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Westcomb Focus LT hoody - initial impressions
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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Westcomb Focus LT hoody - initial impressions on 12/15/2012 20:23:34 MST Print View

Thought I'd post a few initial impressions with some pics of the Westcomb Focus LT hoody. It's made with eVent DVL fabric. I haven't had a chance to get it out and test how comfortable/breathable it is, so these are just initial impressions on build, fit and such.

I bought a large, which I usually buy in such jackets so I can layer under if I need to. It fits well, loose enough to layer a light puffy (like a WM Flash jacket) under, but not 'billowing' in any way at all. I'm 5'8", and back of the jacket completely covers my butt, the sleeves, if I let them hang down freely, pretty much go to the tip of my middle finger (so it covers my hands). Compared to the RAB Demand (large), it's a touch longer, and the sleeves are a tad longer as well. Perhaps a smidgen, even.

It's a full zip jacket instead of an anorak style. It has one napoleon pocket. Construction seems very high quality, as you'd expect from Westcomb. It's got the best hood I've had on a jacket yet - besting even the RAB Demand hood, which I like a lot, and the Haglofs Ozo hood. It has a stiffened brim, but no wire in it like the RAB. Just using the single adjustment pull in the back closes it down wonderfully for wearing without a helmet or hat. It's the first hood that doesn't take lots of adjustment to get it to not hang over my eyes. Love this hood.

Okay, some pics.

.focus hoody - front, unzipped

Front, unzipped.

.focus hoody - back

Front, zipped (duh...)

.focus hoody - sleeve

The sleeves have thin velcro closure instead of elastic

.focus hoody - hood

Single adjustment pull on back of hood

.focus hoody - inside out

Can't really see it from the inside-out pic, but there isn't a bottom cinch cord on the jacket, just some elastic at the back-bottom of the jacket (not all the way around the bottom, just the back).

All in all a nice piece of kit. Can't wait to try it out on a hike. Maybe even a bike ride.

Edited by idester on 12/15/2012 20:27:20 MST.

Russell Adams
(russ_outdoors) - F
questions on 12/15/2012 23:15:47 MST Print View

Thanks Douglas for your write-up. This jacket has been on my "radar" since reading about it earlier this year. I've been a fan of eVent since purchasing an Integral Designs Thru-Hiker jacket many years ago.

What are your thoughts on the the elasticized waist with no draw-cord? Does it seal well enough?

I'm also very curious as to what your Large jacket weighs.

Please keep us posted on the performance.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Focus LT on 12/15/2012 23:32:42 MST Print View

Very nice Doug. This jackets been on my radar but I've decided to eek another year out of my delaming Marmot for fiscal reasons. Hopefully everyone gives eVent DVL nothing but glowing reviews and I can swing one at some point. Maybe I just need to accidentally dry my Marmot Essence to close to the fire.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Focus LT on 12/16/2012 07:46:37 MST Print View

Nice review Doug,

Like Dan this is my radar also, but I really like the features on my 11oz Montane Quickfire event jacket (pockets, vents and wired hood)

(jpovs) - F - M

Locale: Arrowhead
Re: Westcomb Focus LT hoody - initial impressions on 12/16/2012 07:54:14 MST Print View


Edited by jpovs on 06/27/2014 22:41:40 MDT.

Michael Cheifetz
(mike_hefetz) - MLife

Locale: Israel
Hood photos pretty please on 12/16/2012 08:02:00 MST Print View

can you post some action photos of the looks similar to deadbird design...

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Hood photos pretty please on 12/16/2012 15:55:46 MST Print View


Unfortunately, I have no one here to take pics of me wearing the jacket. I won't be able to field test it any time soon as well. Hopefully early in the new year.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Hood photos pretty please on 12/16/2012 16:04:37 MST Print View

Does your camera have timer function?

Maybe you're just shy?

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Westcomb Focus LT hoody - initial impressions on 12/19/2012 16:50:10 MST Print View

I picked up a Focus LT Hoody at The Down Works. My size "M" weights 9oz. I am 5'10"@160lb. and I find the fit perfect for me... not too much extra space when just wearing a base, is just right amount for a 100wt fleece or a light puffy. Like a number of ultralight jackets there is not a draw cord at the bottom, but rather elastic gather on the back size of the jacket. It seems to be adequate, though I prefer a cord. The on thing I will miss from my other eVENT jacket is the liner (e.g. 3 layer -vs- 2.5) because the 3-layer is much more comfortable against bare skin. The hood is excellent, though I am not sure I favor it over the last Rab jacket I had. I can't do a direct comparison because I sold the rain this summer when it I decided it wasn't fitting anymore.

We are forecast to have rain for the next several days and I will be able to get out some this weekend, so hopefully I will be able to give some sense of performance in the field shortly.


Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Westcomb Focus LT hoody - initial impressions on 12/19/2012 20:56:05 MST Print View

Interesting to see that the production version of the jacket is coming in at 9 ounces. Kind of dissappointed to hear that. Their website has been updated to reflect this as well. Really not much lighter than my 3 layer active shell jacket which has more features and is undoubtedly more durable.

