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Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody - Women's Review
Cons: Expensive, not as wind-resistant, oversized hood
The Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody is a heartbreaker. It has some of the best down, best materials, and best construction we have seen in down jackets. Two fatal flaws dropped our ranking of this jacket from possible award-winner to non-award-winner: the price and the hood. It is by far the spendiest jacket in our lineup at $575. But if all had been perfect, this might have been passable. The fatal blow? The oversized hood. The Men's Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody hood fit our male testers better and thus won a Top Pick Award.
RELATED REVIEW: The 11 Best Down Jackets for Women
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Canada Goose cuts no corners when it comes to quality with its Hybridge Lite hooded jacket. The down is super light, high quality 800 fill Hutterite white goose down. The outer material is rugged and feather-light 10 denier nylon, water and abrasion resistant. The fit is sleek and comfortable. And the added fleece stretch side panels make the jacket fit like a sweatshirt--but it still looks sharp enough to wear around town.
Overall, however, the jacket was a bit deceiving. It had the look of an ultralight jacket, but it carries a few more ounces in fleece. This added significant comfort, but at a cost to warmth: wind easily pierces the Tensile-Tech fleece side panels.
But in the end, it was one fatal flaw that shot down any hope of one of our top awards: the absurdly oversized and non-adjustable hood. What could have reigned our down jacket category instead was buried and lost in the rubble.
All of this said, we still felt the cost-benefit ratios of the jacket worked in its favor, and we would not write this jacket off as a potential award winner in the future if something could be done about that ridiculous hood. And maybe the cost.
Warmth is not the highest priority of the Hybridge Lite--it is, after all, a "lite" jacket. The use of very high quality 800 fill Hutterite white goose down, however, ensures that it provides maximal warmth (in its high loft) for the weight of the jacket.
Hutterite down is also purported to be sustainably and ethically produced. Downmark, a non-profit organization that informs the Down Association of Canada says:
"To raise birds with the highest and best yields, the Hutterites maintain free range flocks in large fields in the vast Canadian Prairies. They have found that birds raised to maturity in a good environment grow larger, and have better meat. They have been raising geese and ducks for generations, and the results are the most sought after poultry products, down and feathers. While Downmark® does not formally inspect Hutterite farms, it is well known through visits by our members that live plucking does not occur. Live plucking is an unacceptable practice."
It's always nice when ethics and quality align.
The Tensile-Tech stretchy fleece on the sides and underarms is also a source of heat loss, especially in the wind, making this a great insulating jacket to layer under a wind, rain, hard, or soft shell jacket, and a great layer for aerobic activities. The Hybridge Lite readily dumps excess heat when you are on the move. This is a great feature, as it prevents you from getting sweaty, so that when you stop moving it is easier to thermoregulate, even if it is a little breezy.
This function is the polar opposite of the Columbia Platinum 860 TurboDown Hooded Jacket - Women's, which reflects any heat right back to you. Or should we say, it is equatorial opposite? The TurboDown jacket was a tropical sweat factory, no matter how slowly we walked. We think it makes more sense for a down jacket to expel excess heat, like the Hybridge Lite, rather than radiating your own heat back to you and increasing the warmth exponentially, as in the TurboDown.
The Hybridge Lite has the feel of an ultralight down jacket, but the numbers don't agree. At just over 11 ounces (in an extra small), it is on par with some of our more mid-range, affordable down jackets such as the MontBell Frost Smoke Parka - Women's. The Tensile-Tech side panels likely account for this up-tick in weight, but overall we appreciated the comfort and breathability that these fleece panels provided.
The Hybridge Lite is among the better jackets in this review at repelling water. The fleece is not, of course, but the nylon outer is a relatively high performer in this category. We particularly liked that the fleece side panels through the armpits allow you to dump excess heat if you are hiking (or otherwise moving and generating heat) in this jacket. This reduces the chances of your down getting sweaty, which can reduce its loft and thus its warmth. Sweating in a down jacket will also put some of our bodies' oils on the feathers, which reduces its loft over time.
The very high quality 800 fill Hutterite white goose down is highly compressible, making this jacket stuff down into a very small and manageable package. The Tensile-Tech side panels are not as compressible as the down, but it does not dramatically increase the bulk of the jacket, either. Canada Goose found a nice balance between comfort and compressibility with the fleece panels, without sacrificing too much of its compressibility.
