Review: Cotopaxi Kumari Ski Jacket
For this test, I took the Kumari out on the slopes in Utah (Alta and Snowbird) as well as in Colorado (Copper Mountain). Conditions varied from mid 50s spring-like slush to near 0, icy wind. A few months later, I took fly fishing on the White River in Arkansas in the pouring rain. Below are my thoughts.
The jacket is made of Polartec NeoShell, a fully waterproof breathable fabric that stretches almost like a waterproof spandex-y material. It has an adjustble hood, powder skirt, and pit zips for venting. The zippers aren’t fully waterproof but I actually preferred that design element because I didn’t have to fight the jacket to get the pit zips open. It has the standard chest map pocket and goggle cloth arm pocket. The Velcro cuffs on the sleeves are angled and very wide so you can cinch over your gloves, or tuck into your gloves. There’s a bunch of media slits for cords and what not, but I didn’t mess around with that stuff since I have a Bluetooth headset that’s integrated into my helmet.
Overall, functionality wise, it’s a straight forward ski shell that’s stretchy. Very nice!
Design and Aesthetic ★★★★
At one point while fly fishing, I had the hood down and thought to myself, “When I pull this hood up, I’m going to get a rush of cold water down my back.” Good thing Cotopaxi thought this through for me. The hood has a collar that blocks water from pooling up and flooding inside. Whoever was responsible for that design move, high five!
The ergonomics of the jacket work great. You don’t have to fight the zippers (like honestly, why is it necessary to make the pit zip zippers so hard to zip). The arms are looser than other European fit shells where if you’re wearing a midlayer, the jacket is jammed all up under your pits. Amazing what just a little space under the arms does for comfort.
My favorite part of the jacket were the relatively subdued color combination. The blue and khaki combo is more subtle than my other ski shells making a much more suitable rain jacket for fly fishing. Fish get spooked when they see a neon red big thing approaching their water.
The one complaint I had was that the rain didn’t bead off nicely like you see in those close up shots. I’d say 90% of the water did bead off but the 10% that didn’t, didn’t soak through the jacket (otherwise the jacket wouldn’t be waterproof) but just kind of left a discoloration of wetness. That’s not the complaint – I could care less if it just looked wet but wasn’t wet. The complaint is that when I was fly fishing, and this probably doesn’t happen as much with skiing, the impurities in the water eventually evaporated and because the water didn’t bead off, the impurities stayed on the jacket, leaving discolorations. Again, minor complaint. Who cares as long as it keeps my dry right?
I spent a lot of time on the snow practicing jumps and tricks and as a result, took a few spills. The material seemed to resist abrasion but over time, I could see a stretchy softer material eventually fraying. Otherwise, in terms of construction, the seams are all fully taped but taped well, and because of its slightly looser fit, will handle wear longer.
$390 bucks for a fully waterproof breathable NeoShell jacket is right about mid-range for comparable jackets – not on the lowest end, but also not the highest end. But for me, because this jacket doubles as a fly fishing rain jacket, it’s a steal. Perhaps the best value for this jacket is that each purchase contributes to a non-profit in Nepal called HealthandEd4Nepal.
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