Red Fox Men’s Down Shell Insulated Jacket ReviewOctober 4, 2019
- Very warm, even in the coldest resort conditions.
- Insulated & adjustable helmet-compatible hood
- Excellent mobility without feeling loosely fit
- Windstopper keeps the wind out
- Manages temperature well with 700 fill down
- Not fully waterproof
- Not as many bells & whistles as other brands
- Leaks down feathers
The Red Fox Down Shell Jacket features 700 fill down and Gore Windstopper Active Shell. It’s goose down insulation provides a light and soft feel and the nylon interior lining is surprisingly comfortable, even next to skin. I was very pleased with the performance of the jacket and its ability to both block wind from the outside and keep heat inside. Down insulation is some of the warmest available in a resort ski jacket. The Windstopper outer shell is not a waterproof membrane, but I found it plenty water resistant to withstand steady snowfall. Additionally the zippers are seam sealed, keeping water and snow from finding its way in. My only other complaint, other than a lack of being fully waterproof, was that the material had a tendency to allow down feathers to leak out, but not so many that I think it’ll affect performance.
The Red Fox Down Shell is a little light on features but provides solid performance for a resort jacket. It comes with a cinchable waist and extended wrist gaiters with thumb holes allowing you to seal out snow and cold. The insulated hood has three different points of adjustment and a semi-rigid brim that was an especially nice touch. The large outside pockets are perfectly placed for those of us who carry a pack, even on resort days. The internal chest pocket on the left side is nice for electronics whose battery would suffer in the cold. Two features that many other heavily insulated jackets we’ve tested had that the Red Fox was missing were a full powder skirt and integrated RECCO reflectors. However neither of these were features were ones that testers thought were essential in a resort jacket.
The Red Fox jacket uses 700 down fill, so it’s a bit unfortunate that the exterior shell is not totally waterproof. That said, it did perform well in varying snowy conditions and its breathability was excellent — so the tradeoff is likely worth the price. The external seam sealing is a unique feature that helps ensure its water resistance.
The challenge faced with a heavily insulated jacket is balancing its ability to keep you warm while not causing you to overheat when skiing bumps or boot-packing for a few extra powder turns. As I mentioned earlier, the Gore Windstopper Active Shell is highly breathable which translated to excellent temperature control and moisture management. I suspect the effectiveness of this combination is the reason there are no pit-zips or pocket vents. At no point in my testing did I find it difficult to manage temperature simply by adjusting the main front zipper a few inches.
The overall fit and comfort of the Red Fox was very good and the articulated elbows and highly adjustable hood were highlights of this jacket. Mobility wasn’t an issue in this piece and though it is puffy, it isn’t overly so — you won’t look like a marshmallow. It was true to size and not too slim like some European brands can be. You can find an accurate sizing chart on the Red Fox website.
Value & Style
At under $500 the Red Fox Down Shell jacket is a good value for a quality heavily insulated jacket. Considering the 700 fill down insulation, and an excellent warmth to weight ratio, its price is in line with other jackets in this category. The Red Fox has a slimmer, and flattering fit resulting in a pretty stylish jacket. Available in three different colors, I found the dark blue / lime green combo especially appealing. It also comes in a dark gray / red combo and an all dark red color-way.Continue Reading
Tal-ee Roberts- Technology
In addition to being Technical Director and co-founder of the Gear Institute, Tal-ee is a contributor to Gear Tests and News.