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Ortovox Swisswool Piz Boè - Women's Review

A unique jacket with exceptional mobility and breathability that makes it a great high-octane adventure layer
ortovox swisswool piz boè for women insulated jacket review
Credit: Ortovox
Price:  $300 List
Manufacturer:   Ortovox
By Maggie Nichols ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 1, 2022
66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 4.5
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 4.0
  • Weight and Compressibility - 15% 8.0
  • Breathability - 15% 10.0

Our Verdict

If you're a high-octane winter sport adventurer who loves to keep exploring and getting after it even as the temperatures plummet, the Ortovox Swisswool Piz Boè is just waiting to be your newest quest companion. Winning our award for Serious Breathability, this jacket is designed to be worn when other puffy jackets have been removed because of sweat buildup. Breathable stretch panels in key areas add mobility while stretch-knit cuffs keep your wrists at the right temperature. Unique pockets work perfectly with a pack on and act as very effective vents when you need them. Not a jacket for sitting around on a cold day, the Piz Boè is made for on-the-go protection and is our favorite insulated jacket to wear on sweat-inducing winter excursions like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
REASONS TO BUY
Highly breathable
Great stretch and mobility
Pockets are good for a pack or harness
Very comfortable cuffs
REASONS TO AVOID
Slim fit runs snug
Too ventilated for inactivity in serious cold
Not very weather resistant
Doesn't pack into pocket

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Highly breathable, great stretch and mobility, pockets are good for a pack or harness, very comfortable cuffsWarm without being bulky, great coverage all around, protective and comfortable cuffs, microfleece-lined pocketsExcellent water resistance, warm, compressible, versatile, good coverageSoft and comfortable, breathable, easy to layer, great mobility, weather resistantWarmth, many comfort features, very weatherproof
Cons Slim fit runs snug, too ventilated for inactivity in serious cold, not very weather resistant, doesn't pack into pocketRuns largeShell can tear easily, less breathable, doesn't fit into its pocketDoesn't stuff into its own pocket, hood is very largeNot breathable or very packable
Bottom Line A unique jacket with exceptional mobility and breathability that makes it a great high-octane adventure layerAn excellent midweight jacket with great warmth, top-notch coverage, and comfortable detailsA high performer that'll keep you warm and protected throughout the seasonsA very comfortable jacket that's great for adventures in diverse conditions where layering, mobility, and protection are keyA cute, high performing non-technical option that boasts an excellent price
Rating Categories Ortovox Swisswool P... Rab Xenon Hoodie 2.0 Patagonia DAS Light... Arc'teryx Atom Hoody Columbia Heavenly H...
Warmth (25%)
4.5
7.5
8.0
7.0
9.0
Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
4.0
8.5
9.0
7.5
8.5
Weight and Compressibility (15%)
8.0
8.0
7.5
7.0
3.0
Breathability (15%)
10.0
6.5
6.0
8.5
3.0
Specs Ortovox Swisswool P... Rab Xenon Hoodie 2.0 Patagonia DAS Light... Arc'teryx Atom Hoody Columbia Heavenly H...
Weight, size small (ounces) 10.4 oz 12.1 oz 11.5 oz 10.5 oz 22.4 oz
Number of Pockets 2 (2 zippered torso) 3 (2 zippered hand, 1 internal zippered chest) 3 (2 zippered hand, 1 exterior zippered chest) 3 (2 zippered hand, 1 internal zippered chest) 3 (2 zippered hand, 1 internal zippered chest)
Hem Type Elastic Single bungee adjustment No adjustment Dual bungee adjustment No adjustment
Fit Athletic Trim Relaxed slim Relaxed Relaxed Slim
Insulation Swisswool 100% recycled PrimaLoft Silver 65g PlumaFill 100% recycled polyester Coreloft 60 100% recycled polyester 100% polyester
Outer Fabric PERTEX QUANTUM: 100 % polyamide 30D Pertex Quantum ripstop 10D Pertex Quantum Nylon Tyono 20D 100% nylon
Stretch fleece side panels: 94% polyester, 6% elastane
Storm-Lite DP II Polyester
Lining 100 % polyamide 20D recycled Atmos ripstop 10D Pertex Quantum Nylon Dope Permeair 20D - 100% nylon Luscious Pile Fleece Polyester
Hood Option Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in stow pocket No Yes; chest Yes; hand No No
Cuff construction Stretch-knit Elasticized with overhang Elasticized cuffs Stretch-knit Stretch-knit wrist-warmer cuff with thumbholes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Ortovox Piz Boè is a lightweight jacket with a fitted slim shape and a balaclava-style hood. Its exterior is made of Pertex Quantum (100% polyamide) with stretchy fleece-lined panels and an elastic, non-adjustable hem. It has two zippered torso pockets with mesh interiors for added ventilation.

Performance Comparison


ortovox swisswool piz boè for women insulated jacket review - the piz boe is our favorite breathable layer for intense expeditions...
The Piz Boe is our favorite breathable layer for intense expeditions in cold weather, like winter snowshoeing in Yosemite.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Warmth


Prized for its breathability, the Piz Boè isn't as warm as many of the other jackets we tested. Its insulation is warm but thin, with breathable panels shedding heat in key areas. After considering the thinness and ventilation of the Piz Boè, it still offers good warmth for its intended use, which is performing moderate to high output activities in cold weather. It's a slim fit that runs smaller than just about any other model we tested, offering a more contoured fit with less room for drafts. A full-length wind guard runs behind the main zipper to ensure that it's not a weak point when you need protection.


