Ortovox Col Becchei Jacket
The Col Becchei is an accessible peak in the Italian Alps that tops out just over 9,000ft, offering budding Italian skiers their first exposure to no-fall zones and technical spring skiing. Appropriately named after this peak, Ortovox’s ski-touring jacket is perfectly suited for those technical missions where features like breathability, freedom of movement, and durability are the key for success. The shell is a breathable and water-resistant nylon that’s stretchy and well-articulated for unimpeded range of motion. The front half of the jacket features a Merino Punchhole windproof layer to take the bite off the wind, while the back remains breathable and leverages your pack to shield you from the elements. Two humongous Powermesh front pockets are designated for skins, but you can use your creativity when filling the pockets with snacks. The athletic fit and Merino Naturetec Light fabric ensures an ample range of motion, a necessity during technical climbs and descents. The Storm Hood keeps spindrift out, and fits easily underneath a helmet for those frigid belays and icy cold dawn patrols. Ortovox included features like pit-zips and a 100% Merino lining in the Col Becchei to give the jacket supreme temperature regulation and sweat-wicking performance. Sustainable production, stylish design, and award-winning performance? The Ortovox Col Becchei keeps saying, “check”.
- Great as an outer-layer or a mid-layer in super-cold temperatures.
- Strategically placed zippers and Powermesh pockets are backpack compatible.
- Athletic fit and articulated stitching helps maximize range of motion.
- Storm Hood fits underneath a helmet to keep you warm in frigid environments.
- Merino Punchhole front layer keeps warmth in and wind out.
- Bonded upper arm pocket fits an inclinometer, pocket knife, or Voile scraper perfectly.
- Polyamide outer shell is abrasion resistant, weatherproof, and breathable.
- Two underarm pit zips provide excellent climate control.
- Elastic cuffs seal out the elements and keep you warm.
- ISPO Award Winner.
Update 2019/20: Ortovox didn't change anything about this jacket, but they did add a new colorway, "Yellowstone".
Update 2022/23: Sweet new colorways bring this jacket not only into the present day, but really put it in the future.
|Pockets||2 front skin dumps, 1 bonded arm|
||Polymide shell, Merino wool|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Ski touring, mid-layer downhill|
|Notes||100% Tasmanian Merino lining|
|Bottom Line||Stylish, functional, sustainable|
|Compare to other Men's Touring Jackets|
Questions & Reviews
I write long reviews, so let me keep the top-line short: for anything between 10F and 32F, I put this jacket on at the start of my day and never take it off. I never need another layer at any point during the day. Perfect.
Small things I really like:
- The hood is really well-fitted, with or without a helmet. With a helmet, the hood stays on when skiing downhill, and there isn't any extraneous material flapping around the sides. It is extremely helpful for warming you up, and it is even snug enough to warm your ears. It can be really tedious putting on a beanie, taking it off, putting on a headband, taking it off. The hood takes care of all of that except in the worst conditions.
- The weather proofing is very nice. Excellent wind and moisture resistance. I've never been in a situation where I wished for a wind shell. I've used this jacket approx. 25 days so far this season and washed it once with Nikwax tech wash. Seems to be same as before, thankfully.
- All of the material used just feels very luxurious. It's got a really nice soft touch, very comfortable, slightly stretchy, form-fitting. Really hard to describe but a significant component of the jacket's "niceness."
- The waist is pretty long and elastic, which helps with fit and prevents the jacket from riding up... an ESSENTIAL feature!
- I actually don't use the front pockets (I just unzip the jacket to store skins), but I've noticed that if I unzip them, the jacket is significantly colder. A great feature for dumping heat in addition to the pit zips.
- Great fit, and elastic! Other jackets I have like the Arc'teryx Atom LT or the Eddie Bauer Microtherm 2.0 or the Black Diamond First Light Hoody are slim cut, but they are very stiff and restrictive. Ortovox has built in elasticity all over the jacket, which makes it very easy to layer under the jacket and also feels quite nice to wear.
Things I don't like:
- Look, the Euros make the best ski touring equipment, but I'm not really on board with their aesthetics yet. I'm lucky I have a black/grey jacket with a few orange highlights. It's much more subtle than the current selection of orange, blue, and green (green looks pretty good).
- This is an expensive jacket. I admittedly didn't pay full price for my jacket, but I would consider it. As I said at the top, probably one of the most important things to get right about your ski touring setup.
I have a sales sample for the 2017-18 season, but appears to be the same as the final version shown and described in this listing. (Although the Crazy Orange color scheme is a little bit crazier than the listing's picture, but then again maybe my computer monitor is just more subdued.)
I've used many different soft shell jackets for ski touring over the years, but the only one I've had with any skimo-specific features is the old Dynafit Breath jacket. The Col Becchei is similar in many ways, but Ortovox's focus on Merino wool is definitely apparent as the jacket has a high-tech feel in many ways yet still provides a sort of soft comfort derived from the use of materials that have some relationship to the natural world.
The fit is pretty accurate based on the official size chart, with a generous length in both the torso and arms in a good way, i.e., it won't ride up on you to expose bare skin.
The two front zippered pockets are indeed "humongous": I can stuff in the La Sportiva skins for a 172cm Vapor Nano, even though for a Euro momix design they are definitely on the stiffer and bulkier end of the spectrum.
I can even stuff in a pair of such skins in a single pocket, which is especially helpful since the pocket on the upper arm is too small for a smart phone.
Note that the large front pockets are essentially sealed up very well against the elements, but have a fine mesh layer against your body. So good for keeping your skins warm, but could be considered a drawback if you don't want cold snowy skins that close to your base layer.
The hood is very cleverly designed to stow away when not in use, with a stand-up collar that is entirely separate from the hood.
The pit zips (with a generous length too) are somewhat unusual for a soft shell, but with both pit zips and the main zipper opened up all the way, the jacket really opens way up. So a great choice for being able to skin up without removing your jacket during winter touring, as well as a great choice for a top for skimo racing if you don't want to be clad in the more typical advertising-festooned lycra.
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