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Flylow Vixen 2.1 Review

Stylish and comfortable hardshell optimized for in bounds and lift-served backcountry skiing
Flylow Vixen 2.1
Photo: Flylow
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Price:  $380 List
Pros:  Comfortable, stylish, well feature for skiing
Cons:  Less versatile, heavier
Manufacturer:   Flylow
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 29, 2019
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Weather Protection - 20% 7
  • Mobility - 20% 7
  • Breathability - 20% 5
  • Weight - 15% 4
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 5

Our Verdict

The Vixen 2.1 from FlyLow is a very stylish and comfortable hardshell jacket. It is a little heavier and looser, making it an excellent fit for the ski area, and the occasional lift-served backcountry descent. The features are very thoughtful for use when skiing, with internal pockets to keep phones safe and gloves dry. This jacket does not cross over for climbing purposes, due to a few details like pockets too low to be used if you're wearing a harness or backpack hip belt. But if this jacket suits your ski needs, we think you'll love it, and get lots of compliments.

New Colors Available

The photo above depicts a current color option for the Vixen 2.1. Nothing feature-wise has changed on this jacket since our test period.

September 2019

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Flylow Vixen 2.1
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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $380 List$425 List
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, stylish, well feature for skiingHighly versatile, breathable, lightweightUltralight, breathable, redefines versatility as a very adequate wind shirtHigh quality, lightweight, durable, great valueDurable exterior, functional for a variety of activities
Cons Less versatile, heavierExpensive, still made of lighter and somewhat less durable fabricThin, no pockets, not suitable for high mountain use or severe weatherLess features, somewhat less versatileLess comfortable, less breathable, not ideal for mountain use
Bottom Line Stylish and comfortable hardshell optimized for in bounds and lift-served backcountry skiingRetains an impressive focus on lightweight while introducing key features to make it highly versatileAn excellent ultralight shell jacket for trail running which doubles as a wind breakerA great value; it is light, durable, and useful on many types of adventuresOkay for a variety of tasks, but not ideal for any with reduced breathability and shortchanged features
Rating Categories Flylow Vixen 2.1 Beta SL Hybrid Norvan SL Hoody Arc'teryx Zeta SL -... Marmot Eclipse - Wo...
Weather Protection (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Mobility (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Breathability (20%)
5.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
4.0
Weight (15%)
4.0
7.0
10.0
8.0
6.0
Features (10%)
6.0
10.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
6.0
Versatility (5%)
5.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Flylow Vixen 2.1 Beta SL Hybrid Norvan SL Hoody Arc'teryx Zeta SL -... Marmot Eclipse - Wo...
Measured Weight 18.5 oz 11.6 oz 4 oz 9.5 oz 12 oz
Category Mid weight, regular fit Light weight, athletic fit Mid/ light weight, regular fit Mid wieght, regular fit Athletic fit
Length of back, from base of neck to bottom 29 in 26 in 26.00 27 in 26 in
Material Stretch Stormshell Intuitive N42p GORE-TEX fabric with Gore C-KNIT backer technology N40r GORE-TEX fabric with PACLITE Plus product technology Gore-Tex ShakeDry 40-denier ripstop (N40r) GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus Membrain Eco 2.5 Lamination 100% Recycled Nylon Solution Dyed Plainweave 3.4 oz/ yd
Pockets 2 hand, 1 chest, 2 internal 2 hand None 2 hand 2 hand
Helmet Compatible Hood Yes Yes No No Yes
Harness and Backpack Strap Compatible No Yes Not advised Yes Yes
Draw cords 3 hood, 2 waist 3 hood, 2 waist 1 hood 1 hood, 2 waist 3 hood, 1 waist
Adjustable Cuffs Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro No Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro
Pit Zips Yes Yes No No Yes
Two-Way Front Zipper No No No No Yes
Warranty Policy Limited lifetime warranty - under warranty until fabric/construction is visibly worn out Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired by Marmot's discretion

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Vixen is best for skiing, but always comfortable. Notice the...
The Vixen is best for skiing, but always comfortable. Notice the zippers fall under the harness here.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Weather Protection


The Vixen is made of a burly 3-layer waterproof fabric, effectively keeping snow and rain out, as well as blocking wind. This is on the thicker end of jackets in this review, making it more optimal for winter activities, especially skiing. The jacket is longer, has a storm-ready, adjustable, helmet-compatible hood, and cinches at the hood and hem to keep snow out when the powder is deep.

Pit vents help you shed heat in a hurry.
Pit vents help you shed heat in a hurry.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Mobility


The Vixen is made with just the right amount of stretch fabric to make it super comfortable and easy to move in. We enjoyed wearing this jacket, as the feel was almost like a sweatshirt, except it's waterproof. This jacket is longer, which keeps the jacket from riding up when you're twisting and turning while skiing or snowboarding.

Breathability


It's on the thicker side of jackets in this review, making it feel warmer. It is optimized for snow sports like resort skiing and snowboarding, but it will perform well for a few lift-accessed backcountry laps as well by opening the pit vents.

Weight


At 18.5 ounces for a size small, this is one of the heaviest jackets in this review. The Mammut Nordwand, with its powder skirt still zipped in, is only an ounce heavier and is one of the most mountain-savvy jackets we have ever tested. As such, the Vixen does not jump out to us as a backcountry-ready jacket where lightweight is a premium. Instead, this is a great resort hardshell, and it's super comfortable and stylish for that purpose.

Features


The Vixen has a great feature set for resort skiing. The helmet-compatible storm hood is adjustable in three places and the bottom hem in two.

The internal pockets are optimized to keep your phone dry during a...
The internal pockets are optimized to keep your phone dry during a day of skiing at the resort, and the glove drop pocket is always appreciated.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

It has pit vents and two side hand pockets at a nice angle to warm your hands (but would fall under a harness or hip belt, another clue this jacket is not optimized for the backcountry). There is a spacious external chest pocket and two internal mesh pockets, a zippered one big enough for a phone and a large one that will hold your gloves and keep them warm and dry.

The thumb loop and internal cuff give this jacket an extra cozy feel.
The thumb loop and internal cuff give this jacket an extra cozy feel.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Durability


The Vixen is made of durable and stretchy three-layer shell material. It is soft to the touch but a little bit stiffer; it's an excellent balance of qualities in our opinion because a slightly stiffer fabric tends not to snag as easily, thereby improving its durability. For impressive durability, check out any jacket by Arc'teryx or the Mammut Nordwand.

Versatility


The Vixen is optimized for inbounds skiing and snowboarding. Due to the low pockets, thicker fabric, and heavier weight, this is not the best hardshell for backcountry or all-mountain use. Still, if your uphill efforts are mostly lift-served, this is an excellent, comfortable, durable, and very stylish hardshell jacket.

Value


This jacket is a little pricey for the weight and reduced versatility. That said, if in-bounds skiing is your main gig, and you do it a lot, and you like the feel, features, and look of this jacket, we are sure you'll love it and that it will hold up for a whole lot of turns.

Conclusion


The FlyLow Vixen 2.1 is optimized for in-bounds skiing and snowboarding with a feature set to match. We found the slightly stretchy material to be very comfortable and soft to the touch so that it almost felt like we were wearing a sweatshirt. What this jacket lacks in versatility it makes up for in style, comfort, and thoughtful and appropriate features.

The Vixen is a very stylish and comfortable skiing optimized...
The Vixen is a very stylish and comfortable skiing optimized hardshell.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Lyra Pierotti