Hoping to hear some great news about eVent DVL breathability.

Michael Cheifetz
(mike_hefetz) - MLife

Locale: Israel
weight on 12/20/2012 06:34:00 MST Print View

@Nathan - indeed - it was pegged as 7oz IIRC....9oz is in the ball park of many other UL jackets

steven franchuk
Re: weight on 12/21/2012 00:39:15 MST Print View

Earlier I saw the weight listed at 7.66oz. I just went back to the westcomb web site and It appears they have updated the weight since I last looked. its now 8.93oz. The weight of the various components of the jacket as not always the same weight. manufacturing tolerances will cause some parts to be lighter and others to be heavier. Also the origninal prototype may have had some design flaws. Correcting those flaws may have added weight. Hopefully westcomb can improve it over time to get it back to 7oz.

Edited by Surf on 12/21/2012 01:02:53 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Weight on 12/23/2012 13:50:35 MST Print View

That's too bad it's up to 9oz. That puts in the same range as a lot of other nice coats.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Westcomb Focus LT hoody - additional impressions on 12/24/2012 11:19:59 MST Print View

Since getting my new Westcomb Focus LT Hoody the weather has been very cooperative, meaning plenty of rain and wind at fairly mild temps 45-55F. So far, this is my favorite rain shell. So long as the temperature is below 50-55F I can be happy even though it doesn't have pit zips. If it's not raining or just light sprinkles still prefer a wind shirt thanks to better breathability and nicer fabric hand, but the DVL eVENT performance was impressive.

I was able to wear the Focus LT in 50-55F temps with a 20lb pack walking 3-3.5mph on level ground without accumulating sweat except under the shoulder straps which happens even when I am just wearing a base layer. There was a slightly perceivable raise of humidity inside the jacket, but it wasn't significantly more noticeable then when I am wearing my Houdini wind shirt. I could walk any amount of time on relatively flat terrain and stay dry. I couldn't do this with jackets I have previously owned which used various forms of Gore-Tex or Marmot's Strata membrane.

On a long uphill push or when trail running I can generate more moisture that the jacket could move. This isn't surprising because nothing but base layers or very air permeable stretch woven soft shells actually move enough moisture when I am moving fast or working hard, not even an unlined wind shirt. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that the Focus has performed better than any other WP/B shell I have even used. An example of overwhelming the jacket was a section of trail which gains 1k ft in less than 1 mile. I did this section at around 3.3mph with light rain, modest wind. I was wearing supplex hiking pants, Montbell PacLite rain pants, Patagonia Featherweight Crew Shirt, and the Focus LT. For the first 10 minutes up the uphill push I didn't notice significant moisture accumulation inside the jacket. At around the 10 minute mark (a bit more than 1/2 way up this push) I could feel my chest and forearms start to get damp. At the ridge I felt a bit damp all over. Since I was not around home I wasn't able to actually measure how much moisture accumulated in my base. My take away is for short pushes the Focus / eVENT DVL can vent / buffer whatever I generate, but that for modest too long slogs I need to drop my pace or be prepared to get damp from my own moisture.

The next section of that hike was relatively flat. I noticed that after 10-15 minutes walking at 3mph pace that the sense of dampness was gone. This really pleased me, because it suggests that even when I push beyond the jackets ability to vent moisture, when I slow my activity level I can dry out while wearing the shell, even if it is raining. In the future I see myself wearing a rain jacket more than I have in recent years.

As mentioned above, while the workmanship, design, and fit is excellent, it is minimalist. It's a great rain shell, but the lack of draw cord, no inside pockets, etc makes it less than ideal as an four season shell. Specially I wouldn't use it for snow sports, but then again, I haven't used a membrane shell in the winter for years, favoring shells which have no membrane to impede venting moisture when I don't need to keep liquid water out.

So while I was disappointed that the jacket was not the expected 7oz, 9oz with good performance makes it a keeper. More than a keeper, I have just added it to my perfect for me gear list.

Edited by verber on 12/28/2012 07:30:43 MST.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Westcomb Focus LT hoody - additional impressions on 12/24/2012 14:06:32 MST Print View


Thanks for the thorough review. Looks like I'll be passing this one over. Oh well. It'll be interesting to see what Haglofs brings us this spring - hopefully they'll do a little better than westcomb in going from prototype to production.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Westcomb Focus LT hoody - additional impressions on 12/24/2012 15:49:56 MST Print View


Edited by richard295 on 12/24/2012 15:52:02 MST.

(jpovs) - F - M

Locale: Arrowhead
Re: Re: Westcomb Focus LT hoody - additional impressions on 12/28/2012 02:02:03 MST Print View


Edited by jpovs on 06/27/2014 22:41:05 MDT.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Mark have you considered adding modest pit zips? on 12/28/2012 12:38:21 MST Print View

Mark thanks for the great review. Our recent heavy rains have indeed been excellent for testing. Excited about the material. Have you considered adding modest length pit zips with lightweight zippers to help vent during high exertion?