Ortovox Swisswool Piz Boè - Women's Review
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Ortovox Swisswool Piz Boè - Women's
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|Pros||Highly breathable, great stretch and mobility, pockets are good for a pack or harness, very comfortable cuffs||Warm without being bulky, great coverage all around, protective and comfortable cuffs, microfleece-lined pockets||Excellent water resistance, warm, compressible, versatile, good coverage||Soft and comfortable, breathable, easy to layer, great mobility, weather resistant||Warmth, 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 pocket||Runs large||Shell can tear easily, less breathable, doesn't fit into its pocket||Doesn't stuff into its own pocket, hood is very large||Not breathable or very packable|
|Bottom Line||A unique jacket with exceptional mobility and breathability that makes it a great high-octane adventure layer||An excellent midweight jacket with great warmth, top-notch coverage, and comfortable details||A high performer that'll keep you warm and protected throughout the seasons||A very comfortable jacket that's great for adventures in diverse conditions where layering, mobility, and protection are key||A 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...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Weight and Compressibility (15%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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