Strafe Pyramid Jacket
Size tested: Large
Blister’s Measured Weight: 841 g
Blister’s Measured Front Zipper Length: 81.5 cm
- Integrated helmet compatible hood with 3-point adjustment
- ¼ length interior CF placket
- Chamois fleece lined collar & chin guard
- Large pack-friendly chest pockets with one interior mesh electronics sleeve
- Pack-friendly seamless shoulders
- Exposed underarm vents
- Pass pocket on lower sleeve
- Interior zippered mesh pocket & large mesh drop pocket with elastic binding
- Interior media port
- Adjustable & removable DWR coated 4-way stretch powder skirt with gripper elastic & low profile plastic snaps
- Hem drawcord adjustment inside hand pockets
- YKK Aquaguard coil & flat Vislon zippers
Test Locations: Cameron Pass, Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Telluride, & Rocky Mountain National Park, CO; La Sals Backcountry, Snowbird, & Alta, UT.
Days Tested: 25
Reviewer: 5’8, 155 lbs
New for the 17/18 season, the Pyramid Jacket is Strafe’s latest Polartec Neoshell jacket, and it features a new, stretchier and more supple version of the air-permeable Neoshell membrane. Combine this new membrane with the jacket’s plentiful features and more “freeride” fit, and this make the Pyramid an intriguing piece — made even more intriguing by Strafe’s claim that it is “equally comfortable on the skin track as the chair lift.” So Strafe is going specifically for the tricky balancing act of the “50/50” category of resort / backcountry shells, and the question is, How’d they do?
Fabric + Weight Differences in Colorways
The fabric of the Pyramid Jacket is certainly what makes it stand out most compared to other ski shells, and is part of a growing category of more comfortable waterproof jackets. It uses a new, stretchier version of Polartec Neoshell, and is much more supple than any waterproof shell I’ve used.
The heather gray color I tested uses a 100-denier polyester face fabric with a polyester jersey backer. The other colorways feature a 70-denier, 61% nylon / 39% polyester face fabric and the same polyester backer. Strafe lists the fabric weights as 200 g/m2 for the heathered gray and 139 g/m2 for the standard colors. This difference in fabric weight is an important note, as the version I tested is pretty hefty at 841 g. So if you’re concerned about weight, you might want to look into the other colors. That being said, I do love the look of the heathered twill face fabric on the version I tested.
Beyond looking cool, the fabric of the Pyramid Jacket is extremely comfortable. It feels much better next to skin compared to standard hardshells fabrics like the 80-denier Gore Tex used in the Arc’teryx Sabre or the 40-denier Gore-Pro of the Arc’teryx Alpha FL. The Pyramid’s fabric feels slightly softer than newer, less-crinkly shell fabrics like Gore-Tex C-Knit and the AscentShell fabric of the Outdoor Research Skyward Jacket, although AscentShell and the Pyramid’s Neoshell fabric are fairly similar. Unlike most traditional hardshells, I didn’t immediately find myself swapping the Pyramid for a hoodie or flannel after a day of skiing — I was happy to leave it on in the car, at the lodge, or around town.
I would call the fit of the Pyramid Jacket “relaxed,” and I was very happy with it in the resort. I tested the Pyramid Jacket in a Large, which is a size up from what I normally wear for street clothes and midlayers. The Large was certainly big on me (most noticeably so in the arms and hem), but I didn’t mind this too much since I prefer a longer and baggier fit for ski jackets. However, since the Pyramid Jacket is pretty roomy to begin with, I think I’d be happy in a medium, especially if I was mostly touring in it (more on that later).
Compared to the Outdoor Research Skyward, the Pyramid is longer (3.5 cm longer zipper length) and baggier throughout, specifically in the torso and shoulders.
Pockets & Features
The Pyramid Jacket has all the features I could want in a ski jacket. I love chest pockets, so I was excited to see four of them on the Pyramid. The two giant exterior chest pockets use YKK Vislon zippers that are very easy to manipulate and easily fit my skins cut for 185 cm, 105 mm underfoot skis. The mesh electronics pocket in the left chest pocket holds a phone securely, and the media port is a nice touch. The two low handwarmer pockets are obscured when wearing a pack, but their positioning makes them more comfortable to use when pack-less. The Pyramid Jacket also features a forearm pass pocket, a drop-in interior mesh pocket, and an interior zippered chest pocket. My only minor complaints with the pockets would be that the handwarmer pockets are fairly small, which makes shoving bulky gloves inside a bit difficult.
The cordlocks on the Pyramid are embedded in the fabric in both the hood and hem, and they worked effectively and I appreciated not having any cords or plastic pieces hitting me in the face while skiing. The extra cord on the hem feeds into the handwarmer pockets, which is a nice way to keep the cord out of the way, but in this case the cord still slides easily through the eyelet in the pocket, letting it droop beneath the hem. However, wrapping a rubber band around the cord in the pocket easily solves this issue.
The Pyramid Jacket features 39.25 cm pit zips that allow for some extra ventilation. The pit zips utilize standard reverse-coil water resistant zippers, and can be tricky to open and close with one hand, but this is in line with my experience with all pit zips that use these types of zippers. I also noticed a tiny bit of water getting through the zipper while reaching up during a downpour, a consequence of the absence of zipper garages.
The cuffs feature internal wrist gaiters made of Polartec Power Grid fabric. Wrist gaiters seem to be a point of contention in the apparel world for some reason, but I liked the ones on the Pyramid. They helped keep the outer cuff over my gloves (although the sleeves are plenty long anyway) and I didn’t notice the gaiters when I wasn’t using them. The Velcro on the outside cuff is pretty easy to use with gloves on, and I never had any issue with it coming undone or fraying.
The Pyramid Jacket has a removable powder skirt, and this was the one area where I experienced durability issues. The powder skirt’s small zipper ended up breaking after a week or so in the jacket. I barely ever use a powder skirt, so it would’ve been wise for me to just have removed it in the first place, but the zipper failure is worth noting.
The Pyramid Jacket’s 3-way adjustable hood works great with a helmet on, and after some adjustments, fits securely without one. The storm flap and microfleece lining on the chin are comfortable on skin, and I appreciate the coverage of the high collar. If you’re like me and rarely ski with a hood over your helmet, I recommend cinching the hood up a bit in order to decrease the parachute effect when getting up to speed.
NEXT: Breathability, Weather Resistance, Etc.