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Flylow Vixen 2.1 Review

A stylish and comfortable hardshell optimized for in bounds and lift served backcountry skiing.
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Price:  $380 List | $204.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
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
#10 of 12
  • 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


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Flylow Vixen 2.1
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $204.97 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$354.97 at Backcountry$299.00 at Backcountry$173.93 at REI
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Pros Comfortable, stylish, well feature for skiingHighly versatile, breathable, lightweightLightweight, breathable, fully featured, durableUltralight, breathable, redefines versatility as a very adequate wind shirtLightweight, supple, breathable, versatile
Cons Less versatile, heavierExpensive, still made of lighter and somewhat less durable fabricNot the lightest on the marketThin, no pockets, not suitable for high mountain use or severe weatherThinner fabric, less features
Bottom Line A stylish and comfortable hardshell optimized for in bounds and lift served backcountry skiing.Retains an impressive focus on light weight while introducing key features to make it highly versatile.An incredibly versatile model that is competent for a wide range of adventures.An excellent ultralight shell jacket for trail running which doubles as a wind breaker.An excellent hardshell, it's lightweight and comfortable, and performs well for a variety of activities.
Rating Categories Flylow Vixen 2.1 Beta SL Hybrid Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex... Norvan SL Hoody Drypoint GTX
Weather Protection (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Mobility (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Breathability (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
Weight (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
Features (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
Durability (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
7
Versatility (5%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
7
Specs Flylow Vixen 2.1 Beta SL Hybrid Norrona... Norvan SL Hoody Drypoint GTX
Measured Weight 18.5 oz 11.6 oz 9 oz 4 oz 9 oz
Category Mid weight, regular fit Light weight, athletic fit Mid weight, Regular fit Mid/ light weight, regular fit Mid/ light weight, regular fit
Length of back, from base of neck to bottom 29 in 26 in 28 in 26.00 27 in
Material Stretch Stormshell Intuitive N42p GORE-TEX fabric with Gore C-KNIT backer technology N40r GORE-TEX fabric with PACLITE Plus product technology 40D GORE-TEX Pro fabric Gore-Tex ShakeDry 20-denier ripstop nylon Gor-Tex coating
Pockets 2 hand, 1 chest, 2 internal 2 hand 2 chest, 1 interior chest None 2 hand
Helmet Compatible Hood Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Harness and Backpack Strap Compatible No Yes Yes, high pockets Not advised Yes
Draw cords 3 hood, 2 waist 3 hood, 2 waist 1 hood, 2 waist 1 hood 3 hood, 2 waist
Adjustable Cuffs Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro No Yes, Velcro
Pit Zips Yes Yes Yes No No
Two-Way Front Zipper No No No No No
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 5 year - production and material defects Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion Lifetime Guarantee for manufacturer defects, 1 year return policy if you are disatisfied with your purchase

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Vixen is best suited to in-bounds skiing and snowboarding due to its heavier weight and thicker fabric, as well as a feature set optimized for snow sports.

Performance Comparison


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

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.

If you're looking for the most weatherproof snow-ready jacket, you might like the Mammut Nordwand. For a lighter weight winter-ready shell that would be a better companion in the backcountry, check out the Patagonia Cloud Ridge.

Pit vents help you shed heat in a hurry.
Pit vents help you shed heat in a hurry.

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


The Vixen is 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.

For another ski-savvy jacket that breathes a little better, check out the Patagonia Cloud Ridge. Otherwise, we would recommend the impressive all-rounder, the Arc'teryx Beta AR.

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.

For a model optimized for backcountry skiing or climbing, we liked the Norrona Trollveggen. And if weight is your top priority, check out either the Arc'teryx Beta SL or the Hybrid version.

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 day of skiing at the resort  and the glove drop pocket is always appreciated.
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.

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.

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, but 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 hardshell.
The Vixen is a very stylish and comfortable skiing optimized hardshell.


Lyra Pierotti