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Golite Buzz Jacket REVIEW

Lightweight synthetic high loft insulating jacket.

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by Don Wilson | 2004-11-17 03:00:00-07

Overview

GoLite Buzz Jacket - field shot
Don in his GoLite Buzz jacket exploring the Toklat River Valley, Denali National Park, Alaska

The GoLite Buzz is a full-featured jacket with a premium Pertex Quantum DWR treated shell and 1.8 oz/yd2 Primaloft One insulation. Four pockets, a high collar, hem drawcord and Power Stretch cuffs and underarms round out the features. The Buzz is highly breathable and performed well in storm conditions - staying dry for long periods and keeping me warm in long, moderate rains. The Buzz is comfortable and well made. Its list of features makes it heavier than simpler jackets.

In Brief

  • Pertex Quantum shell with DWR
  • 1.8 oz/yd2 Primaloft One insulation
  • Full featured, four pockets, 3.5 inch collar, hem draw cord
  • Comfortable Power Stretch cuffs and articulated underarms
  • Breathabilty and fit are great for high motion activity
  • Good storm protection performance
  • Additional features reduce loft/weight ratio compared to minimalist jackets

Specifications

• Garment Style

Full zippered jacket

• Fabric Description

0.9 oz/yd2 (30 g/m2) Pertex Quantum with DWR

• Insulation Description

1.8 oz/yd2 (60 g/m2) Primaloft One

• Other Features

Malden Mills Power Stretch Cuffs and underarm articulation

• Weight

15.9 oz (451 g) for Men's L (18.0 oz (510 g) manufacturer specification)

• Loft

0.3 in (0.8 cm)

• Model Year

Spring 2004

• MSRP

$149.00 Manufacturer's suggested retail price

Warmth

Most of my testing was done on a summer trip to Alaska, and a few summer climbing trips. I wore the Buzz for four days of exploring in Denali National Park, where conditions were cool, occasionally cold, and the rivers were downright frigid. The tight and comfortable cuffs, drawcord hem and tall 3 1/2 inch collar make the Buzz quite adjustable. I could really button it down when the conditions got poor. At 45 °F, and with a light layer beneath the Buzz, I was too warm to fully close up the jacket, even when relaxing around camp. In Denali, I frequently donned the Buzz to help me warm up after crossing cold rivers. The hand warmer pockets were comfortable and welcome after the cold water. I can attest that the GoLite Buzz is completely impenetrable to even the nastiest Alaska mosquitoes.

Storm resistance

Summer thunderstorms in the Arizona mountains can be violent; the Buzz was subjected to several over the course of the summer. The DWR treated Pertex Quantum shell, in combination with the Primaloft One insulation provided excellent storm resistance for a jacket that is not waterproof. I stayed dry for long periods (30 minutes or more) in moderate rain, and the DWR treated shell beaded and repelled water even long after some water had begun to soak through. Breathability is one of the strengths of the Buzz. The Pertex Quantum fabric, full zipper and Power Stretch underarms combine to make a highly breathable jacket. I wore the Buzz in wet summer storms and used it to keep me dry while hiking uphill in heavy rain. I was able to stay acceptably cool in both situations. This versatility allowed me to use the Buzz as a summer rain garment for warm thunderstorms, with its insulating power still in reserve in case conditions got worse.

Usability

The GoLite Buzz has a number of features not found in minimalist jackets that make it a more versatile performer. Two hand warmer pockets with tricot lining, a vertical zip chest pocket and a vertical zip internal pocket provide loads of storage. The external chest pocket also serves as self-storage for the jacket. The elasticized hem draw cord has two separate toggles for control, and easily adjusts on either side. GoLite calls the Buzz a semi-fitted jacket, and I agree. It fit nicely on my tall, lanky frame, without being bulky, and with room for moderately heavy layers underneath. The Buzz is relatively short waisted to allow freedom of movement, with no drop tail and no coverage of the rear end. The articulated Power Stretch underarms are a welcome reduction of bulk under the arms. Articulation is excellent, with no rise of the hem when arms are lifted horizontally. My Buzz took quite a beating over the summer and shows no signs of wear. It is bar tacked and reinforced at key stress points.

Value

Loaded with features and state of the art fabrics, the GoLite Buzz is a good value at $149. As an ultralight garment, it clearly sacrifices weight reduction to add features like four pockets.

Recommendations for Improvement

As an ultralight jacket, the only drawback to the Buzz is the 2 to 3 ounces of extra weight relative to no-frills jackets. The hem drawcord and possibly the internal pocket could be sacrificed to get the total weight down, while still keeping the most usable features. Narrower cuffs might also shave off a few grams. I removed the hem drawcord on my Buzz - taking 0.6 ounces off its weight. Given my size large jacket which weighed 15.9 ounces, shaving a couple more ounces off the Buzz would bring it into the range of other lightweight Primaloft One insulated jackets.


Citation

"Golite Buzz Jacket REVIEW," by Don Wilson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/golite_buzz_jacket_review.html, 2004-11-17 03:00:00-07.

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