Perhaps we are prudish, but our reviewers did not appreciate the lollypop-head look of the oversized hood on this jacket. This sizing anomaly surprised our reviewers. Given the very high price tag and the otherwise attractive and svelte design, we expected something closer to athletic perfection--not Little Red Riding Hood.
The soft hand and smooth stitching on this jacket made snagging and ripping a very minimal issue. Often, we find, the most commonly snagged and roughed-up part of our jacket is on the insides of the arms. On this jacket, much of that space is made up of fleece, which doesn't eject down feathers when snagged. The seam between fleece and nylon/down is very low profile and smooth, so we did not have any snagging issues whatsoever, but it would be on our radar as a concern over the long term.
The mid-sized teeth of this jacket's plastic zippers are a pleasure to use, and far more durable (and easier to use) than metal zippers, or smaller gauges of plastic. Plastic zippers will not bend out of place or wear down like metal zippers. The Columbia Platinum 860 TurboDown on the other hand, gave us nothing but trouble with its tiny zipper teeth and tiny zipper pull.
The hood was so big that there was still too much room while wearing a climbing helmet. Without adjustable cords or velcro to tighten the hood in key areas, even the slightest breeze would inflate the hood around our ears, channeling the cold air to our ears, with the stronger gusts chilling us as far as our shoulders and upper back.
We love the double Napoleon pockets (named for the man himself, and his habit of tucking his hand into his chest pocket for photos). These are immensely handy for important items, slips of paper you don't want crumpled or crushed, a GPS or watch, etc. and they make items easy to access if you are wearing a harness.
The inner mesh pocket is also very user-friendly. It is a great, quick place to stash your gloves or anything else you want to keep warm and dry.
The medium gauge zippers are smooth and durable, with a large, bi-directional zipper that is easy to manipulate with gloves on. The Tensile-Tech fleece side panels running along the side of the torso and the inside of the arms (to the thumb loops) makes this jacket as comfortable as your favorite sweatshirt. It also makes it a great insulating mid-layer because it readily dumps excess heat through those side panels. There are thumb loops in the fleece which are great to seal out the elements a little more, or keep the sleeves in place as you pull layers on over the jacket. The arms are also long enough that our reviewers were able to use the thumb loops and still have full range of motion in the arms.
The jacket stuffs into its left pocket, which is labeled a "pillow pocket." It is far too tiny to be a pillow, especially if your head is big enough for the giant hood on this jacket, but it does make a nice little package that is very manageable on the back of a harness or clipped to a backpack or messenger bag. The carabiner clip loop, however, is made of the same nylon as the outer material, and does not inspire confidence when dangling several hundred feet in the air on the side of a steep rock climb.
Overall, given the thoughtful design of this jacket, it was primarily the hood that came as a serious disappointment--the rest of the jacket fulfilled so many of our down jacket dreams.
The Hybridge Lite is a relatively good mid-layer insulating jacket for technical climbs and skiing--the only hassle is the giant hood which, when layering this jacket under a shell jacket, can bunch up and get in the way. A jacket of this size and weight would be better served with a snug hood that can fit underneath a helmet instead of over a helmet.
"Patagucci" has a nice ring to it, but "Canada Gucci," may be a more appropriate allusion in this review. The major problem for our reviewers was the ill-fitting hood; had this feature been spot-on, it likely would have been an award winner, despite the shocking price tag. The rest of the jacket, however, was made of very high-quality materials, with thoughtfully placed pockets and durable zippers. It is cut nicely to allow range of movement in the mountains, while still looking attractive back in town. But it has one fatal flaw, and we cannot say it is worth all $575.
(To be read with a Canadian accent)
The hood is no good, that's pretty much it
It sails in the wind, and ruins the fit
Sincerely we hope Canada Goose fleshes out
The ill-fitting hood and it's high price, to boot
Though we lack a head sized right to fill that large chasm
Still we are wise enough so as not to fathom
Why one should pay for this coat through the nose
When the hood round the face simply won't close
Hybridge Lite Vest
— Lyra Pierotti
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