The bottom hem isn't adjustable. Instead, it's entirely elastic and fits snugly around or just above the hips. This helps to make sure you're warm inside, no matter how the wind may howl. The cuffs are similarly fitted, made of a snug (but not tight) stretch-knit that handily seals your wrists against the freezing air. The hood is very fitted and in the style of a balaclava, with a tall chin that's easy to bury the bottom half of your face in. It's possible to wear over a thin beanie, but there isn't a lot of extra room for heat loss inside the Piz Boè's hood.

ortovox swisswool piz boè for women insulated jacket review - we love that we don't need another layer for our heads when wearing...
We love that we don't need another layer for our heads when wearing the tight, balaclava style hood of the Piz Boe.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Comfort


If the Piz Boè fits your body type, it's very comfortable to wear. It runs smaller than any other jacket we tested. This is by design, as it's meant to be worn over thin base layers that also facilitate breathability. However, it's also limiting to curvier and more diverse body shapes that may not so easily fit into a slim jacket. But for our testers who fit that body type, wearing the Piz Boè is superbly comfortable. It's thin and flexible with mobility features in all the right places and wears more like a sweatshirt jacket than a puffy coat.


The stretch-knit cuffs are silky soft against the skin. Panels of stretchy, breathable knit material (with fleece interiors) comprise a majority of the armpit area and stretch back along the scapula, making this one of the most flexible and mobile jackets we've had the pleasure of testing. A slight drop hem adds coverage when biking or otherwise bending over. The pockets seemed strange at first, but we grew to love and appreciate their utility. With zippers alongside the main zipper of the jacket, the pockets open laterally. That is, the pocket on the left side opens toward your left arm and is best accessed with your right hand, and vice versa. While this precludes the comfy hands-in-pockets walking around vibe, it makes them exceptionally easy to use while running or while wearing a backpack. They're also fairly long pockets that easily accommodate an oversized smartphone without forcing it to stick out awkwardly while digging into your breast. In short, they are perfectly designed for on-the-go use, maximizing comfort and utility.

ortovox swisswool piz boè for women insulated jacket review - the stretch knit cuffs and wrist extension of the piz boe are silky...
The stretch knit cuffs and wrist extension of the Piz Boe are silky smooth and comfortable.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Weather Resistance


Another mixed bag for the Piz Boè is its weather resistance. All the portions of the jacket covered in Pertex Quantum fabric are remarkably wind and water resistant. Neither precipitation nor cold gusts noticeably penetrated the majority of this jacket. The main zip wind guard, as well as the tightly fitted balaclava hood, also add protection.


However, the breathable panels don't offer the same protection. Both the underarm/scapula panels, as well as the cuffs/wrists, provide large swaths of fabric that is permeable to both wind and water. The fleece-lined arm and back panels provide slightly more resistance, as their interiors are lined with fleece, but sustained exposure to precipitation will eventually soak through. The cuffs lack that lining and more readily transfer water through to your wrists. However, the Piz Boè isn't meant to be a weather protection shell, and its weak points are in areas that are at least moderately protected (underarms and undersides of the wrists).

ortovox swisswool piz boè for women insulated jacket review - the main body of the piz boe is remarkably good at holding the...
The main body of the Piz Boe is remarkably good at holding the weather at bay. The breathability features are its weak points.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Weight and Compressibility


The size Small we tested weighs 10.4 ounces, which is below average for our lineup of insulated jackets. It's a smaller jacket overall, and though lightweight, feels a bit dense compared to others.


The Piz Boè doesn't pack into any of its own pockets like so many of its competitors do. However, this is a layer that's meant to be worn and simply vented rather than removed. It's not an ideal emergency layer you might pack "just in case" — it's the jacket you wear the whole time you're out adventuring in the world. So we're not too concerned with its inability to pack into its pocket.

ortovox swisswool piz boè for women insulated jacket review - though the piz boe doesn't pack into its pockets, it's meant to be...
Though the Piz Boe doesn't pack into its pockets, it's meant to be worn (not packed), so we don't mind too much.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Breathability


It is hard to envision a more breathable insulated jacket than the Piz Boè. All the reasons it's outperformed in warmth and weather resistance are due to its impressive breathability features.


Not only are the thin cuffs breathable, but a V of the same fabric extends nearly 7 inches up the underside of your wrists, further increasing its breathability. The extensive armpit and shoulder panels performed admirably when put to the task of regulating body temperature in trying conditions. And if all that isn't enough, the pockets, with their midline zippers and fully mesh interiors, are extremely effective vents.

ortovox swisswool piz boè for women insulated jacket review - the inside of the underarm and shoulder panels are lined with...
The inside of the underarm and shoulder panels are lined with breathable microfleece, while the pocket linings are a fine mesh that doubles as additional ventilation.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Should You Buy the Ortovox Piz Boè?


If you're a winter thrill seeker who has often left all your puffy jackets at home even on cold mornings in the single digits, the Piz Boè is for you. It's an expensive jacket that isn't the right choice for serious warmth when just hanging out, but it's a dream come true for those of us who love heading out for a workout and an expedition no matter the weather. If your top priority is serious breathability, there is no better option than the Ortovox Piz Boè.

What Other Insulated Jackets Should You Consider?


If you've been sweating while wearing other insulated jackets all winter, the unparalleled breathability of the Piz Boè is well-positioned to be your new favorite cold weather layer. If your adventures tend to be more on the mild side and you want breathability but still need warmth for times spent at rest, the Arc'teryx Atom may be a more protective — but still breathable — layer for you. On the other hand, if your adventures tend to be multiday and you need a highly packable and versatile jacket, you may consider the lightweight Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow.

ortovox swisswool piz boè for women insulated jacket review - the piz boe is our favorite option for winter exercise when...
The Piz Boe is our favorite option for winter exercise when breathability is key.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Maggie Nichols
 
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