The Gadget: It’s a wonder that the shoulder mounted boom box did not evolve into the music projection jacket. Either way, here’s a puffy one for snowboarding, with a mini amp and speaker system in the hood.
How it Tastes: The speaker system is loud enough to share music with those in close proximity on the slopes, or a couple of seats over on the lift. The 3AAA powered pack sits in a pocket and sends up wires to the little flatish egg like speakers on both sides of the hood. They seem very weather resistant, from the cloth covering to the small speaker holes. Battery life is 10 hours, but good news— when your battery pack dies, your ipod or whatever you’ve got plugged into the mini jack, will still be as loud as a set of headphones, without amplification. At this volume, only the people next to you will hear the sound, about the volume you get when you’re on the bus and a person’s headphones are cranked. This is a far better and simpler solution — things necessary on the mountain — than the old complicated ribbon cable and bluetooth motorola audex jackets which basically unplugged when you moved too much and ran out of batteries and died on you often.
The jacket itself is down filled, and waterproofed on the outside. It’s very very warm and better for slow movers on cold blue bird days where you don’t have any chance or worry about sweat building up. There are pit zips for cooling, of course, but down is hot, and this jacket is no exception. You’ll have to deal with the drafty pits and the heat build up on your core in certain places wearing this jacket, like with any down shell. The waterproofness and breath factors are rated at 10,000mm 5000g, which is mid high on waterproofing, using Burton’s 3 layer dryride shell but the breathability, as I said above, is not as great as you’d get on a unlined shell. There’s a zip and snap jacket to pant interface to avoid snow wedgies on pow days. I love riding in storms, when the tourists go home and the overpriced waterproof outdoor jackets I have are tested, so this one isn’t breathable enough for me. It also makes me look even more like a teddy bear than I do naked. But if you need to stay warm and listen to tunes on the mountain, there are very few jackets that do audio so well.