FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket ReviewMay 27, 2017
- Good breathability
- Four season utility
- Bomber weatherproofing
- Made in Canada
- No wrist adjustment
- Less packable than most summer shells
- No hand pockets
The FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell is a double duty jacket that is slightly heavier than most summer jackets and slightly less protective than some ski shells. With careful layering, the few ounces difference on this jacket makes it a great value for a multi-season jacket. Designed by an ex-Canadian national team snowboarder, this highly versatile jacket is made in Canada and comes with all the quality and attention to detail we expect from North American manufacturing.
The 40 Denier face fabric of the FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket matched with the eVent membrane is burlier than what most manufacturers would use for a three season shell. That’s because this is actually a four-season jacket. That means it’s more than ready for the rigors of spring and summer use with a large, easy adjust hood and a high chin guard for hunkering into gnarlier conditions.
The heavier face fabric restricts the breathability to a certain extent, but the FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket compensates with pit zips. The net result is average breathability compared to other spring and summer shells.
FA Designs paid careful attention to the little features on its FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket. Everything is easy to use with gloves on. For instance, the hem adjustment points are big and well marked. The two Napolean pockets sit outside the jacket, so rather than gobbling internal space, they are independent. It’s a small touch that makes a difference when the pockets are stuffed full. We missed hand pockets on this jacket and would have liked wrist adjustments as well. The jacket uses partial hand sleeves, which are great for cold weather, but are hot and limiting when its warmer or wet.
As mentioned above, the face fabric on the FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket doubles up the utility of what we normally see on summer shells. That translates into better wind protection but also more durability in the face of heavy use, grime and abrasion.
At almost a pound, the FA Design 3L Subsonic Hardshell Jacket is on the heavy side compared to other summer shells, and the 40 Denier fabric is nowhere near as packable. But as a four-season shell, it’s actually super lightweight.