Canada Goose is perhaps best known for plush expedition-worthy jackets that protect polar scientists wintering down under at McMurdo Station. Less familiar is the Goose’s relatively new line of hardshells. But a bird’s gotta stay dry. The most recent addition in Canada Goose’s shell game is a racy little number that runs high on sex appeal but bites heavy into the wallet.
We took Canada Goose’s Canyon Shell for a spin this winter to see if it can play as hard as its good looks.
The Gear: Canada Goose Canyon Jacket ($600)
First impressions: Unlike many of the high-end shells on the market today, Canada Goose cuts through the riot of bells and whistles with a svelte but storm-worthy shell. But this doesn’t imply fragility. What it keeps packs a punch that connects with the heart of performance and quality.
Where to test It: Backpacking, hiking, skiing, mountaineering
Who’s It For: Skiers, mountaineers, hikers, and backpackers with thick wallets.
Boring But Important: Manufacturers measure a fabric’s waterproofness in millimeters (mm), measuring how tall a 1-inch column of water needs to be before it breaches the material. Breathability is captured in grams of water vapor that can pass through a square meter (m2) of fabric in a 24-hour period. The larger the number, the more waterproof/breathable the fabric can be. The Canyon’s proprietary three-layer shell boasts a superior waterproof rating of 20,000+ mm and a whopping 35,000g/m2/24hrs vapor transfer rate, surpassing most other big waterproof/breathable players in the market.
Full-Featured: For those of you who can’t decide whether to squeeze the toothpaste from the top or the bottom, the full-suite of two-way zippers will match your bias. A two-way YKK Aquaguard water-repellant main zipper shields the font of the jacket from the elements. Two smaller gauge two-way Aquaguard zippers seal the large (enough to swallow a Gazetteer series atlas) hand pockets.
The jacket settles under the hips, dropping a tad off the backside, appropriately overlapping paired pants or bibs. The sleeves angle off the wrist with similar cut and secure with a simple hypalon-backed Velcro tab. Both the inner cuffs and chin are bonded to a brushed tricot, adding a soft touch where the nylon meets skin. The 3-way adjustable hood snugs a protected (or naked) noggin.
Turning to the inside, long mesh slats line the pockets, spilling therms when things heat up. A third mesh pocket sits under the left chest and sports a “media” port to keep the tunes pounding as you slay winter stash. If you go too far off course, reflective pin striping on the sleeves and hood add visibility.
The Canyon Shell is offered in a rainbow of colors and seven sizes for men and women, 2XS to 3XL, with the men’s medium weighing in at 21oz.
Made in: Toronto, Canada
Killer! We loved the slim fit and its top-shelf water resistant and breathability ratings. But when charging the hill, the Canyon breathed about average with the rest of the pack. Water immediately beaded off the jacket in heavy rain and stayed dry throughout the day even after thrashing around in the brush.
Flaw: For such a superbly constructed jacket, the cuffs felt clunky and un-tailored when strapped closed over the wrists. Fastened too tight, one needs to release the Velcro tab to slip out of the jacket.
And all its good looks and design come at a hefty price. For $600, you could buy a very nice shell and have spare coin to bankroll a matching pair of trousers. But this is the high cost of state-of-the-art facilities that enable a seamless flow from first sketch to final stitch under one roof at the Toronto headquarters.
Who Should Buy It: Those looking for a top-of-the-line hardshell and have a tax return burning a hole in their wallet.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Canada Goose Canyon Shell
—Steve Graepel is a contributor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC