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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 10/27/2010 14:31:43 MDT Print View

Westcomb Kokanee ... a jacket that's trying to decide what it is, is it UL, a yuppie jacket, or a winter/belay jacket



Got a westcomb kokanee at the westcomb outlet sale few weeks ago, temps haven't been at the range to test out the temperature yet but i thought i would post my initial thoughts.

Numbers
- $350 US MSRP
- Medium tested
- 505 g/ 18 oz measured weight
- 850 EU down, unknown fill weight
- 15D Pertex Shell
- Sizing runs large
- Pull adjustable hood
- Waist drawstring
- Fleece lined neck
- Elastic wrists
- Two way zipper
- Single inside mesh pocket
- Very lofty
- Appears to be sewn through


Basics

The Kokanee is a down insulating jacket roughly around the size and weight of a MB Light Alpine, FF Helios or WM Meltdown jackets. It is filled with 850 EU tested (875 US) fill, unfortunately Westcomb would not tell me the fill weight.

The shell is a pretty thin 15D Pertex shell inside and out. I'll refer to the test that Will did on the Chilko about the DWR. The shell feels ultrasoft inside and out unlike some other jackets. There is no nylon feeling at all.

The fabric also appears to be fairly fragile, more so than by EB FA Downlight. I would not want it around sharp or abrasive objects. It appears to be sewn thru construction.

The jacket retails for a hefty $350 US / $375 Can, since itss new its unlikely you'll see many sales.

It is made in Westcomb's Vancouver Factory. Construction is top notch, not a single loose thread so far.

Features

The Kokanee has the normal features one would expect on a down jacket.

Let's start with the 2 way zip. Obviously intended for people with harnesses on, it is easy to use. The bottom zip does not comb with a tab, but that's easily remedied.



There are 2 fleece lined hand pockets with water resistant zippers at belly level.



The neck collar is also fleece lined. The hood is pretty large, and for me, helmet compatible. There are 2 pull tabs on either side for adjustment.



The wrist have a soft stretch elastic material. The stretch material feels a softer against the skin than the elastic on my MB Ex Light. There is also a waist drawstring.



There is an inside zippered mesh pocket on the left side. It's just large enough for a pair of light gloves, but not mitts. There is also some funky red label on the inside right with some marketing spiel.



Sizing

The sizing runs large, no doubt about it. It is meant as a belay/over jacket for the winter.

As a reference I'm 165-175 lbs (depending on how many Krispy Kremes i eat), 5'7" and am a solid medium in most athletic brands (EB FA, dead bird, Patagucci).

I was able to wear a Cap 4 base layer, 200 wt fleece, Arc'teryx Gamma SV Hoody Softshell under it with no problems and could probably have added one more layers. The jacket run down to my hip. It is not a parka.

The Kokanee is very lofty, i'd say more so than a MB Alpine light. Along with the sizing, do not expect to reasonably fit this parka under a shell without significant compression.

I have not had a chance to test how small it will compress.



Thoughts

I do like the Kokanee alot. It is light, warm, and feels nice against the skin. The problem is that it is a jacket that really doesn't know what it wants to be.

On one hand it is sized for belays and has climbing specific features like the double zip and large hood. On the other hand it's shell seems fairly fragile and i'd hate to use it by itself around rocks or sharp bushes. Since I plan on using it under by synthetic belay jacket (yes they all do fit together) it isn't an issue for me.

It would serve credibly as a light winter over jacket if you are careful. The sizing is sufficient.

The problem is that at $350 US / $375 Can, there are many jackets that have the Kokanee beat in terms of either value or warmth. The most obvious competitors being the MB Light Alpine, FF Helios, and Mec Reflex (heavier, cheaper, much warmer). I got mine for $225 before taxes.

I have a feeling that the most likely use of this jacket is an around the ski lodge/town yuppie piece.

Thanks for reading this review.

PS . Richard if yr reading this, i wonder of you can calculate the iclo/warmth of this jacket by itself and with a OR Chaos jacket combined. Thanks!

http://www.outdoorresearch.com/site/m_s_chaos_jacket.html

Edited by bearbreeder on 10/27/2010 17:06:30 MDT.

Michael Febbo
(febbom)
Thanks Eric! on 10/27/2010 17:38:41 MDT Print View

Eric,
I was hoping you would review this jacket, so thank you very much!

I find this jacket very appealing as it looks like a full-featured, lightweight, belay jacket suitable for 3 seasons and mild winter use that (given your review) edges out the other offerings in its class.

Unlike the FF Helios, it has appears appropriately sized for a belay piece and its hood is meant for a helmet.

The MB Alpine Light parka is pretty low on the amount of down fill, and so I'd expect the Westcomb to be warmer.

