In comparing the whole spectrum of ski jackets available, we carve out sub-categories. We tested three shell-only jackets for 2016-17. As compared to the other two close competitors, the Gear Quantum is the stiffest, heaviest, and beefiest. For no-holds barred protection and almost literal bomb-proofness, check out the Quantum Pro. For more flexible all-around protection, read our review of the Top Pick-winning Norrona Lofoten Gore Tex Pro Shell. Finally, the Outdoor Research White Room is a beefy shell that comes with an unprecedented set of ski specific features.
FlyLow Gear Quantum Pro Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Beefy and loose fitting
Cons: Stiff fabric and limited ski features
Manufacturer: FlyLow Gear
Our Analysis and Test Results
Because skiing happens in a cold environment, we have to comment on the warmth of the jackets we test. Especially because we test jackets across a wide spectrum of insulation, we have to compare them. However, in this version of the review we evaluated three shell jackets. These jackets have no real insulation. In no way should we be calling them "warm." You use a shell jacket like the Gear Quantum or the Top Pick Norrona Lofoten as weather protection while employing separate inner layers for the actual insulation. Among shells, there are slight differences in warmth. The fleecy lining of the Outdoor Research White Room is slightly warmer than the Gear Quantum, while the Norrona Lofoten Gore Tex Pro Shell lighter fabric is less insulating than the Gear Quantum.
A shell jacket like the Gear Quantum is made to resist weather, and nothing else. Whether that weather is atmospherical, in terms of precipitation and wind, or situational as in the wind created by a fast moving skier, the elements are out to strip the warmth and comfort away from you. The super thick, three-layer laminated, proprietary "Intuitive" fabric, sewn together with healthy seam allowances and taped covers, protects a Quantum Pro wearer from the rowdiest of mountain weather. The hood is huge and the zippers are secure. The only thing we wish for, in terms of weather protection, is that this contender had the interior cuff gaiters of the Norrona Lofoten.
All the shell jackets we tested have pit-zips with no mesh backing. In extensive testing, we have found that the mesh that covers many of the open vents on other jackets inhibits air flow enough to significantly limit the value of the vents. Wide open vents like those on the Gear Quantum and the Norrona Lofoten are the most effective. The Outdoor Research White Room takes it a step further, with wide open vents that open - starting on the user's chest - for greatest airflow.
Across the market, it seems that the most feature-rich ski jackets are also those that are insulated. The FlyLow Quantum validates this observation, with precious few ski specific features. In comparison, the Outdoor Research White Room jacket is a refreshing departure from convention with nearly a full suite of ski features. The pockets on the Gear Quantum are effective, and the option to snap to something like the FlyLow Gear Baker Bib pants is much appreciated. Many won't even miss things like a goggle wipe, insulated hand warmer pockets, or pass pocket.
Fit and Comfort
Our size medium lead test editor found the Quantum Pro to be the most loose fitting jacket in the test. There is plenty of room underneath for as much insulation as you would need in the most extreme ski conditions. It must be noted that, for a given level of insulation, a one-piece jacket like the Arc'teryx Macai or Spyder Leader will be more comfortable and will offer a greater range of motion than a layered system involving something like the Quantum Pro shell and under layers.
The loose fit and muted colors of the Quantum Pro will appeal to a certain segment of the population. The burly, stiff fabric gives structure even when the jacket is worn without thick under-layers.
As part of a comprehensive layering system, the FlyLow Gear Quantum Pro is an excellent choice for a dedicated, hard-charging ski resort rider. For the burliest of conditions, layer whatever you need underneath and find all the protection you'd ever want.
This competitor is the least expensive dedicated shell jacket in our review. For someone assembling a full ski wardrobe or someone that prefers a layered system, the Quantum is a great value. Interestingly, for the more casual user, one can get the Best Buy Columbia Whirlibird Interchange for half the price. And the Whirlibird even includes a shell and insulating liner. Even the well-made and warrantied Patagonia SnowShot 3-in-1 is less expensive than the FlyLow and offers the additional insulating layer as well.
Certain hardcore users like layered systems. For those users, the Quantum Pro is a beefy, all-conditions shell that will cover all you need to protect.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Quantum Pro pairs just right with they FlyLow Baker Bibs.
— Jediah Porter