Hard shell jackets are the bread and butter of winter life. For anyone who prefers to backpack with a hot tent, tracks snowfall levels in mountain ranges, or spends regular time carving through deep powder, it’s all about the hard shell.
Cortazu, the Amsterdam-based company that builds every piece of clothing with the environment in mind, and who sells directly to consumers (cutting out the retail middle man), has created an award-winning hard shell jacket.
Simply called the Cortazu Mountain Hard Shell, it’s a feature-packed 3-layer jacket that rivals anything we have seen. It uses a unique fabric called Dermizax®EV to achieve a waterproof and windproof shell for all your mountain pursuits, yet remains light enough, breathable enough, and stylish enough to double as your urban commuter. This means you can go from a day at the office to the slopes with one external layer.
For those who want all the zippers, pockets, and durability of a high-end slope jacket, plus built-in rescue technology for extended backcountry trips, the Cortazu Mountain Hard Shell is ideal.
Unique Features of the Cortazu Mountain Hard Shell
The Mountain Hard Shell is jam-packed with features. In fact, in our estimation Cortazu took every key ingredient for a jacket and made sure the Mountain Hard Shell had premium, high-functioning versions of those features to ensure functionality, easy use, and a lifetime of use.
Let’s start with pockets: there are nine in total and, due to the build and burliness of the fabric, none of these feel weighed down when they carry gear, like smartphones, beanies, gloves, and more.
The two external, waterproof chest pockets open easily with a single hand and are great for quick-access items that need protection from water. The two external hand-warmer pockets are deep, angled against water and snow, and have large flaps to further protect against the weather.
There are three internal pockets, one of which has a media port for wired listening, and there are two zippered sleeve pockets for snow-lift passes and easy storage of your goggles (or sunglasses). There’s even a microfiber cloth in one arm pocket to make sure your vision stays sharp, a feature that’s thoughtful and luxe.
Cortazu opted for Waterproof YKK Aquaguard zippers throughout — another fine detail that makes the Mountain Hard Shell nearly impenetrable. There are large pit zips for venting, a zip-in system to connect Cortazu’s Mountain Mid Layer or Fleece, and fully taped seams.
All standard hard shell features are included, too, like a helmet-compatible 3-point adjustable hood with wire brim, adjustable hook-and-loop cuffs, a long drop hem to protect your butt from getting icy, and a drawstring hem. You can also easily pack the jacket away into the hood, a feature that’s often touted but rarely works — the Cortazu Mountain Hard Shell does actually pack away easily.
The entire piece weighs a pound and a half, or 20 oz. While it’s not a lightweight rain jacket by any stretch, the burliness and sheer number of features will leave you dry and prepared.
Burly Fabric and a RECCO Emergency Tracking
As if the above features weren’t enough to craft a hearty, multi-purpose jacket, Cortazu uses two unique components in the Mountain Hard Shell.
First, the fabric. Called Dermizax®EV, and made by Toray, this is a waterproof, windproof material that rivals Gore-Tex. It has a waterproofness rating of 25,000mmH20 or higher and permeability of 20,000 g/m2, two gearhead stats that equate to impressive breathability and waterproofness – a combination that’s very hard to achieve. When uphill hiking in freezing, sunny weather we didn’t overheat, and rain sheds off the Mountain Hard Shell like it’s fleeing.
The Dermizax®EV fabric also doesn’t have small pores, like Gore-Tex and other waterproof breathable fabrics, which means the Mountain Hard Shell won’t collect dirt or require frequent washing to maintain its properties.
This fabric is also made from 50% recycled material, a nod to Cortazu’s environmental impact, and a purchase of the jacket equals a re-greening of 50 square-meters of land in the foothills of Kilimanjaro.
Finally, RECCO. This is a rescue technology that’s used all over the world by rescue professionals, is embedded in a number of world-class products by alpine outdoor brands, and it comes standard in the Cortazu Mountain Hard Shell. Essentially, there’s a small RECCO reflector embedded in the Mountain Hard Shell which will allow you to be found if you’re lost in the wild.
For backcountry winter explorers this is another level of safety that will set your mind at ease.
Who is Cortazu?
Cortazu is an Amsterdam based outdoor gear manufacturer that creates exceptional apparel to help re-green the planet. They use premium recycled materials for a full line of jackets and pants and for each product sold they re-green land in Kenya.
This article is sponsored by Cortazu.
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