I think you're absolutely correct- it is in the same class as the WM Meltdown, which is an insanely puffy coat for the weight, is just as expensive, but has a rather disappointing hood. It's fabric should prove to be more durable however. The new RAB Infinity also looks like a competitive item, but I have no idea if the hood is helmet compatible.

I've been looking for an ultralight late-fall/ mild winter belay jacket that goes past my waist and has a usable hood that accommodates a helmet... this looks perfect. I'd likely be wary of using it for ice climbing, given the thin shell, but I do wonder if it would compete with my DAS for warmth at much less weight.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 10/27/2010 18:24:07 MDT Print View

dont forget to post in the gear-review section of the website! looks incredibly warm..

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 10/27/2010 18:24:55 MDT Print View

tried on one of these a few weeks ago and was impressed - my thought is that for ice, or the ocashional cold rocky belay or summer bivy it would be the ticket.
the hood was disappointing though, seemed like a nod to the downtown crowd as it was much thinner (more like a MB alpine light in thickness). The Kokanee seemed like more of an unbaffled winter jacket.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
hood on 10/27/2010 19:28:41 MDT Print View

the hood isnt the puffiest in the world ... im not too worried about that as having ear muffs, a beanie and a helmet on usually keeps the head very warm ... for those not wearing helmet all the time (are there such people?) ... you might want something with a thicker hood

as to the hood size ... i can pull the hood over my Petzl Altios helmet which is rather high profile ... this i with a cap 4, marmot 200 wt fleece, gamma sv hoodie all together

for a person looking for a winter backpacking jacket, i think that something from montbell, FF, EB FA would probably be a bit better of a deal

the MB alpine light may not be as warm buy its cheaper and lighter (and you could still get an ex light for the same price) , conversely the new MB frostline or MEC Reflex are a 1/2 pound heavier but warmer and cheaper as well

for those that need the double zip and helmet compatable hood though ... i cant find anything else ... i plan to wear it as a second belay jacket under my OR chaos on REALLY cold days ...

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 10/27/2010 21:13:27 MDT Print View

Eric,

Very nice review... thank you!

Per your request, the Iclo on the OR Chaos is 3.11and the Westcomb Kokanee is 3.22. Assuming you have a nominal air gap of at least 1/4" between the two insulation pieces, the combined Iclo is 6.33. This jacket combo and a 1 clo base layer ensemble will keep you camp chores thermo-neutral at ~-7F.

Edited by richard295 on 10/28/2010 11:03:10 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
what i expected on 10/28/2010 13:40:41 MDT Print View

thanks richard ... thats around the range i expected combined, somewhere along the lines of a MB permarfrost to a NB fugu

interesting that there are quite a few jackets with the same iclo but cheaper and lighter ... brooks range anarok, WM Flight, FF Hyperion, etc ...

i like westcomb, but they are definitely premium price ... a la dead bird with more function but less yuppie branding

it does look so much better than any of those though ;)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
fill weight on 11/10/2010 20:16:19 MST Print View

just to update

westcomb would not divulge the amount of down in this jacket ... unless that number pops up a comparison between other jackets is kind of hard ...

thanks

Hi Eric, both the Kokanee and the Chilko are 850+ down fill. We don't advertise the fill weight because it is difficult to compare our light & warm Hutterite down with other down that may be bulky and/or have a higher feather vs down ratio. For more information on that please visit the FAQ on our website: http://www.westcomb.com/content/FAQ/13#faq159 . Thanks for the interest!

Steve Kennedy
(MonkeyJoe)
Fill Weight on 12/23/2011 21:17:02 MST Print View

I have tried on this jacket side by side with the MB Light Alpine; The Westcomb definetly has more fill.

Have taken the westcomb backcountry skiing and no issues wacking branches and what not,

The cut is for full size guys, which is nice, Montbell and some other brands tend to be cut for thinner folks.

Bobby Ess
(persianpunisher) - F
how does it compare on 12/25/2011 20:17:11 MST Print View

How does it compare to the Patagonia Fitz Roy?

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
no one knows on 12/25/2011 20:23:18 MST Print View

no one knows since westcomb wont give the amount of down in it ...

Bobby Ess
(persianpunisher) - F
Lowest temp? on 12/25/2011 22:29:31 MST Print View

Eric, in how cold of temperatures can this thing hold up.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
10-15F on 12/26/2011 17:27:40 MST Print View

i havent had the chance to take it below that ...

you may not have the same insulating flab i do though ;)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Resurrection: Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 11/22/2013 14:19:07 MST Print View

I don't know how well this jacket has fared in the field but The Clymb is selling Xl and XXL sizes for $195 right now

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Resurrection: Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 11/22/2013 15:00:12 MST Print View

Just a question: are you sure the 850 FP is measured according EU-methods ? Because the down has a European origin doesn't mean the FP is measured according EU-methods.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Re: Re: Resurrection: Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 11/22/2013 15:35:58 MST Print View

yes ,,,

the down is CANADIAN hutterite down from alberta

Hutterite down, produced in the Hutterite communities of Alberta, Canada, is collected from mature Embden geese raised outdoors. The down is twice soap cleaned rather than chemically cleaned (which does less damage to the down), and is twice sorted, making Hutterite down 90% to 95% down and only 5% to 10% small feather.

