At the beginning of the year, we challenged you to show us how you stretch your limits with the new Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jacket... and the results are in. Our four winners took this jacket through brilliant snowfields, soggy forests, and even up one of the Seven Summits – and they have an opinion or two about how it performed.
Here’s what the test team had to say about our do-it-all Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jacket.
Name: Ryan Baptiste
Where you can find Ryan outside: Oliver, British Columbia, Canada
More on Ryan’s EPIC program: @sossepic
Ryan teaches a program called EPIC (Experiential, Project-Based, Indigenous, Community) – designed to engage students in experiential learning outside. Using the wilderness as their backdrop, EPIC classes emphasize group projects in nature for students who will come to understand the First Nations Principles of Learning. Read more about Ryan and his work with EPIC on their website.
What was your favourite thing about the Refuge Hybrid?: Favourite thing so far has to be just how nice it feels when I wear it. I am very impressed on how well the VerticalX insulation keeps you warm. There is also enough room underneath the jacket, so that you can add extra layers when it’s cold and still feel comfortable.
How did you put the Refuge Hooded Hybrid through the ringer?: It has been my new favourite jacket and I wear it whenever I can. I recently took my EPIC class on a snowshoeing trip that lasted for the entire school day. It was a nice winter day and the jacket performed beautifully and exceeded all my expectations. This jacket makes it very easy for you to move around compared to some bigger bulkier jackets.
Name: Alex McClain
Where you can find Alex outside: Brooklyn, New York
Where you can find Alex online: @regretlessred
Alex stretched her limits on a 42-mile thru-hike of the Tecumseh Trail in Indiana, where she never took her Refuge Hybrid off. Watch the full trip report to see how she handled the rain, wind, and cold winter temps!
How did the Refuge Hybrid hold up to your expectations? It beat my expectations. Surprisingly for being a synthetic layer this jacket was super light and packed down nicely – two things I look for when adding to my gear. Lastly, this jacket is super comfortable, kept me warm and dry in various weather conditions.
What’s your favorite thing about this hoody? I have 2 favorites about this jacket that I can’t stop bragging about. I love how convenient the zip chest pocket has been for me, really took advantage of this feature on my Tecumseh thru-hike – having a pack without hip belt pockets used to be a struggle, but with this pocket I can store a couple snacks in there that will keep warm in chilly temps along with my chapstick and phone if needed. My second favorite thing about the Refuge Hybrid is the hood – it fit perfectly with or without a beanie underneath and stayed put in strong winds.
Name: Bryan LaRue
Where you can find Bryan outside: Midland, Michigan
Where you can find Bryan online: @bryanglarue
How did you put the Refuge Hybrid through the ringer? I have used this every day out climbing this winter as a mid weight. It’s got some insulation in the chest and a great pocket to keep the phone warm. During approaches I’ll wear just this with a base layer and the jacket does great for blocking the wind and keeping me from sweating. It’s also been a great outer layer for cold spring runs. I’m able to regulate my heat quite well and when the wind picks up I can throw the hood up and it traps the heat quite well.
What’s next on the Refuge Hybrid adventure list? My ice climbing season only has about 1 week left but the crust skiing season is just starting. This spring I’m looking forward to sun-up to sunset bike rides, lots of sub 24 hour trips, weekend rock climbing and a week-long backpacking trip on Isle Royale National Park.
Name: Irene Dela Pena
Where you can find Irene outside: New York, New York
Where you can find Irene online: @vegan_er_nurse
Irene brought her Refuge Hybrid on a 9-day northern circuit climb of Kilimanjaro. Her favorite thing about the jacket was its balance of ventilation and warmth, and she can’t wait to try it out on her summit bid of Mt. Rainier this July.
Header photo courtesy of Irene Dela Pena. Body photos courtesy of Ryan Baptiste, Alex McClain, Bryan LaRue and Irene Dela Pena.