We had the pleasure of testing out two of Cortazu’s jackets, the Hard Shell (All Round) Outerlayer, and Mid-Layer Mountain jacket. This review will talk about our experience with these jackets while putting them to the test in some really harsh conditions.
Cortazu is a direct to consumer outerwear company with values that we can certainly stand behind. This Amsterdam based company, has earned a highly coveted ISPO Gold Award for a waterproof jacket made from recycled nylon. Partnered with GreenThreads, they developed their 3L stretch fabric made from 100% recycled nylon for their 3-layer hard shell jacket. The nylon comes from post-industrial waste, is extremely durable, waterproof, and breathable.
With a 50 day return policy, money back guarantee, and 10 year warranty, it is clear that they stand behind the quality of their products as well.
We encourage you to learn more about Cortazu’s mission, awards, and values here.
Our Testing Scenarios
Just to show you we actually took the time to use this equipment in test worthy conditions, we wanted to share some of those experiences.
Colorado 14er, La Plata Peak – This hike took us 10+ miles with over 4,500 feet of elevation gain and to a summit height of 14,360 feet (4,377 m). We experienced 50+ mph winds, air temperatures at 0 degrees F, and windchills WAY in the negatives.
Walking around town and going out – Maybe not the roughest conditions, but always important to be sure you can wear your equipment out and around. After all, who doesn’t want to be looking good in your outdoor gear?
Skiing in Colorado – We took the jacket and layers to the slopes to check out some great ski features embedded in.
More – Some smaller hikes around Colorado, around Rocky Mountain National Park, Dream Lake in a blizzard and more.
About The Hardshell Jacket
Features: This jacket has an absurd amount of features that fit all kinds of adventurers. It is clear that the team designing this jacket was thinking about every detail to make a jacket as user friendly as possible. With ski pass holders, a helmet compatible hood, keychain holders, sunglass/camera/ski goggle cleaners built in, phone pockets with headphone cord holes, under-arm zippers for airflow, RECCO avalanche reflector technology, tons of pocket space, and more, we found ourselves finding uses for all of these features.
Material: The Dermazax®EV material is 100% waterproof, windproof, more breathable than Goretex, and other similar materials, and is also extremely comfortable and great feeling to the touch.
Fit: This jacket is meant as an outer layer, so order to your size expecting to put layers below this. We were able to comfortable fit a base layer, and mid layer below this jacket. This leaves enough room for another layer if needed, but also it is not too baggy without other layers. This makes the jacket both functional, and good looking with or without other layers.
In Depth Review
So how did the jacket actually perform? Below, we took a look at some of the most important aspects when considering an outer layer.
Wind, Waterproofing & Temperature Regulation
This was by far the most impressive factor during our testing. With the proper layering, this jacket was comfortable in temperatures ranging from -10 to 40 degrees F. When layered with a mid layer puffy (Cortazu’s Mid-Layer Mountain) the system was extremely effective at blocking out high winds upwards of 50 mph, and keeping our bodies plenty warm. The hood system was a great fit for a balaclava and ski goggles setup. It even fit well with a helmet on for skiing.
While not at high elevation, the Colorado temperatures can be a bit warmer, we were able to test out the jacket during these warmer times as well. Testing out the ventilation zippers below the armpits was great. It allowed for additional air to flow through the jacket, which kept the insides far cooler, and improved the overall versatility of this jacket.
The Feel & Comfort
The Dermazax®EV material has a very high end feel to it. It is very soft to the touch, making it quite comfortable. It is not a heavy friction material, so it easily slides over other layers. The light weight of this jacket also is nice, allowing it to work really well with layers under it, or no layers at all.
As a 5 foot 10 inch tall person, the medium jacket fits perfectly with a base and mid layer under it, but still looks doesn’t feel too baggy with only a t-shirt on underneath it.
The extra length on the backend keeps your butt extra covered. With adjustable wrist cuffs, adjustable hood tightness, and adjustable waist tightness, the jacket is capable of fitting quite a few different body types while keeping the cold and wet weather away from the individual inside.
So many pockets. In winter situations, it is incredibly helpful to have lots of pockets. This jacket doesn’t disappoint with that. Better yet, the zippers for all the pockets are of the highest quality, they don’t get caught, and are completely waterproof. With special pockets for phones, glasses, ski passes, keys, and more, it is extremely versatile.
RECCO technology. As an avid hiker (even in winter) where avalanche risks can be high, it is awesome to know this jacket is embedded with RECCO scanner technology to help keep wearers just a little more safe out on the slopes.
While inspecting the seems of the jacket, you can find extra protection on vulnerable seams to ensure longevity and waterproof capabilities. (see image below)
Helmet compatible hood. It is very nice to be able to pull up your hood with a helmet on, and also still have a fully functioning hood without a helmet. This little added design is a great feature.
Huge chest pockets. These pockets on the chest can hold so much. They are easily accessible, and have a ton of space to keep wallet, phone, keys, or whatever you want in there. This might be our favorite feature of this jacket.
Completely waterproof. This jacket handled snow, ice, and melting snow like a champ. I even hopped in the shower to see if I could get my upper body wet….I couldn’t. I have determined that it is extremely waterproof. More than I can say for my last several rain jackets.
To be quite honest, this is just a really good looking jacket. The nicely fitted design allows it to maintain a great looking shape while remaining comfortable. You’ll look good while adventuring or walking around town.
Overall Rating – 5 Stars
We would give this jacket an absolute 5/5 stars. It is definitely more expensive than many other outer layers out there, but the quality is that of the highest we have used to date. When compared to the absolute top of the line jackets on the market, the price-point is actually lower, and the quality remains equal or better. If you are looking for a perfect skiing outer layer, or something great for some winter mountaineering, this is a perfect fit. The high quality materials and endless features make the larger investment worth it.
Cortazu Jackets can be found on their website.
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