Strafe Pyramid ReviewAugust 27, 2018
- Breathable & stretchy fabric
- Removable snow skirt
- Wrist gaiters
- Plentiful pockets
- Awkwardly oversized hood
- Heavy fabric
- Abnormally long sleeves
Strafe’s new Pyramid shell utilizes Polartec’s award-winning NeoShell fabric. NeoShell is an ultra breathable, waterproof fabric with a soft feel and 4-way stretch similar to a lightweight version of the popular soft shell fabrics from a few years ago. Testers were pleased with the durability and longevity of the piece, which held color and shape after many abusive days on the slopes. Water resistant zippers and Velcro cuffs help to keep the elements out.
One of the best parts of the Pyramid jacket is the abundance of storage space that it provides. Testers loved all the places to put any goodies needed for a day on the hill. The Pyramid jacket has two massive chest pockets, two zippered hand pockets, and two interior pockets (one zippered pocket, and one open mesh pouch) and a zippered forearm pass pocket. With all that space to store snacks, extra gloves, goggles and a beverage or two, testers never had to worry about having everything they needed when wearing this piece. One of the chest pockets also has a built in pouch for storing a phone, and a headphone port to prevent that unsightly wire from having to run externally and getting in the way. The Pyramid jacket also features a removable snow skirt, extra long pit zips and built in wrist gaiters. Testers did find that the forearm pass pocket was difficult to operate with gloves due to the length of the sleeves, causing excess fabric to pile up and the zipper would then have nothing to pull against—moot though when using an RFID pass. Strafe also fixed a two-way adjustable hood to the pyramid jacket, but testers found it to be grossly oversized.
The Pyramid jacket relies on the new Polartec Neoshell fabric to keep out wind, rain and snow. It did a great job of this, and testers never worried about the durability of the waterproofness of the fabric itself. In periods of exceptionally heavy snowfall, there was a little water spotting on mid layers that appeared along the zipper line, indicating the front zipper and flap let it through.
Testers found that the Neoshell fabric of the Pyramid jacket did provide a fairly breathable product, and had no complaints while skiing in bounds. Where the Pyramid jacket started to fall behind was during aerobic activity, such as ski touring, hiking to advanced terrain or ice climbing. The Pyramid jacket breathed a bit better than expected but just didn’t compare to the incredibly breathable Stio Raymer. The Pyramid jacket did have some help in breathability from its oversized pit zips, which allow plenty of room for body warmed air to escape quickly. When the temperature dropped, the Pyramid performed admirably keeping the wearer warm and dry. Polartec Neoshell is a bit of a denser fabric compared to the traditional ski shell, and as such provides a small amount of insulation, similar to a lightweight softshell jacket. Testers did not find this bulkier fabric to provide enough insulation to wear the piece on its own, but did notice that they did not need to wear as heavy of a mid layer when performing high exertion activities in colder climates as compared to other, more traditional lightweight alpine shells.
The Pyramid jacket definitely lost a few points when it comes to fit, in part due to a few design decisions. The first fit problem that stood out to all of our testers was the size of the attached hood. The hood on the jacket seemed sized for a full face motorcycle helmet, rather than for a ski helmet. One tester was able to pull the hood over his face and all the way to his chest. This meant that when the snow started flying, testers had to fight with a lot of excess fabric on the hood, which resulted in the cinch adjustments on the hood needing to be pulled extra tight just to keep the hood on. The cinch cords would then flap around, being about six inches long in order to keep the hood secured. With a reasonable size hood, testers would have been much more likely to give the Pyramid a higher score on fit. Another issue that testers found was that the sleeves on the Pyramid jacket felt extra long, and as a result, when using the included pass pocket located on the jacket’s forearm, the wearer would often have to hold the sleeve in place with one hand, while pulling on the zipper with the other. This issue defeats the whole purpose of a pass pocket, and meant the wearer would then have to be able to be hands free in order to remove a ski pass that needs scanning. If the resort most frequented by the wearer has made the jump to RFID passes, this would not be an issue, but otherwise was pretty frustrating to deal with.
Style & Value
The Strafe Pyramid jacket has the look and feel of a traditional ski shell. Aside from the oversized hood and long arms, the jacket looks good and should appeal to a wide range of potential buyers. The jacket features clean lines, a solid color, and a small, but simple logo on the left chest pocket. At $599, this piece is by far the most expensive jacket in the test, and testers were a little confused about where such a high price came from. By comparison, the most similar jacket, in both features and style, to the Strafe Pyramid is the Helly Hansen Alpha shell, which comes in at $125 less than the Pyramid jacket. With nearly identical design, look and feel, testers believe the Strafe Pyramid has priced itself out of the competition and will take a very specific customer to make the argument toward such a piece.Continue Reading
Adrianne Bouchard is a triathlete, skier, backpacker and lover of all things outdoors based in the Tahoe area.