New from British mountaineering microbrand Crux is an uncompromising sub-500 gramme eVENT mountaineeering shell and matching pant, but are you trim enough to fit it?
If you read last week's editorial
rant you'll know that we're occasionally exasperated by
technical mountaineering garments which are cut so loosely that they
actually detract from the function of the clothing...
as if by magic, Adam van Lopik - right - of specialist British climbing kit
brand Crux turned up on the OUTDOORSmagic editorial doorstep
with some trail samples of his new climbing shell jacket and pants
for us to have a look at.
Crux is best known for its minimal packs and tents, but the
company's been looking at producing similarly stream-lined clothing
for the past three years. They believe that a close fit is essential,
so they've developed their own cut over that time.
They also reckon that the majority of 'real mountaineers' vary
more in height than in build, so their kit doesn't get noticably
wider as it goes up the size range, just longer. Crux accepts that
this means not everyone will be able to wear their clothing, but they
'We believe that most real climbers and mountaineers will find
they are the best they've tried'.
That's a pretty serious claim, so what's the kit like?
Crux Flak Jacket
Crux is committed to eVENT, the fabric we rate as the most
breathable waterproof out there, so the Flak Jacket uses that
material in a medium weight, but tough grade.
It's a minimalist design with two bloody great chest pockets,
which you can't see in the pics, a generous length for protection -
no American boxiness here - a scoop-cut droptail at the back and a
full-mountain hood with wired peak, which will also take a
In an extensive kitchen try-out, we found the medium was a near
perfect fit on our near perfect - ahem - medium-sized body. It's
longish, but cut very slim and would be a perfect fit for us over a
close-fitting microfleece or similar.
The pockets are roomy but not intrusive and build quality feels
good. The hood uses a single vertical adjustment cord at the rear and
we wondered whether it would move with an un-helmeted head. The good
news is that it does if you cinch up the front adjustment cords and
that the well-designed peak and roomy hood feel like they'll offer
great side-on protection.
Weight is an impressive 467 grammes on the trusty OM scales
which is pretty damn good for a longish, full-on technical jacket.
Yes, the close cut means that it won't suit some users, but
mountaineers with a slim to medium athletic build should find it an
excellent fit. Price, when it's available this autumn, should be
Crux Flak Pant
principles that shaped the jacket have been carried over to the
company's matching eVENT Flak Pant, though maybe even more so. At a
guesstimate, Adam reckoned we might need a large size in the pant,
despite having a 32-inch waist. Well, I reckon I'm just
As it turns out, the medium was a perfect if close fit with
slim-cut legs for neatness and efficiency and a nicely snug wrap
around the butt area. Surprisingly, the pant still felt unrestrictive
and high steps were easy enough. Really wide bridging might stress
the hip/crotch area, but then again we might split in two
Adam admits that the pants may fit only 60 per-cent of potential
buyers and are a little more uncompromising than the jacket, so we
suspect that may change a little for the production run. A couple of
nifty stretch panels might sort out the issue, though eVENT stretch
isn't available yet.
The pants themselves are simple with a three-quarter length
side-zip using water-resistant zips, a neat scuff pad on the inside
of the ankle and an internal daisy chain at the cuff so you can run
some shock cord under the sole if you like. The main obvious change
we'd make would be a double-ended zip on the side zips so you could
use them to vent the thigh area on those hot alpine glacier
There are no braces, but a high waist and thin internal web belt
seem to hold things in place okay. Weight is around the same as the
jacket at 450 grammes and the projected price will be
If you see Crux clothing out on the hill now it's part of the
limited trial run which will be available from a small number of
specialist retailers shortly - Rock and Run for example - with a full
production run mooted for this autumn. We'll be using the Flak Jacket
and Pants ourselves over the next few months and will update you on
how we get on.
For more information see www.crux.uk.com
Discuss this story
I see that there was going to be some testing done on the Crux Flak Jacket. How did it go or can anyone else tell me what they thought. I'm thinking about updating my old Karrimor XCR to one of these but it would be great to get some views.
Posted: 22/06/2007 at 11:32