Not typically a big brand for gearheads, we didn't have a ton of expectations for the Eddie Bauer Uplift. The Uplift features quality fabric and a thoughtful design set, but best of all, it's lighter than nearly every other jacket we reviewed and packs into its own tiny chest pocket for convenience. This packability and performance make it an excellent emergency piece to bring with you on almost any adventure, and the price tag is encouraging too!
Eddie Bauer Uplift Windshell - Women's Review
Cons: Lacks breathability, elastic wrist cuffs felt tight on some reviewers
Manufacturer: Eddie Bauer
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Uplift proved itself to be a decent performing windbreaker for less than most comparable models on the market today. While it didn't score the highest in any single category, it held its own against some stiff competition. Read our results to see if the Uplift from Eddie Bauer is the right jacket for you.
The Uplift was in the middle of the pack in our review when it came to wind resistance. Although this jacket features high-quality 20D ripstop, it was outperformed in the wind by thinner models like the Patagonia Houdini, Arc'teryx Squamish and Rab Vital. Though the hood isn't adjustable, it is a snug fit around your face, helping to keep you toasty warm inside. Fully elastic cuffs help protect the wearer's wrists from the chill, and a cinching hem can be tightened against the wind or loosened to aid airflow.
However, some features of the design of the Uplift detract from its wind resistance. The jacket lacks a drop hem in the back, and some of our reviewers felt that the elastic cuffs were too tight and caused the sleeves to ride up, exposing their wrists to the wind. But if you aren't expecting gale-force winds, this piece will do just fine. Because it is so small and can easily fit in your pack for almost any activity, it makes sense to bring it along as an emergency wind protection.
No contender in our review scored incredibly well in the breathability metric, but this is not an area where windbreakers are expected to excel. (They're supposed to keep the air out, after all.) With that being said, the Uplift was able to handle light to moderate cardiac output (like hiking or yard work) for short amounts of time, though it was not comfortable during high output activities like running. When we wore it running, our sweat accumulated on the inside, making for less than ideal conditions.
If you're looking for a jacket that can run with you (albeit with a little sweat accumulation), we like the rather versatile and breathable Black Diamond Alpine Start and the newly reimagined Patagonia Houdini.
Weight and Packability
The Uplift impressed us with its light weight and small packed size. This product is the second lightest jacket in our review, following only the Editor's Choice winner, featherlight Patagonia Houdini. The recently redesigned Houdini shaved off two whole ounces and packs into a smaller package than the Uplift. Like many of the windbreakers in this review, the Uplift stuffs easily into its own chest pocket and features a sturdy loop that you can attach to your harness or backpack.
With a compacted size that's only slightly bigger than an energy bar, we were happy to bring the Uplift with us on nearly any mission. It's light and easy enough to throw in your pack and forget about, only to remember when you most need it as an emergency layer when the weather turns.
The Uplift is among the more versatile jackets in our review, with a hood that fits nicely over a helmet and a design that allows it to transition with you through many activities. The lack of hand pockets allows it to fit well under a harness or hip belt, and the side-pull hem cinch won't get caught in your way. It's able to be added over light layers, extending the comfortable temperature range in which you can use this jacket.
However, this minimalistic windbreaker does not have as many features as some other jackets in this review. If you're looking for a model with more hood protection, consider the Arc'teryx Squamish. If you're instead looking for a fashion-forward model that isn't nearly as high performing, we like the Cotapaxi Teca. If you're after a genuinely versatile jacket that blends fashion and function with wind resistance and breathability, consider the Black Diamond Alpine Start, our Top Pick for Versatility. However, if the minimalist design is for you, the Uplift makes the transitions between activities relatively seamless.
Like many of the other jackets in this review, the Uplift performs relatively well when it comes to water resistance. It features a DWR (durable water repellent) finish that helps to repel a small amount of water for a short amount of time. It's no rain jacket, but then you already knew that. Windbreakers are best used for their namesake — wind — and can double as an emergency water protection piece in light showers.
If the weather forecast looks good with a chance of a brief drizzle, the Uplift is a decent choice and performed better than average against a light rain or brief cloudburst. It kept us mostly dry, and once it became thoroughly soaked, we found that it dried in a reasonable amount of time. For added water resistance, we loved the surprisingly repellent Rab Vital. Or if you're anticipating a cold rain in cold weather, the 100% fleece-lined Columbia Flash Forward also proved itself to be quite effective against mild precipitation.
We think the Uplift is best used as an emergency layer that lives in the bottom of your pack for when you most need it. It's packable and lightweight, and it will provide you with the coverage you need when the wind picks up on an alpine ridge or the singletrack. It may not be the absolute best windbreaker that money can buy, but it's a great and inexpensive option to have around just in case.
While you can certainly find jackets with more features (like the Arc'teryx Squamish), that boasts a more technical performance (like the Patagonia Houdini or Rab Vital), or are more versatile (the Black Diamond Alpine Start), it's hard to beat the combination of performance and an impressively low price tag found in the Uplift. A solid showing across the board and a lower cost than most the competition (less than half the price of some!), the Uplift is a no-brainer emergency layer for all your outdoor adventures.
The Eddie Bauer Uplift is a competitively priced piece that stacks up well to many of the more expensive jackets in our fleet. This piece is lightweight and packable enough to throw into your backpack and keep with you throughout your activities, always there in case of an emergency. With a price that won't break the bank, this all-around performer is a good choice for any outdoor enthusiast.
— Shey Kiester and Maggie Brandenburg