The Ortovox 3L Deep Shell jacket has been a pleasure to wear this winter. This jacket excels in the backcountry and in the ski resort. It not only looks good but has many features that make it an excellent performer, and is a sustainable product developed with the environment in mind! Keep reading below for a tour of the Ortovox’s Deep Shell Jacket and its many features and technologies that make it stand out.
Waterproof and Breathable
A shell jacket is commonly the final piece of a layering system often used in outdoor activities. The shell’s main purpose is to protect you from the elements, a barrier between you and the snow, the icy wind on ridge tops, or the disgusting rain at the valley bottom of a ski out. I have had this jacket in all of these conditions and have been extremely impressed with how well protected I was from the elements. Ortovox uses DERMIZAX®EV high-performance membrane in this jacket to help to make it waterproof, windproof, and highly breathable.
Just as a shell jacket should repel rain and snow with ease, it should also let body moisture out through the use of a breathable membrane. I had heard that this jacket was very breathable with the unique use of hydrophilic (water loving) particles that help attract and transport water vapor to the other side of the waterproof membrane.
Wearing a shell on a ski ascent on a warm sunny day is not normally what I would do, but it was the perfect opportunity to sweat a little and test out how well it managed the excess moisture. I definitely put out a good sweat and I thought it did a pretty good job while I was moving. I wouldn’t say that I noticed it to be leaps and bounds better than other waterproof breathable membranes like Gore-tex when I was moving, however when I stopped to remove my skins from my skis and have a snack, I was really impressed how quickly the water vapour escaped. I wasn’t left feeling hot and sticky like I have with other jackets in similar conditions. The membrane’s ability to regulate my temperature was very noticeable.
Additionally, if the moisture wicking capability of the 3L Deep Shell’s membrane isn’t quite enough, this jacket also has large two-way pit zippers to really get the air flowing. Two way zippers are a really nice feature as it allows you to adjust the vent to your specific needs and makes them a little easier to find!
Fit and Feel
One thing that immediately stood out to me was the supple nature of the fabric. It does not feel like a typical shell, it’s smooth and has 2-way stretch material which makes it very comfortable and does not restrict movement.
Ortovox also uses merino wool in areas like the front of the neck which I am a big fan of! Not only does it feel soft against your face when you duck into the long neck of the jacket to escape the icy wind, but it also has not started stinking! Perhaps, this is just an issue I have had, but constant breathing into the neck of a jacket seems to concentrate breath odours over time and not smell the best. Thankfully, I have not had this issue with this jacket, likely due to merino wool’s anti-odour properties.
I also really like the length of this jacket. Its length, in combination with its removable snow skirt, makes it perfect for keeping snow out and also helps prevent the jacket from creeping up.
One thing I would note however, is that I ended up getting a jacket that was a size bigger than the size guide recommended. The large size has a chest range of 93-98cm and I was 97cm. It fit, but for winter use I wanted a little more room for layers underneath, and the XL feels great and provides a little extra room I was looking for!
The Deep Shell jacket has a number of different features that make it very versatile for many different conditions and situations you may encounter. The hood is large enough that it can easily accommodate a ski or climbing helmet but can also cinch up with two easy-to-find pull cords to help it conform to your head.
The snow skirt is grippy enough that it doesn’t seem to creep and bunch up throughout the day. I like that it is removable as well so you can shed some weight and unnecessary features for shoulder season mountaineering.
Extra durable material is used where the jacket may be more prone to wear and lighter weight material used where the extra protection is not as needed which helps this jacket stay lightweight (641g for the XL).
The cuffs are nice and large so they can fit over bulky gloves but also easily cinch up if you prefer to have your gloves over your cuffs.
There are two large chest pockets that are out of the way of a harness and are large enough to stash a map. The left chest pocket includes a dedicated phone pouch made of mesh wool. The Deep Shell jacket also has a pocket on the left arm to accommodate a ski pass.
The front zipper is two-way like the pit zips, this helps create more venting options, and easy access to pockets, a harness, or whatever may be under the bottom of the jacket. At the very least you can bring both zippers all the way up to put the jacket into “cape mode”!
Ortovox has made the 3L Deep Shell jacket, with all its features and capabilities, to be the dependable, functional, good-looking outer layer you would hope for on your next adventure. Not only is this jacket amazing, Ortovox’s care for the environment and development of a more sustainable product is outstanding! The 3L Deep Shell jacket was made without Perfluorochemicals (PFC’s), its development is carbon neutral, and it integrates natural fibres like wool that was harvested with the highest quality of animal welfare and sustainable economic management. Finally, once this jacket has lived a long life, with many stories to tell, it doesn’t need to find its way to a garbage heap, it’s recyclable! Its fibres will live on!