The Newest Roswell vs. The Older Version
The new Flylow Roswell Insulated is a revamped version of the Roswell jacket featured in this review. The product designers at Flylow have brought changes mainly to the pockets. They have altered the positions of the pockets, especially the hand pockets, moving them forward and making them accessible from the top, instead of from the side as in the previous version. The intention here was to make them easier to use when wearing a backpack. To go along with the revamp, the newest model also has different colors and graphic design. The price of the new Roswell is $280.
Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the new Roswell shown on the left and the older version we reviewed pictured on the right.
Hands-On Review of the Roswell
The Roswell is the most supple insulated ski jacket we've ever tested.
The Flylow Roswell out for a day of skiing and testing.
With a middle-of-the-road amount of synthetic insulation in a standard cut jacket, the Roswell offers pretty typical insulation values. There are certainly warmer jackets in our test, and some that do not insulate as well. However, the Roswell competes well against the center of the insulating pack. We would recommend this jacket for nearly all US ski resorts. If you are particularly cold, or ski in super-chilly climates, choose something warmer like the Helly Hansen Enigma. If you run hot, or ride in wet and warm zones like the Pacific Northwest, check out our Top Pick wet-weather beater Arc'teryx Modon.
Flylow Roswell in action, Belleayre Ski Resort, New York.
An excellent hood and FlyLow's proprietary waterproof fabric combine to make the Roswell a bomber weather beater. Especially considering the soft feel of the fabric, the protection is significant.
Flylow Roswell's high collar and generous hood cover face and helmet very well.
Past Flylow jackets we tested had excellent, long pit-zips. We find that pit-zips just a few inches longer than normal let in significantly more ventilating air than those of standard lengths. With their now-discontinued BA Puffy it seemed that Flylow had this figured out. However, for some reason, on the Roswell jacket they chose to shorten the zips. It'll vent, but not like on jackets with longer zips.
A simple, removable powder skirt and stretchy thumb-loop wrist gaskets begin and end the list of ski specific features on the Roswell. The skirt is standard issue nowadays, and the thumb loops are becoming more and more popular. Flylow's inclusion of the thumb loops could make the jacket/glove interface more secure and comfortable. However, the gaskets are poorly implemented and leave the jacket uncomfortable in this regard. The Helly Hansen Mission implements the wrist gaiter idea much much better.
Fit and Comfort
Boy, how our testers were torn on the fit and comfort of the Roswell. The cut, fabric, and insulation combine to make an overall fit that is top notch. The super soft shell fabric and generous freeride cut lend a new school feel that isn't much different from your favorite cotton hoodie. Speaking of hoods, Flylow nails it here. Their head piece cinches down on a bare head, or turns with your helmeted noggin equally well. So far, so good, in terms of fit and comfort. However, for testers who wore and value the integrated stretchy wrist gaiters, the Flylow Roswell was actually painful. Every tester, unanimously, after wearing the jacket with thumb gaiters deployed, indicated significant discomfort in the form of a nasty "thumb wedgie" from the wrist gaiters. As compared to others with similar features, like the Eider Revelstoke, the Roswell wrist gaiters are just too short. They apply tension to the sensitive area between thumb and index finger. If you wish for this feature, look elsewhere until FlyLow addresses these poor dimensions.
The proper sleeves are plenty long, but the interior stretchy cuff is just too short for most people. All of our testers complained of a "thumb wedgie" in normal usage.
FlyLow has an interesting style background. They came to the market, initially targeting freeride telemark skiers. This was a tall order. At the time, just ten years ago or so, telemark skiing had quite an identity crisis. Practitioners came from a variety of backgrounds and had a variety of goals. The equipment was in flux with the community even more so. FlyLow, at the time, nailed a style that appealed equally to park rats and granola-eating backcountry dorks. As telemark skiing wanes in popularity, the FlyLow style remains relevant and appealing. For skiers and riders of all backgrounds, the FlyLow Roswell brings easy style to high function.
The Roswell jacket is a solid entry to the general purpose ski jacket category. It will appeal to many.
Among ski jackets on the market, very little separates the majority of products in the middle of the field. The vast majority of products available offer synthetic insulation, solid construction, and a price right around $250-$300. The Roswell sits in this big group. Really, style is what sets it apart from the masses. On the other hand, down insulated jackets perform better and last longer. For the regular, but not obsessed skier, a jacket like the Roswell is just the ticket. If you'll get out more than 20 days a season, look to a down insulated piece for better long-term value. If you get out less, consider something like our Best Buy winner The North Face Vortex Triclimate.
Ski jackets are not only used for skiing. Here, lead editor presses the Flylow Roswell into duty for routine winter tasks.
We have always liked FlyLow gear. They make stylish clothing that functions. If they tweak the geometry on the cuff gaiters, this could be a contender for an award.