It takes an innovative product—one that truly meets a need for outdoor athletes and adventurers—to earn "Gear Of The Year" kudos from places like Outside Magazine. And the Cathode Hooded Jacket and Cathode Vest—both available for men and women—certainly fill in a gap. For moving fast in cold, damp environments, these jackets take the cake.
The thing about mountain weather is, it changes fast. Whether you're out for an all-day (or multi-day) trail run or up your third pitch of a granite wall when the clouds blow in, you need protection that will keep you warm, but will move with you and never leave you clammy. "We worked hard to create a piece that fit all the demanding needs of athletes in changing weather conditions," says product manager Alex Lauver.
The key to the Cathode series' success lies partly in its hybrid mapping. The Cathode armors you in lightweight, weather-shedding PrimaLoft Gold insulation in the front, back, arms and hood. But stretchy windproof Schoeller® fabric in the underarm and side panels lets you shed excess heat, and also be flexible enough to reach for that next crimp. "Primaloft is well known for some of the best, most efficient synthetic insulations on the market," Lauver says. "And the new stretchy side panels are also more wind resistant than previous iterations."
The hybrid mapping also keeps the fit trim and the bulk low, so the jackets and vests are perfect for stashing in a backpack side pocket during the approach—and also for layering. Athletes love using the Cathode Vest or Cathode Hooded Jacket in combination with a hard shell for skiing, ice climbing or any day up high where the weather can be iffy.
The Pertex® Quantum 100% nylon 22D ripstop outer shell fends off moisture and also stands up to a beating, which is key for alpine ascents—or descents. Plus the newly redesigned hood is big enough to fit a helmet, and features more adjustibility. The hood is also insulated, providing extra protection for when you're on chilly belay duty or transitioning to ski mode.
But the Cathode's designers didn't stop there—they dug into the details. LIke the internal front stormflap and the drawcord hem with a hook attachment inside the jacket, for extra weather protection when the wind kicks up. Or the lefthand pocket that's designed to be used as a stuff sack for the jacket when you just need it to be out of the way. A clip for your car or house keys and a carabiner loop for hooking to your harness round out the thoughtful little additions.
For even more versatility, we've added the Men's and Women's Cathode Vest to the line. Also hybdrid mapped and trim fitted, the vests provide the perfect amount of protection on cold-weather trail runs, or a light boost of warmth underneath a rain shell when you're working hard and just need a touch of insulation.
"We designed the cathode to be a great, versatile layer that can serve as a light outer jacket or under a shell or heavier insulation piece in cold conditions," Lauver explains. "We hybridized the design to have more breathable stretchy panels under the arms and on the sides for ease of motion and better comfort range on days when the temp warms up later in the day."
Mountain guide Emilie Drinkwater layers a Chathode vest with a flannel and jeans for around town, and says the Cathode Hooded Jacket has become her go-to for just about everything. "This updated version of the Cathode is my favorite jacket—ever," she says. "I received this in September and have worn it 80 percent of the days between then and now (November). It's a perfect mid-weight, synthetic jacket that can be worn for everything from rock climbing to ski touring."
Header photo by Patitucci Photo.