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Gear Reviews / February 19, 2017

Gear Review: Cotopaxi Kusa Jacket

Written by: Kevin Linderman

We love the concept of “town to trail” at Shoulders of Giants. Most of our readers live in cities and crave to escape them every chance they get. 

Our friends at Cotopaxi have designed the perfect jacket for this mindset. The company’s Kusa Jacket looks stylish enough to wear around town, but it has the technical functionality needed for a trip in the mountains.

Let’s start with the style. I’m 6’1″, 205 lbs., and the large sized jacket fits me perfectly. I’ve also got long arms, which often give me some trouble with jackets. Not so with the Kusa. (Many comments on Cotopaxi’s site claim the sizes run large, so those folks on cusp of two sizes may want to choose the smaller option).

The Kusa can be reversed to provide a slightly different color scheme. That function relies on a few snap buttons that line the back panel, and I actually think those buttons add a cool sense of texture and style to the jacket.

It’s manufactured using a 20D Ripstop Nylon with a DWR finish. That means the nylon is 20 times thicket than a strand of silk. It’s strong but light—the same material is used to build most lightweight tents.

The DWR finish is a Durable Water Repellent coating sprayed on the jacket before it leaves the factory floor. Thanks to that coating, most water will just bead up and fall off the Kusa. It’s not a poncho, though, so don’t count on it in a total downpour. Under the DWR, the jacket insulated by a blend of lightweight polyester and “llama fiber”.

Llama fiber is a renewable green product that comes, in this particular case, from the llamas of the Altiplano in South America. Altiplano means high-plains, which is where these versatile and important animals thrive. Llama fiber naturally has the following characteristics:

  •       Stays warm when wet
  •       Flame retardant
  •       Resists stains, oils, acids, and chemicals
  •       Resists UV light and abrasion
  •       Doesn’t crinkle, etc. (it’s quiet)

In short, it’s a fantastic versatile fiber that is lightweight and warm.

Putting all these components of style and functionality together really makes this jacket a home run. As someone who alternates between the trail and the pub, it’s become a personal favorite.

The jacket sells online in four colors for$199.95. Use the promo code “SHOULDERSOFGIANTS15” to save 15%.

Do you sell a piece of gear you’d like us to review? Email us at [email protected].

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about the author

Kevin Linderman

Kevin Linderman is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer for Shoulders of Giants. Kevin has spent his entire professional career in and around the field of information technology, but has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast and a seeker of knowledge.

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