When I tried the Strafe Nomad Jacket, it was a typical early spring day in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. The temperature was in the mid to high twenties and of course, the wind was blowing probably 5-10 miles per hour. It was a great day for long skin and to see how Strafe handled the elements.
Strafe Nomad Jacket Review
The Strafe Nomad Jacket is well equipped to handle the backcountry and the number of temperature changes that a skier sees while skinning and skiing. While putting the Strafe Nomad on, the first thing I noticed was the cuffs. they have a built-in thumb and wrist cover that is very stretchy and is sewn on to the sleeves themselves. I thought that this might interfere with my gloves that have a cuff on them, but the thumb and wrist cover is a good 5 or 6 inches long and provides plenty of space to allow for cuffed gloves. Between this internal cover and the outer cuff which is adjustable via a Velcro strap, your hands and arms are completely covered and it is nearly impossible to get snow inside the sleeve. Very nice.
The Nomad Jacket has two very large pockets in the front. These pockets are placed in a location that my hands fit nicely into them and were very comfortable. The pockets themselves have a 9-inch opening which allows you easy access to anything that you might have stored. There is also a stash pocket on the left forearm and it is located just on the outside of the arm. This seemed to be the perfect location because anything placed inside comfortably fell to the outside of the arm and was hardly noticeable. The other external pocket is located on the left chest area and the opening was again large enough that it is accessible with gloves on. Inside the pocket is a pouch for an iPod with a taped slit for headphones to access out the top. All of the zippers are fully taped and when closed do not allow any snow to enter.
The Nomad also has a removable powder skirt around the waist. This skirt is equipped with snaps that connect directly to the Strafe Pants creating seamless protection from the elements. With the attached hood and cinchable bottom, you could seemingly withstand gale-force winds and precipitation while staying warm and dry.
On the way up, I was working hard and the nice long pit zips (18 inches on each sleeve) were easy to open in order to regulate my temperature. Any moisture that I got on the outside of the Nomad beaded up and I was completely dry the entire time. The Strafe Nomad Jacket is extremely comfortable and allows for layering underneath without looking bulky.
One of the cool things about Strafe is the ability to pair their pants and jackets. This jacket has a counterpart in the Strafe Nomad Pants.
Once at the top, the pit zips were easily closed and the main zipper was easy to close as well. There are nicely placed fleece patches on the inside of the collar which made for a very comfortable fit on the face. The overall fit was also very comfortable and allowed for a complete range of motion. While skiing, this jacket created a feeling of absolute protection from the elements. You could take a full on windmill fall and get up and be completely dry inside.
The only issue that I found at all was when I cinched up the hood. There are adjustable elastic cords on either side of the hood which allow the user to get the fit just right. When I had the hood cinched down, the cords, which have a grommeted passway, stuck out rather far and seemed to bounce around a little on the front of the jacket. This was easily handled though by pulling the cord up towards the adjusters which reduced the amount of cord that was able to bounce around, problem solved.
Overall the Strafe Nomad Jacket ($549) performed very well. The craftsmanship appeared to be top notch, the jacket was very comfortable and stylish, the zippers and seams were all fully taped, and it handled the elements extremely well. Another nice touch was that the interior zippers (two interior pockets and the powder skirt) were purple. This allowed you to find them quickly as soon as you opened the jacket which was very cool.