eVent-shelled down, properly waterproof zips and a new shell from specialist climbing brand.
You may or may not be familiar with Crux
if you're not, in a few words they're a dedicated, minimalist climbing
brand specialising in stripped-down clothing and equipment aimed at
hardcore climbers and mountaineers. And we've just had a look at their
current and future range.
We've been using one of their early Flak eVent shell jackets for a
couple of years now and it's a firm favourite when gnarliness is on the
cards, being light, simple, very effective and, erm, black. Since than,
Kiwi Carol McDermott, who runs Crux in a one-man band stylee, has added
to the range and it's all very interesting looking stuff... And with DMM taking over distribution for the brand in the new year, the kit should be much easier to find.
Plasma Jacket - £275
The Plasma is pretty unique being an eVent-shelled down
jacket that still manages to weigh in at a feathery 530 grammes. The
filling is 165g of 750+ fill power white Polish goose down held in
v-baffles which in turn are welded to the outer shell, so there's no
stitching involved. Hood is removable with a wired peak, though it's
not sized to fit a helmet.
The zips are Riri Aquazips and are genuinely waterproof rather
than just water resistant thanks to interlocking plastic teeth. Don't
let that confuse you into assuming that the Plasma is designed for wet
weather wear. In proper rain, chances are that the down will eventually
get wet with water getting through the hood opening, but the idea is
more to cope with heavy snow, meltwater drips and the like in alpine
situations. Not that you couldn't wear it to the pub anyway... Also
available in red. Priced at £260 right now and £275
in the spring.
Halo Jacket - £120
The new Halo Jacket is also down, this time a pull-on with
110g of the same white Polish 750+ goose down as the Plasma. Unlike the
Plasma, it's intended as a pure layering piece with a sewn-through,
quilted construction holding the down in place.
The fabric is 15-denier Nylon and at 250 grammes in total
it's an ultra-lightweight but warm thermal stand-by.
Admittedly it doesn't look quite as sexy as Rab's new Microlight range
with their horizontal micro-baffles, but claimed weight is around 70
grammes less than the Rab equivalent, albeit with 15 grammes less
filling. As with the Rab version, we'd suggest that it's best suited to
cold, high, dry mountain use or needs careful storage and use to avoid
the doom of dampness.
Torq Jacket - £240
The original Crux shell jacket was the Flak, which used
highly breathable eVent fabric in a simple design including a
comprehensive hood and two massive Napoleon pockets. The Torq Jacket
similar slim cut, but is made from a lighter version of eVent which
drops the weight to a claimed 435 grammes compared to 520 grammes for
Other differences include more conventional chest pockets, which still
clear a harness or pack belt, but can be used as handwarmers if you
want. Unlike the Flak, the hood has a laminated, stiffened peak rather
than a wired one. Finally, as with the Plasma, the zips are chunky
Swiss-made Riri Aquazips which give much better water resistance than
standard 'water-resistant' zips and has a zip-pull that looks like a
Unusually the Torq is manufactured in Canada. Also, taller than average
folk might like to note that the medium and large sizes of the Torq are
also available in an extra long version, though you may have to ask
your Crux stockist to order one in for you.
We've got a new Torq on test and we'll let you know how it gets on over
winter, but if it's as good as the Flak, it should be a winner.
For more Cruz details, see www.crux.uk.com