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Insulated Jackets

Black Yak Bakosi Down Jacket

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MSRP: $499.95

BEST FOR: Mountaineering and alpinism

The Black Yak Bakosi jacket is a technical insulated 750-fill down jacket meant for mountaineering or technical winter alpine lines. Black Yak, a brand out of South Korea that is producing high quality alpine apparel, is a relatively new player in the U.S. market, so we were psyched to see what this piece could do.

The main innovation of the Bakosi is what Black Yak calls “body-mapping”—essentially using different types of insulation in different parts of the jacket to maximize performance and insulation. The Bakosi uses two different types of down as well as a synthetic layer that makes up most of the back. Burly stitched-through 750-fill baffles cover the chest and arms for maximum insulation. The shoulders and back incorporate PrimaLoft Gold and Polartec Alpha synthetic insulations. These varied insulation materials and the four-way stretch will keep you moving fast on lower-altitude alpine routes and exposed terrain.The hydrophobic synthetic insulation is strategically placed in the waist, shoulders and back—areas that are likely to soak—and the baffled down chest and arms have a Codura ripstop and DWR finish to get through whatever terrain you encounter.

The Bakosi offers excellent wind protection and feels warm the second you put it on. The athletic fit is perfect for when you’re swinging tools above your head. The waist hem of the jacket has sticky plastic—rather than an adjustable elastic waistband—so that it clings slightly to your pants to protect from drafts and helps keep the jacket in place. This design works particularly well with hard-shell pants.

The jacket has pockets to spare—a whopping four on the front alone: two insulated zipper pockets and two mesh pockets. The two mesh pockets are immediately visible on the jacket and make it stand out from similar products. They are great for quickly stashing a hat or belay mittens, particularly when you need just a few seconds of bare hands and a little more dexterity to twist the gate on that frozen locking biner. There are also several loops on each mesh pocket. While you can clip carabiners to them, they are not rated for technical purposes and are best used for organizing odds and ends.

The Bakosi forgoes down-insulation for microgrid fleece in the hood. It easily fits a helmet underneath. The microgrid fleece is a huge bonus if you’re moving fast enough that you want just modest insulation for your noggin.

Overall this is a solid jacket, and though not cheap at $500, is definitely worth a look—as is Black Yak in general.

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Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.