Last year, Eddie Bauer released an interesting new down jacket, the Evertherm, made not with individual clumps of down, but flat sheets of down in one big piece (they called it Thindown). This means no need for baffles to keep the down in place, which in turn means fewer seams for heat to escape, so less insulation is needed to keep you warm. The result was a tremendously light, thin jacket that kept up with the puffiest of puffies when it came to warmth. We liked it.
This year, without a ton of fanfare or fuss, Eddie Bauer updated the heck out of the Evertherm jacket by keeping the same Thindown insulation but adding their waterproof Weatheredge shell on the outside. They’re calling this all-weather version the BC Evertherm. This one comes lined with 45 grams of insulation versus the 30 grams the original Evertherm boasts, so it’s a bit heavier, but still weighs only 19.2 ounces. Eddie Bauer claims the jacket will keep you warm while standing motionless, perhaps contemplating the nature of multi-dimensional space-time, in temps as low as 40 degrees, and will keep you toasty while moving around in temps as chilly as minus-20.
The warmth-to-weight factor is great and all, but it’s that Weatheredge shell that really piques the interest. A down jacket? In wet weather? Really?
We’ve had our hands on this piece for a few weeks now, in a variety of conditions: cold and dry, cold and wet, freezing and dry, and straight-up rain. It just plain works.
I was skeptical at first that this piece would hold up in wet weather. Not sure why, exactly, other than a primal part of my brain screaming out: “No! No down in the rain!” Actually, yeah, that’s definitely why.
So at first, this jacket was kept in cold, dry conditions. Of course, it’s great there. Thindown, as we learned with last year’s Evertherm, is a truly smart innovation that can make a jacket that feels thin and insubstantial and much warmer than you’d expect. The BC Evertherm is thicker and more robust, with better wind resistance, and seems a bit toastier.
But after a while, I finally brought it out into the wet stuff to see how it would perform.
You can definitely get away with this as a rain jacket. The outer shell boasts a 20k waterproof rating (this means an inch of the material can withstand 20,000 mm of water pressure without failing), and it handled drizzles, brief downpours, hail, and sustained showers with no issue at all. I still think I’d use a heavy midlayer below a dedicated hard shell if I wasn’t constrained in terms of choices and was headed out for no doubt rainstorms. But if this was the only option, I’d have confidence in it in the rain. I fear in heavy rains what would happen if the outer shell eventually wetted out—would it compromise the Thindown below? But that hasn’t happened yet. Again, this ain’t the jacket I’m packing for a monsoon.
That’s not really it’s intended use though. The BC Evertherm is a jacket means for alpine weather that could include a bit of everything. Dry snow, wet snow, sleet, slush, rain—maybe all of that at once. It would make an excellent choice for serious backcountry missions in the winter, with a great range of motion, voluminous hood, massive internal pocket, plenty of length, and a forgiving shape that will fit over midlayers.
This is a truly all-weather winter jacket that can be worn by itself over a baselayer, rather than wearing a baselayer, midlayer, and outer shell. Throw just the one coat in a backpack, and you’re covered.
My only real gripe is that since it’s just one piece, in blowing rain, even light rain, moisture can work its way into the neck area of the coat, and get right to the non-waterproof inner lining. This can also happen with a rain shell over a down midlayer, but with the added separation of a two-layer system, there’s a little more protection.
Having said that, this will be my go-to jacket all winter in all but the most frigid, miserable conditions. Highly recommended.
• 45G Thindown insulation
• 15-d Weatheredge waterproof shell
• Insulated hood
• 19.2 ounces
$350 • BUY
More Alterna-down suggestions
Mountain Hardwear’s StretchDown Hooded Jacket isn’t waterproof like the BC Evertherm, but it boasts a flexible, durable shell that makes movement a breeze. A unique-feeling down insulation piece, for sure. $275
This isn’t a technical jacket, but United by Blue’s Bison Puffer Insulated Jacket makes the list for using bison fibers as an insulation material. Warm, light, an easy everyday wear. $228
REI’s Stormhenge 850 Down Jacket is filled with goose down, and protected with a waterproof shell for a weather-proof down jacket that’s not quite as warm as the BC Evertherm, but is also about $100 cheaper. $249