I have been looking forward to testing out GORE-TEX Active Shell along with something from the new Adidas Outdoor collection. In response, Adidas was nice enough to send me the women's Terrex Swift 3-in-1 GORE-TEX Jacket to try out during my ice climbing trip to Canada earlier this month.
Encouraged by a couple years success in Europe, Adidas Outdoor is now entering the U.S. market for Fall 2011 with a line of outerwear and base layers. Divided into two segments, Terrex is the "Mountainsport" brand, designed for light and fast high-performance activities.
The Terrex Swift 3-in-1 GTX jacket combines a GORE-TEX Active Shell outer jacket with a detachable PrimaLoft insulated inner jacket. The two jackets are held together by various snap closures on the cuffs, hem and collar. These snaps come in super handy for keeping the inner jacket from riding up as you climb and getting all messed up in your harness.
Active Shell is the new GORE-TEX Laminate technology that combines a lighter, thinner GORE-TEX membrane with fine denier performance textiles to deliver a lightweight, super breathable and fully windproof and waterproof 3-layer hardshell for active outdoor pursuits.
The inner jacket features 60 grams of PrimaLoft Sport insulation with fleece side panels for extra breathability and moisture wicking capability. Both the inner and outer jacket feature two hand pockets, while the outer jacket has an adjustable, helmet-compatible hood.
I love the concept of a 3-in-1 jacket and for ice climbing, I wore my Terrex Swift with just a wool base layer beneath. The Active Shell jacket and even the jacket as a whole is super lightweight, much lighter than even my GORE-TEX XCR hardshell I have previously used for mountaineering.
Although GORE-TEX Active Shell is definitely lighter and more breathable than current GORE-TEX fabrics, I am still not convinced it can beat a softshell for highly active pursuits where bad weather is not so much of an issue. On the long hike into one of our climbs, I had to stop and strip off the outer Active Shell jacket as I was really overheating.
With the outer jacket on, I also found myself sweating quite a bit when climbing. The inner and outer jacket combination did move moisture rather quickly, however, as soon as I stopped for awhile, meaning I never did get cold.
All that sweat combined with nylon based fabrics means you do have the stink factor to worry about. After a full day of climbing and hiking, I needed to wash both the inner and outer jacket.
Bottom Line: The Terrex Swift 3-in-1 GORE-TEX Jacket is a great option where speed and minimalism are key and where you also want the hardshell performance in case of inclement weather. Maybe not for ice climbing on a nice day but definitely if it is windy, snowing or if you are heading up Rainier, Denali, Mont Blanc or some other mountain where you know the weather could turn brutal at any moment.
The wonderfully colorful Adidas Outdoor apparel is surprisingly well tailored to fit the female form and has a more athletic fit. This means if you are normally between sizes, I would suggest possibly ordering a size up. My Medium fit well with just a base layer (although short in the arms as usual) but I might feel a bit more comfortable in a Large.
The Terrex Swift 3-in-1 GORE-TEX Jacket comes in both a men's and women's version and will retail for $495, available next Fall.