I am a grimy man. In the course of my work as a custodian and tail-guide at Valhalla Mountain Touring, one of my main objectives is to not require multiple costume changes daily and to make a fairly seamless transition from scrubbing toilet bowls in the a.m hours to shredding Ruby Bowl before noon. The Eddie Bauer Ignitelite Stretch Reversible Jacket from Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent collection has been a great addition to my wardrobe.
Eddie Bauer Ignitelite Stretch 900 Fill
Unlike many full-fledged puffies, the Eddie Bauer Ignitelite Stretch’s nylon exterior isn’t so flimsy that it requires a constant Tuck Tape butler, and the occasional errant spark has yet to engulf me in flames.
Without going into too much detail on the dirty jobs front, most of my base layers and work specific garments are black. Whether this was the original factory finish or the result of soot, smoke, filth and grease is anybody’s guess, but the end result is the same.v
It’s not a 900 fill parka, rather, it’s a great gap filler between a technical midlayer and a committed down or synthetic puffy. It’s comfortable to tour in when mid-gale, and a welcome addition when waiting on your group or chugging along in the role of the expedition caboose.
See, tail-guide means back of the train. A little extra warmth can go a long way.
The back of the train also translates into near constant snacking, and as Mr. Spilly Hands knows, eating whilst touring can be a messy endeavor. Fortunately, this Ascent unit is totally reversible! It’s like unsightly mustard stains and self-draining sinuses never even happened, a quick inversion of jet black to gray one of the best features of this garment. A single, zippered chest pocket comes in handy, too, big enough to fit your walkie when zipper-out, or commodious enough to keep your ailing cell battery alive, against your chest when worn zipper-in.
The reinforced stretch fabric at wrists is great, too, my frustration with puffy-esque layers often stemming from how flimsy the fabric is at critical, high-friction interfaces.
Not to keep bringing this back to the black (and/or gray), but one improvement or option I would have liked in the unit I’ve written up here is a bright, contrasting color as opposed to either the black or gray reversible option- That is, whether participating in a rescue/emergency scenario, or in the event of a genuine emergency, visibility can be extremely important and a contrast color (say, red, yellow or orange) that pops against the snowpack would be great.
The Eddie Bauer Ignitelite Stretch Reversible Jacket ($229) fit was true to size, the fabric could take a modest beating (and continues to) and I would happliy add one of these to my regular outgoing kit. The hood is roomy enough to fit your helmet-having dome (if a low-profile helmet, not a Spaceball), and the insulation factor is bang on for a variety of prospective in-field circumstances.