Normally, when I look out the window in the morning and see strong winds and heavy almost horizontal rain, I am disappointed. But for once I was excited as it would be a chance to test my new Trew Cosmic snowboarding jacket.
Testing a snowboarding jacket while walking the South Downs in heavy rain might not seem like the traditional method of reviewing winter sport clothing…. but the Trew Cosmic is a shell jacket (meaning no insulation) aimed at boarders who will be going backcountry and hiking uphill.
With this in mind, the key aspects to test are its protection from the elements, suitability for hiking, and of course how good it looks! I also gave it a week’s worth of snowboarding to be sure it did the job.
Protection from the elements
The Trew Cosmic is 20,000 mm waterproof. This means it is totally waterproof even under pressure and should even keep you dry under shallow submersion. As most snowboaders know, the seams are the weak point. On the Cosmic all seams are taped with highly durable 3-layer Bemis® seam tape to keep the water out.
I tested the jacket in very heavy rain and fairly strong wind. Well, I was kept completely dry in conditions far wetter than I have snowboarded in!
The water just beads off the surface without any absorption even after walking for over an hour in a typically British downpour. The hood has plenty of adjustability to keep water at bay and is big enough to fit over a helmet.
Being a shell jacket without insulation, keeping warm depends on the layers worn underneath. Personally, I prefer shell jackets for this reason as they are more flexible than insulated jackets, particularly in warmer weather.
The temperature on the first few days boarding varied between 0 and -3°C. All I needed was a thermal base layer with sport t-shirt over the top. Later in the week the temperature dropped to -9°C and I replaced the t-shirt for a mid thickness fleece, which kept me suitably warm.
Of course keeping you warm and dry is only half the battle. A good jacket also needs to let moisture escape.
The Trew has a Gelanots® waterproof/breathable membrane. This is a non-porous polyurethane with a hydrophilic structure meaning that it’s vapor-permeable and expands as your body temperature rises. In layman’s terms, this means it lets your sweat out and the sweatier you get the more breathable it becomes!
Suitability for hiking back country
When heading back country you will be carrying a heavy backpack up mountains, with every bush and rock on route seemingly trying to stop you. So a rugged hard wearing jacket that saves weight and has big and accessible pockets while carrying a backpack is paramount.
Its difficult to test how hard wearing a snowboarding jacket will be without putting it through its paces for a season. However, the Cosmic feels rugged and almost heavy duty while still being supple.
This is because the outer layer is made from Superfabric®, a 140-denier, 100% nylon yarn which fuses micro armour plates to the exterior of the fabric. This makes a strong but lightweight and flexible material that will fare better than your average snowboarding jacket from ‘disagreements’ with trees, rocks and wildlife that you might encounter back country.
The Superfabric® also helps reduces weight, but is not the only weight saving measure. The use of thermally bonded YKK AquaGuard Zippers rather than traditional storm flaps, pockets that are mesh lined to double as additional air vents and an ergonomic powder skirt all save a few extra grams. All this means the Cosmic weighs in at just 1.8lbs/0.8kg.
Pockets on the Cosmic are big and well positioned, the crossover chest pockets are easily accessible and don’t get in the way of backpack straps, while the hand pockets are also big. One issue is that the waist strap on my backpack ran across the hand pockets.
How does it look?
If I asked my wife what is the most important aspect of her snowboarding jacket I am sure she wouldsay ‘good looks’. Being more pragmatic, I like my jackets to do their job, although how it looks still plays a part.
The Trew Cosmic comes in 4 colour options: peacock (lightish blue), olive (brightish green), carotene (brightish orange) and black. Despite really liking the carotene, I went for black – mainly because I also like to wear my snowboarding jacket off the slope, and if I turn up to the pub in a bright orange jacket I am sure the jokes would follow!
Slightly shorter then most snowboarding jackets, it’s more hip-length. It’s also not overly baggy, which gives it a clean look that says this jacket is about doing the job rather than strutting your stuff. In my opinion, the jacket looks good and as my wife pointed out, it doesn’t clash with the rest of my boarding kit!
My recent snowboarding trip did not require any back country hiking as there was no fresh snow. However, the Trew Cosmic impressed in my wet and windy hiking test in the UK. It also fared very well throughout my snowboarding trip, keeping the elements at bay and letting the sweat out far better than other jackets I have owned.
Because of this, I’d be happy to recommend it. Considering the overall performance, its an excellent choice and ticks all the boxes both on and off the piste.