Obermeyer Coco Jacket Review
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Finding the right balance between warmth and breathability/ease of movement is always a challenge in cold weather sports apparel. Obermeyer has achieved that elusive combination with its Coco Jacket — not too hot, not too cold. Carving turns on the Beaver Creek slopes with my board, my torso twisted about with ease in this lightweight but snuggly jacket, arms surfing from side to side with no binding whatsoever, thanks to the articulated sleeves and interior stretch panels. It’s got a feminine look, as opposed to the knee-length jackets favored by many snowboarders, but it is absolutely about performance. As a testament to the Coco’s style, a woman two rows away from me in the lift line yelled “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT JACKET? I WANT ONE!”
Suffering as Coloradans must in feather-light powder (sarcasm), we frequently have plumes finding their way up our sleeves and waistlines. The Coco’s neoprene inner sleeve liner with thumb tab, which extends all the way into my mitten, completely prevented that, and kept my hands unusually warm and dry. Meanwhile, the snow skirt shielded most of the powder from my torso. As external protection from the snow, the Coco Jacket is 20K waterproof, a rating considered to be totally waterproof, even under pressure.
One explanation for this lightweight jacket’s warmth-yet-breathability is the Cocona fabric. The high-surface-area properties of this scientific fabric remove moisture several times faster than previous performance fabrics, even through multiple layers. Another factor is the body-heat-reflective, wonderfully slippery, silver satin lining. So, those inert periods on the chairlift are not the usual bone-chilling experience in the Coco. Also, I absolutely loved the fact that the Coco’s hood is roomy enough to fit over my helmet, making windy uphill commutes downright pleasant. And sinking into the zipped-up collar when the wind picked up, I discovered cozy fleece against my face and not the usual frozen sandpaper-like fabric. In sum, the Coco’s warmth features are amazingly effective given the jacket’s weight and movement capability.
I like to talk to people, including myself, while sailing down the slopes. But for those who prefer music, the media pockets are smartly designed. Protected from the elements, your music player can stay warm and dry on the inside left panel, while your phone gets its own velvety, easy-access pocket on the right. Mesh pockets hold whatever lip balm, credit cards, tissue and other supplies one may want to cart along.
Leading the nation, not just in fluffy powder, but also in avalanche-related fatalities, we Coloradans know that media pockets are not helpful when buried under a slide. The Coco does its part to minimize one’s stay in such an unfortunate position by incorporating the Recco Avalanche Rescue System right into the jacket itself. A non-powered device, the Recco never loses its signal strength and doesn’t need batteries. So the jacket bounces back the searcher’s radar signal and doubles the frequency, allowing the Recco detector to locate a burial.
Suggestions for improvement: I’m a big fan of double zippers, as I like to vent from all sides without having the jacket flap open – and the Coco only has a bottom-up zipper. However, the breathable Cocona fabric, as well as extra-long “pit zips”, make ventilation very effective anyway. Also, the waterproof external zippers are very sticky, so that I often had to use two hands and take off a mitten to access them. Unless I were going to wear the Coco in a rainstorm, I’d rather have less waterproofing in favor of an easily gliding zipper.
Bottom line: I bought a brand new snow jacket at the end of last season, by another manufacturer, but now don’t think I’ll bother to take the tags off. The Coco is really everything I need: warmth with breathability, comfortable movement, convenient features and just pure style.
The Obermeyer Coco Jacket is available in sizes 2-18, with six colors to choose from: Black, Jade, Sapphire, True Red, Waterfall (blue/white) and White (white/red).
For more info on the Coco Jacket and other Obermeyer products, visit www.backcountry.com.
[Editor’s Note: Review by Maureen U.]