Home > Apparel

Down jacket is rare combo of Waterproof, Warm, Breathable

Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Heavy, wet snow plopped onto the puffy, down-insulated jacket I wore up the chairlift, but I didn’t give it a second thought. With the Eddie Bauer First Ascent BC MicroTherm Down Jacket 2.0 wet snow, sleet, and even light rain are non-issues.

Unlike most down-insulated jackets, the BC MicroTherm is fully waterproof. It has a DWR-coated fabric that water beads on. The jacket is rated to the same 20k/20k waterproof-breathability spec as many technical hard shells.

The author, left, tests the BC MicroTherm Down Jacket 2.0 on a warm powder day

Simply put, this is a down jacket and shell layer in one garment. It was designed for high-output activities in cold weather. It breathes well, maintains loft with 800-fill European goose down, and it is burly enough to block the elements as a winter mountain shell.

Eddie Bauer BC MicroTherm Down Jacket 2.0.

Large pockets double as huge heat-dumps on the chest — you can open them to expose a mesh and vent the body when hot. I found that they are quick and effective in cooling off during and after heavy exertion.

The jacket was designed with climbers in mind. Its large hood fits over a ski or climbing helmet. The big pockets provide plenty of room for water, snacks, maps, and other essentials.

Pockets are placed a bit higher and out of the way of a harness or backpack belt. Its zippers are waterproof. It has a streamlined fit and weighs only about 20 ounces.

A down puffy and shell layer in a single jacket

Fabric durability is fine but not bomber — the shell material is tough but also light and thin enough to allow the down to loft inside. My test period of a few weeks showed a small cut where a ski edge rubbed the material, which I doubt would have happened with a heavier shell material.

Inner down baffles

But overall I am very happy with this piece. It’s a fair deal, too, at $299. Jackets of this type often can cost easily $100 more.

The BC MicroTherm works great as a ski parka or winter mountaineering piece that provides both insulation and weather protection. While it won’t replace a rain jacket or a dedicated shell layer for spring weather, I was impressed with the versatile design that can keep you both warm and dry.

—Sean McCoy

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.