Is Cotopaxi’s “Gear for Good” Good Gear?
Cotopaxi is not as well-known of an outdoor brand as some of the other more mainstream companies, well at least for me it wasn’t. It is a relatively young outdoor company that was founded in 2014 and I had yet to try any of their gear. Before I tried their products I had heard that Cotopaxi was a very socially and environmentally conscious brand that strives to make high quality, ethical and sustainable gear for adventure! I think they say it best in their “[promise to] to make durable gear in the most ethically sustainable way possible and to use [their] influence to develop and uplift communities. In short, make products that last, and have a lasting impact.”
Cotopaxi has an impressive amount of social and environmental policies and initiatives detailed on their website that show their commitment to the well being of people, communities, and our planet (https://www.cotopaxi.com/pages/about-us). Cotopaxi is a climate neutral company that strives to use repurposed, recycled, and responsible materials in their products as well as contributing money as a member of the 1% for the planet initiative. Additionally, they value using fair labour practices at every stage of production which has led them to partner with fair trade certified factories. They use a portion of their profits to fund the Cotopaxi foundation that helps those in extreme poverty.
I was pretty impressed with Cotopaxi’s efforts to give back to the planet and its communities and I hope actions like this spur more companies to make lasting, positive contributions for our environment and communities. The question on my mind was if their “Gear for Good” was good gear? To find out, I put a Fuego Hooded Down Jacket to the test.
The Fuego Hooded Down Jacket
I am a big fan of down as it is lightweight, natural, and one of the best insulators! I have owned a couple of other down jackets from more well known brands in the past, so I was curious how this jacket would compare. I was pleasantly surprised by this jacket’s comfort, mobility, warmth, weight, and value.
Comfort & Mobility
I thought Cotopaxi nailed the fit on this jacket, which isn’t always an easy thing to do on an outer/mid layer. I wore a Large and I am 6’3” and 195lbs. I have worn my down jackets on their own, under a shell, or even occasionally over a shell in situations where I didn’t want to lose an ounce of heat in the transition of jackets. This jacket felt snug enough that it didn’t feel bulky like the Michelin man, but it still moved freely without pulling or restricting arm movements. Additionally, it wasn’t so snug that I couldn’t fit a layer underneath. I tested it out with a fleece underneath and it still performed very well.
One thing I think this jacket is missing is a hood drawcord to help the hood travel with the movement of the head. I think this is a minor criticism but without a drawcord the hood can interfere slightly with your vision when you look hard right or hard left. Nonetheless, it did seem to perform well with a climbing helmet underneath.
Warmth & Weight
The 800-fill down is lightweight, warm, and water resistant just like the nylon exterior that has a DWR finish. There is no doubt that down jackets are warm, but some jackets are not that great at preventing drafts and wind from stealing that heated air beside your body. The Fuego does an impressive job at minimizing these drafts with comfortable and snug elastic cuffs and a drawcord around the waist in addition to the 20D ripstop nylon. Due to the lack of cold wind so far this fall, I took the jacket on a bike ride one chili morning to test out its wind resistance. I thought it performed really well, I felt comfortable and very few drafts snuck their way through, even when going down a hill at 45km/hr!
Additionally, this lightweight 397g (medium) jacket can pack up into its small internal storage pocket so it can easily be stashed in your bag for when you need it. Another marker of the down’s quality was how quickly it would loft up again after being compressed.
Cotopaxi’s Fuego Hooded Down Jacket sells for $369 which is a pretty good price compared to many of its competitors. Not only has Cotopaxi made a jacket that is very comfortable with good warmth in a lightweight package, but they have paid attention to the finer details of this jacket as well like the smooth operating zippers and unique colour stripe styling. This attention to detail along with its other qualities give this jacket great value.
Overall, I am very impressed by Cotopaxi and their Fuego Hooded Down Jacket. Their environmental and social contributions and values in conjunction with producing quality products like the Fuego Hooded Down Jacket makes it easy to understand how this new brand is quickly growing in popularity. I can now attest that they not only make “Gear for Good” but they make good gear as well!