Last weekend I took my new Cocona Xcelerator Test jacket to Mailbox Peak in WA. First impressions: the jacket has a really nice soft texture to it but feels like it’s fairly durable (we’ll have to test it glissading this summer on Rainier). There are no pit-zips which I was worried about but they proved to be unnecessary. Without the pit zips the jacket feels so much more comfortable than other hardshells (ie. Arc’teryx).
We started the hike in about 40 degree sunny weather. I usually hike pretty warm but only needed to unzip the front zipper once to cool off. It took us about 2.5 hours to reach the last 700 foot scramble to the summit. We were climbing through waist deep snow in about 20-30mph winds. I only had a wicking t-shirt on underneath and stayed pretty warm. The Cocona fabric is definitely windproof. It keeps your heat in when you need it and lets it out when you’re hiking hard and need to cool down.
On the way back from the summit, I tripped over a root and slid on my chest down the trail a bit. The jacket didn’t even have a mark on it. I brushed up against many twigs and trees and the material hasn’t showed any sign of wear. I doubt it’s as durable as Gore-Tex Pro Shell material but it’s so, so, so much more breathable.
When we got back to our car I took off my small hydration pack and jacket. I noticed that the outside of my jacket on the back panel was wet. I didn’t remember getting my pack wet anytime on the hike. Then I realized that my sweat had passed through the jacket and the pack had prevented it from evaporating. I’ve never seen this on any other jacket I’ve worn. If this doesn’t show how breathable this fabric is, I don’t know a better test. Check out the pics below to see what I mean.
Cocona claims that this new fabric doesn’t absorb odors. I decided to put their claims to the test on this hike. I wore an unwashed shirt from a previous hike that had pretty bad pit-stink. After the hike, unfortunately, the pits of the jacket did smell like the shirt and I had to wash it. I’m not sure if this is too much to expect from the Cocona material, but I’ll keep you updated on regular use and how it absorbs odor without an already nasty shirt.