Backcountry Wasatch Crest Hybrid - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
This savvy hybrid shell provides good protection from the elements and dependable light weather protection, though it doesn't have a hood and runs a bit small.
The Wasatch Crest is best for spring and fall endeavors. It's not warm enough on its own if the temperature dips too low, and it's substantial enough to be a bit stifling when the sun is blasting. The "hybrid" part of this shell refers to the strategically placed insulation on the chest and upper back to help keep the core warm without over-heating the rest of the body. It's pretty effective, though, on cold evenings, you will want a puffy over the top and/or a good baselayer underneath (and the fit runs small and narrow, so plan to size up if you want to layer underneath regularly). This also isn't a great layer for anything more than very light precipitation. During our shower tests, water came through the material quite fast, especially at the zipper. That being said, it dries super fast (one of the fastest in our test suite), so if you do get caught in a spring shower rest assured, you won't stay soggy for long.
This jacket is thicker than a typical rain shell though still quite thin and light. Its breathability is decent, but it's not the best we've seen. The insulated panels hold warmth in more than they allow it out (as they are designed to do), and while the rest of the body has some permeability, the nylon and spandex just isn't as breathable as other options in our review. However, the pockets are lined with a thinner mesh-like fabric so you can vent and dumb a bit of heat from there. Overall, this is best for lower aerobic activities or as a component in a more curated layering system.
Four-way stretch material gives the Wasatch decent movement, though it runs a bit small. We felt some constriction across the upper back, and the athletic cut is narrow at the hemline for those with wider hips. Our lead tester is a medium and, while this jacket fit fine, with a long sleeve layered underneath, it felt noticeably tight. We recommend sizing up if you're unsure or if you are more well-endowed through the chest, back, or hips.
At 11.7 ounces for a size medium, this jacket falls about in the middle of our tested models. It packs down quite small, even with the insulation panels, and feels light on the body. Unless you're counting every gram, this won't weigh you down in the slightest. Just remember, it also doesn't have a hood.
The Wasatch is a pretty minimal layer. There's no hood and only two zippered hand pockets. The material, however, is durable and stretchy, and the core insulation is a useful feature. There are small reflective stripes on the wrists, an adjustable hem, and the front zip comes up nice and high — though it does chafe the underside of the chin a bit. The simplicity makes this a good piece to consider as part of a more advanced layering system, though, and style points are high: our testers received a lot of compliments while wearing this jacket.
Great value here for sure. This is one of the more affordable pieces in our review, and durability is high, so you will have it for many seasons. This may not be the jacket we would recommend if you need a do-it-all piece, but for simple outings and as part of a more serious layering plan, it's a good bang for the buck.
The Wasatch Crest Hybrid is a simple yet well-executed jacket to consider for cool swing season temperatures, warmups at the crag, and as a mid-layer in a backcountry setup. It doesn't have a hood or very many features, but it will keep you protected from wind and light water, and the four-way stretch material facilitates good movement (though it does run small). This jacket is also available at a friendly price point, and the style factor can't be denied. Well done, Backcountry!
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