmers and two Napoleon) give you plenty of carrying capacity for smaller essentials. The zippers are all over-sized, great for keeping your hands in your gloves on a cold day. Thumb loops help keep your sleeves in place and your hands a little warmer. A small interior bottle pocket is great for a snack, a small thermos, or an apres ski beer. The jacket also packs away into its pocket and has an attachment point for clipping it to your harness or backpack. The hood is designed to fit over a helmet, but doesn't zip up very high above the chin and leaves the face a little exposed.
The strips of 3M reflective tape on the back of the hood are the only take-it-or-leave-it feature offered on this jacket. Noticeably missing are pull cords for the waist and the hood. Leaving these out helps save weight, and the very trim fit helps prevent extra air from blowing up under the waist, like we found happened on our Western Mountaineering Flash XR, but we still like to have the option of tightening down the waist in a cold wind. Likewise, the gigantic hood fits well over a helmet, but if you choose not to wear one, it would be nice to have the option to tighten things up a bit. Instead you are left feeling like your under-sized head is somehow inferior. Seven out of 10 points.
Two way zippers on the front of the jacket make the harness or belay loop easy to access. Interestingly, designed in Canada, the zipper is on the other side than we are typically used to using.
Dual Napolean style chest pockets can hold a good amount of necessary items, and are easily accessible if wearing a pack or a harness, making this a good option as a climbing layer.
We beg of you, if you buy this jacket, take it to the mountains. Let it keep you warm. Wash it sometimes. Let it earn the inevitable tears and loss of feathers. You will feel infinitely more cool wearing this jacket to the pub after you've spent the day crushing bumps like marshmallows or wallowing eyeball deep in pow. The Hybridge Lite Hoody is a great piece for light and fast alpine climbing, ski touring, hiking, or as part of a big mountain layering system.
The hood on this jacket is large enough to comfortably fit over a climbing helmet, but does not have any provisions to help with adjustment.
If money were no object, we would ask Canada Goose to make us a full body Hybridge Lite suit that we could live in. Because money serves as an impediment to many of our worldly desires, including super swanky Canadian outdoor apparel, we will almost always choose cheaper garments that may not be quite as nice. The Hybridge Lite is an awesome jacket that is warm, versatile, and durable. For all its awesomeness, it's hard to look past the fact that it may not be $595 awesome.
The Hybridge Lite Hoody is the most unique garment in this year's round of tests, and is a down jacket that we think just about anyone would enjoy wearing, as long as you get out into the hills often enough that you work off your love of donuts. It is by far the smallest and trimmest of the jackets we tested, which if you find a size that perfectly fits, ensures top performance as a mid-layer. The Hybridge Lite is the jacket that all of our testers would have taken home with them, except in the end decided that they couldn't because they still needed to pay rent for the month. If money is no object, or you simply want the best, then seriously, invest in this jacket.
The Hybridge Lite Jacket features the Canada Goose patch on the arm, a bit of a hipster throwback way of branding a piece of clothing that grew on us with time. This lightweight jacket was perfect to take the chill off the evening air near Moab, UT.