The folks at FlyLow have perfected the hardshell ski jacket with the Flylow Billie Coat. Although it has a Spartan feel, the features and weather resistance are second to none. We also love the cut and colors. This jacket was great to ski in on days when skies stormed, and we appreciated the oversized hood and removable powder skirt in changing conditions, as well. Since it's a shell jacket, the Billie Coat doesn't get high marks for warmth. Nevertheless, it has plenty of space for layering underneath. If you seek a hardshell for the resort that can also handle shorter ski tours with ease, then this is one of our top recommendations.Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Flylow Billie Coat on March 23, 2022, with a critical assessment of value and performance, as well as suggestions for similar products.
Flylow Billie Coat Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Stylish, great ski features and pockets, strong value, more versatile than an insulated ski jacket
Cons: Not the lightest hardshell, stiffer material, no insulation
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Flylow Billie Coat
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|Pros||Stylish, great ski features and pockets, strong value, more versatile than an insulated ski jacket||Warm, lofty insulation, soft, very mobile despite insulation, excellent comfort and fit||Relatively inexpensive yet high-quality, breathable, great mobility, great ventilation||Warm, three jackets in one, well-constructed with thoughtful features, versatile||Inexpensive, three jackets in one, warm, comfortable|
|Cons||Not the lightest hardshell, stiffer material, no insulation||Lackluster ventilation||Non-insulating, thin shell material, not for most casual skiers||Slim fit, heavy, poor ventilation when both layers are worn||Not very stylish, hood not helmet compatible, two layers don't work well when zipped together|
|Bottom Line||This ideal and stylish hardshell fends off wind and moisture in a functional, no-frills package||A super warm and soft resort jacket with a cool utilitarian look, this is perfect for someone who runs a little colder||An excellent value for a high performing technical shell that serves inbounds or in the backcountry||This jacket is versatile and has all the necessary ski features for a long day on the hill, all at a reasonable price||A decent deal for two jackets that can be worn in three combinations, this is a great intro ski jacket|
|Rating Categories||Flylow Billie Coat||Helly Hansen Powder...||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face Ther...||Columbia Whirlibird...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Flylow Billie Coat||Helly Hansen Powder...||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face Ther...||Columbia Whirlibird...|
|Main Fabric||3-layer nylon Dobby Intuitive fabric||70% nylon, 30% polyester||100% Nylon||100% Nylon||Legacy Dobby 72% Nylon/ 28% Polyester.|
|Insulation||None||Body: 60g PrimaLoft Sleeves: 40g PrimaLoft||None||100% Postconsumer recycled polyester||Thermarator|
|Waterproofing||20k/20k waterproof breathable membrane||PFC free DWR||3-layer Pertex Shield||2-layer DryVent||Omni-Tech|
|Pockets||2 hand, 1 chest, 1 sleeve, 1 internal||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 2 internal drop-in||2 zippered chest, 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered arm, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal zippered chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 1 internal goggle Liner: 2 zippered hand||Shell: 5, Liner: 3|
|Weight||1.5 lbs||2.2 lbs||1.2 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.4 lbs|
|Cuff construction||Velcro||Velcro with wrist gaiters||Velcro||Velcro||Velcro|
|Powder skirt?||Yes, removeable||Yes||Yes||Yes, behind insulating layer||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We always knew Flylow was a cool company with excellent products, and the Billie Coat convinced us that we know what we're talking about. The jacket performs well on the slopes and looks good, too. We felt it had everything we wanted in a hardshell despite feeling a little stiff and crunchy at the outset.
The Billie Coat is a three-layer hardshell, and you can tell. The fabric was slightly stiff initially, but we didn't mind because of its amazing ability to protect us from the elements. It boasts OmniBloq Durable Water Repellent coating, which is supposedly more protective than the industry standard DWR. We certainly didn't get wet during a sloppy snowstorm.
The jacket also protected us from the vicious winds of the Colorado Front Range. The hood helped, too, with more than ample room to fit over our helmets and then cinched tightly around our necks. Even with the hood fully cinched down, we could still move our heads from side to side. And, the Billie Coat's zippers didn't allow any noticeable drafts through.
Comfort and Fit
This jacket fits true to size, and we were able to layer up underneath it easily. It has a long, flattering silhouette, and we liked that it was feminine without being girly. It was easy to move while we skied and rode. It felt a bit stiff the first few times we used it, but it seemed to develop some flexibility with use.
The jacket isn't insulated, so it received a lower rating in this metric. We always needed to have adequate layers underneath. We will say, however, that the thick shell material did not let any wind pass through the material itself or the front zipper when traveling at high speeds down the mountain.
The Billie Coat breathes well for a hardshell and has large, gaping pit-zips. Because the shell has no insulation, it vents easily. We found that we could hike short distances without overheating in this jacket.
The Billie Coat has great subtle style. It's not flashy, but it still manages to stand out in a crowd. Because of how flattering it is, our testers all wanted to be the ones wearing this jacket for our photos. We like its long hemline, color choices, and how it tapers at the waist and flares at the hips. Our testers received many compliments when they wore this jacket.
We love the interior pockets in this jacket. They're both zippered and nine inches deep. The outer hand pockets are similarly spacious. Manufacturers often skimp on the usefulness of features in women's products, but the Billie Coat defies that trend. We love that the powder skirt is removable and wish all jackets had this option.
Another favorite feature of this jacket is the drawcord for the hood. The toggles are placed on the outside of the collar near your collar bones and make it super easy to cinch down your hood when things get windy sitting on the chairlift.
Should You Buy the Billie Coat?
If you are looking for a stylish, high functioning ski shell that will help you rip around the mountain and look like a pro doing it, look no further than the Billie Coat. Our testers received many compliments on this jacket and reached for it when they were hitting the town and the slopes. We love its well-thought-out ski features, wind and waterproof exterior, and subtle style. Our only complaint is that it's not that warm, but that's to be expected for a hardshell. It's a jacket that will hold up to the test of time, and that's invaluable.
What Other Women's Ski Jackets Should You Consider?
We think that the Flylow Billie Coat is a stellar value for a hard-charging hardshell – it has all the features we want and need and offers superior weather resistance. That said, award-winning hardshells like the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR or the value-minded Outdoor Research Carbide have a slightly more tailored fit. Other technical shells, like the Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro or the Backcountry Notchtop Gore-Tex Active even offer a bit more ventilation for backcountry-focused skiers. But none of these shells offer the standalone warmth of the award-winning Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 or even the price-point The North Face Thermoball Eco Snow Triclimate 3-in-1.
— Jessica Haist
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