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ProView – BlackYak Brangus Jacket

A good jacket is something I never leave home without, especially living in Colorado where the weather can turn on a dime any time of the year.  If you are wet or cold on your nature outing it makes the experience far less fun.  Enjoying both warmth and fun, I have accumulated a lot of jackets over the years and have a good idea about which jacket to pull from my closet based on the conditions I plan on entering into. When asked if I wanted to review the Brangus jacket by Black Yak I immediately took the opportunity to test my favorite type of jacket – the hardshell, revered by many as THE shell for protection against wet and windy conditions. So into the wild I went in search of sub-par conditions.

During a few particularly cold and snowy weekends in several locations around Colorado’s Front Range, I was able to test this jacket to measure its performance in various regards.  While skinning up Diamond Peak in the Never Summer range the jacket breathed particularly well, even in a wet snow storm.  In whiteout conditions on Arapahoe Basin’s notoriously long and slow “Lenawee Mountain Lift” the jacket kept me protected from the blowing wind.  In Aspen, the raining showers of Apres Vueve Clicquot were no match for the Gore-Tex armor the Brangus jacket provided – I stayed meticulously dry.  Into the wild indeed. 

BlackYak Brangus Jacket

Product Description: The BLACKYAK Brangus Jacket uses a combination of GORE-TEX® C-KNIT™ and the new for 2018 GORE® STRETCH technology. The optimally placed GORE® STRETCH technology on the Brangus Jacket gives a freedom and range of movement. To maximize the functional area of the garments and enhance its wet weather capabilities, we have used a 13mm seam tape on all sewn seams. This works in combination with our new YAK SEAL™ Technology to reduce the moisture ingress through from the main garment openings around the waist, cuffs and helmet compatible hood.

Price: $650 MSRP

  • Quality
    (4)
  • Fit
    (4)
  • Versatility
    (4.5)
  • Style
    (4.5)

Summary

Compared to other shells I have used, the Brangus jacket excelled particularly well in two regards: breathability and freedom of movement.  I am not one to start my uphill journey in a gore-tex shell due to the lack of breathability, however, the extremely lightweight C-Knit Gore membrane combined with the Gore stretch panels on the back and large pit zips under the arms allowed me to keep this jacket on while traveling uphill as well as skiing back down. 

Overall
4.1

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Freedom of movement from the Stretch Gore-Tex
  • Lots of pockets and storage options

Cons

  • Zipper pulls are hard to grasp with gloves
  • Pit zippers hard to zip with one hand

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Fit/Comfort

The fit of the Brangus Jacket was about true to size if maybe a hair smaller than other brands that have a boxier cut.  I tested a size medium and it featured enough sleeve length for extending my arms fully without exposing my wrists to the cold, and enough room in the torso and shoulders to add a puffy layer underneath.  The length of the body was just right. 

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Look/Style

I like the non-block pattern and solid color of this jacket.  The “Snorkel Blue” color I tested even got applause from a few strangers in the lift line while skiing inbounds, and it stands out from typical neutral colored jackets on the ski hill.  The blue is also easily spottable in the backcountry amidst a backdrop of forest and snow which is an added bonus.

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Features

Gore-Tex C-Knit and Gore Stretch are the two big tech features of this jacket.  C-Knit is the lightest most breathable “backer” membrane – the material facing the inside of your jacket, closest to the skin – that Gore-Tex makes.  Black Yak chose a super lightweight outer shell layer to pair on top of this C-Knit layer, the resulting effect being an uber light (510 g) and ultra breathable performing shell.

The other obvious tech feature is two Gore Stretch panels located on the back of the jacket just behind the shoulders.  This was my first time using a jacket that features this material, and at first, I was unsure that the material would make a large difference in performance.  Upon testing the jacket I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Gore Stretch added an extended range of motion in the shoulders.  I found that while wearing a pack the stretch panels really helped free the material around the shoulders and back when I needed to reach down to remove my climbing skins or adjust my boot buckles.

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Design features such as pockets and zippers were fairly well thought out, however, I did find one feature to be lacking.  The zipper pull tabs on the pockets and pit zips were rather small and hard to use with gloves on.  After multiple failed attempts to grasp the pull tabs with gloves on, I resorted to taking off my gloves each time I needed to pull the zipper tab.  It is worth noting that despite the trouble getting into some of the pockets there are A LOT of pockets to choose from, which was nice for storage. 

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Weight/Packability

As mentioned above, the jacket is very light due to the fabric used.  When I needed to carry this jacket in my backpack I did not even notice the additional weight added to my pack.  The jacket also packs down extremely small and does not take up much room in a pack.

Function/Performance

Compared to other shells I have used, the Brangus jacket excelled particularly well in two regards: breathability and freedom of movement.  I am not one to start my uphill journey in a gore-tex shell due to the lack of breathability, however, the extremely lightweight C-Knit Gore membrane combined with the Gore stretch panels on the back and large pit zips under the arms allowed me to keep this jacket on while traveling uphill as well as skiing back down. 

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Durability/Construction

The jacket is constructed well and seems like it is fairly durable.  The membrane used is somewhat on the thinner side so it is unlikely that I would take this jacket skiing inbounds in tight trees.  The durability of the jacket seems appropriate given its intended use as a backcountry shell. 

blackyak-brangus-jacket-review-dirtbagdreams.com

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Michael works with the Oberalp group of companies (Dynafit, Salewa, Wild Country, Pomoca) in Boulder, Colorado.  When not working with gear, reading about gear, or dreaming about gear, he can normally be found using gear around the Rockies in various capacities.  Originally from San Diego, he can tell you a thing or two about the secret to a good burrito.  Connect with him on Instagram @michael.casarrubia.

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