Geese that grow up outdoors in colder climates produce more down to keep themselves warm. The best quality down comes from mature geese, where the clusters are fully formed and able to trap the maximum amount of air to keep you warm. Since a large amount of natural lanolin is left behind in the cleaning process, Westcomb claims that Hutterite down is naturally water repellent without the need for chemical treatment. The actual extent of this water repellency remains in question.


http://www.thegearcaster.com/the_gearcaster/2013/01/westcomb-hutterite-down-collection.html

the down is tested and meets EU "class 1" standards



http://www.idfl.com/media/pdfs/news/IDFL%20News%2048.pdf

BPL reviews the chilko which uses the same fill and said

The Chilko’s shell and lining are the new 0.8 oz/yd2 (27 g/m2) Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon with DWR, which is 20% lighter and has the same tear strength as the “old” Quantum. The insulation is 850 EU fill power (884 fill-power by the US measurement method) Canadian Hutterite down, which is claimed to be 100% down (less than 1% feathers).

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/westcomb_chilko_down_sweater_review.html

as a note westcomb is moving from 850 to 900 fill which is why all the down is being cleared out, mostly in the L/XL ... they had 100$ Kokanees at the factory sale last month ... my fellow entrepreneurial AZNs were walking out with armloads of em for friends and families, or resale

i thought about buying a ton and selling em on BPL, but i didnt have the heart to mark it up enough for it to be worth my while and to tie up a few grand in cash ... maybe thats why im a poor AZN



i did buy some as xmas gifts however ...

generally the construction and materials of westcomb products is top notch, all made in vancouver canada ...

however they still wont say how much down is in the jacket ... they are very much a lifestyle brand IMO ... you buy it because you want quality CANADIAN made gear that works ... not because its the lightest or makes sense financially

;)

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/22/2013 15:39:29 MST.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Resurrection: Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 11/22/2013 16:24:21 MST Print View

Interesting.

Now, a few remarks:

"The insulation is 850 EU fill power (884 fill-power by the US measurement method)"

This conversion seems a bit low. Based on claims of other brands, 903 to 915 seems more in line.

"however they still wont say how much down is in the jacket"

Now, they don't give figures; however I found for the Kokanee (the new 900 FP version) a temperature of -5 °C (or 23 °F) which would seem something of 5,5 to 6 oz. .

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: Re: Re: Re: Resurrection: Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 11/22/2013 16:43:19 MST Print View

Yeah, $195 is not such a good deal for a Kokanee. In July Amazon was blowing them out for ~$95.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Resurrection: Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 11/22/2013 18:34:07 MST Print View

tom ...

BPL write the article, they can probably answer if they did their own conversion or use a number from westcomb ...

at that range though i doubt it makes much of a difference in real life use with humidity and all ...

as to the fill weight ... no one knows

im generally a big fan of westcomb ... you get better than dead bird/patagucci quality IMO with top notch materials while it still made in vancouver, BC ... IMO if you pay $$$$ for something it might as well be made locally

however i think they are afraid to be compared on their performance and value alone ... they refuse to give me the down weight, years ago one employee said "well we dont want people to go compare our down weight against some cheaper brand" ...

fortunately at the factory sale prices i really dont care ... $100 is a smoking deal for any puffy that size

one side note is that just because a jacket is "850 fill" doesnt mean is that its warmer than a "650 fill" one ... i purchased a kokanee for a female friend at the sale ... she also has a MH sub zero parka ... im not sure which has more fill, but i expected the kokanee to be warmer as the fill quality is substantially better

however this is not the case

- the kokanee has a substantially larger fit for the same size, which means more air gaps to heat up ... snugger fit means warmer
- the MH has a bit of a thicker shell layer, surprisingly this makes a difference on windy days, both i believe are sewn through
- the "850 fill down" in reality isnt a ton warmer than the lower quality fill in our humid PNW ... humidity even when its not raining doesnt allow the full fill potential to be used IMO

so bottom line? ... in her particular case the the fill power advantage was overcome by other factors ... just goes to show you that other things matter other than fill power

;)

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/22/2013 18:35:16 MST.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Resurrection: Westcomb Kokanee Initial Review on 11/23/2013 04:07:43 MST Print View

Hi Eric,
you're wright that the precise conversion doesn't matter that much, and like you said there are other factors.

I follow now Westcomb for quite a few years and they're often on my list. However, their distribution in Europe is pretty non-existent.