The Flylow Gear Lab Coat is a great option for skiers who want a lightweight shell that’s well constructed and made to stand up to the elements. Flylow has some stylish offerings that skiers, such as myself, really enjoy and the Lab Coat hits the mark for function, style, and comfort. It’s not a warm and well-insulated option, which means you’ll need to layer up on cold days, but it’s still a solid shell choice.
- Where to buy: Amazon, EVO, REI
- Best for: Skiers who want a dependable lightweight shell that looks great but also has a lot to offer in terms of quality and performance. A good option for the backcountry, but well-suited at the resort too.
- Pros: Weather-resistant and waterproof. Highly breathable, making it great for touring situations. Stylish and comfortable.
- Cons: Expensive. The cost is easily in the realm of high-end jackets. Not insulated. Extra layers are much needed on extremely cold days.
- Alternatives: Strafe Nomad, Helly Hansen Odin Mountain, Flylow Quantum Pro
Why Trust Me
Born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I’ve skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I conducted thorough research on the Flylow Gear Lab Coat and spoke with several experienced skiers who have used the jacket as well. Below is my detailed review.
The Flylow Gear Lab Coat is a solid lightweight shell that’s built to last and keep you dry on the mountain. It makes for a great backcountry touring option thanks to some excellent features that provide a ton of breathability, but it’s more than effective at the resort as well. It’s expensive, as many high-end jackets are, but well worth the price for its function, durability, and comfort.
Warmth and Weather Resistance
First off, this jacket isn’t insulated. While that might sound alarming to beginner skiers, it’s actually common in the world of touring jackets and lightweight shells. They are built to keep you dry and block out the wind.. You’ll want to wear a few layers on particularly cold days to stay cozy, but the jacket is still plenty warm for a shell. Unless it’s really cold, a good base and lightweight mid-layer is all you need underneath.
In terms of both wind and water resistance, the Lab Coat is awesome. It’s fully designed to handle every sort of weather condition you may find yourself in, and it’s durable enough to provide years of protection. The face fabric is 100% high-performance DWR nylon. Flylow puts that coating on all of their jackets and it greatly helps durability.
The nylon layer also does a great job of keeping out the wind and cold. Even though it’s not insulated, it still offers quite a bit of warmth and gives the jacket the ability to block out the wind. On top of that, the Lab Coat has a 3-layer fabric so it’s actually a somewhat thick shell. However, I wouldn’t describe it that way. The layers are better designed for water and wind protection over warmth, but that construction truly works.
Comfort and Fit
As with anything Flylow makes, this jacket offers a ton of comfort. If you’re a larger skier like myself, you sometimes run into issues when looking for an option that won’t restrict your movement. I often have to get a size up to prevent that issue, but the Lab Coat is more than comfortable and doesn’t restrict any movement at all. It’s on the loose side without being baggy. That’s a sweet spot, in my opinion.
The jacket is built with articulated shoulders and sleeves that adds to the general freedom of movement. That’s truly noticeable when you’re working hard on trekking through the backcountry. You want your clothing to move freely and not bunch or bag up. The articulation keeps the sleeves in place whether you’re making a strong pole push or are in the middle of a yard sale.
If you prefer a slim fitting jacket, this might not be the best option. However, since it’s not insulated and should be used with layers, a slim fit is not ideal in the first place.
Construction and Style
The key to the Lab Coat’s stand out performance is a construction that’s well-designed and utilizes excellent materials throughout every inch of the jacket. The 3-layer eVent waterproof fabric is extremely effective at keeping the water and wind away, but also has a direct venting middle layer that helps the jacket stay breathable. This direct venting system is quite impressive and one of the better features of the jacket.
The shell’s DWR coating is another integral part of the build that’s worth mentioning again. The coating will keep 80 percent of its water repellent properties after 20 washes, which is pretty durable. I try to wash my jackets as little as possible, however, and I suggest you do that as well. A couple of times a season is plenty. At that rate, the Lab Coat is good for about 10 years.
I personally love the look of Flylow Gear apparel. There’s something about it that screams skier, which is why they make some of my favorite garments in the game. The Lab Coat lives up to this standard and has a simple-but-stylish design that many skiers will appreciate. I do like the solid-colored version of the Lab Coat over the split-color options, but that’s a personal preference.
The Lab Coat also comes with some additional features that add to its value and performance. The jacket has one internal pocket to stash any item you want to make sure stays away from the wind and water. There are also four other external pockets for any additional small items you might want to bring along with you when skiing.
It also features fully taped seams, which is a must for any jacket that’s worth its weight. That, alongside YKK waterproof zippers, reinforces the excellent water repellent properties. There’s also a removable powder skirt that you can keep on in the backcountry or on powder days and take off when cruising at the resort. A helmet-compatible hood and minimally designed cuffs round out those great extras.
Price and Value
The Lab Coat is packed with performance and comfort features, but it’s on the high end in terms of price. While that will keep the jacket out of the budget of some skiers, I still give this one an excellent value ranking because of how well-built it is alongside the durability. If you can afford it, this jacket will last you for many seasons. That makes the higher price well worth it.
What I Like
I like just about everything about this jacket. In terms of performance, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option. There are certainly some other high-end lightweight shells out there that give you similar amounts of weather protection, but with comfort and style thrown into the mix, this is another option from Flylow that stands above the pack.
For backcountry purposes, the extreme breathability this jacket offers is amazing. You get serious water protection through the DWR coating, but the Direct Venting Membrane allows all the heat you build up on heavy ascents to escape quickly before it has a chance to condense. The jacket also has 14-inch under arm vents that can be opened up for further temperature control if you need it.
The Lab Coat’s wind and water-resistance are also impressive. It more than does its job and will keep even wet, slushy snowflakes at bay. This makes it effective in all sorts of conditions and on-snow situations. It’s versatile, to say the least, and the durability is also top-notch.
What I Don’t Like
There’s not a whole lot to dislike about this jacket, other than the price tag. It’s expensive. There’s no way around that. However, it’s not any more expensive than other options in the same category. You can often find it on sale, and that can help bring the price into a more affordable range. Just know the cost does make it a bit impractical for skiers who don’t have the cash or have already purchased a bunch of new gear for the season.
While it’s not really an issue for me, some skiers might not like the fact that the jacket doesn’t have insulation. I’ve talked to a few who can’t believe that something that costs so much isn’t warmer. I tell them the jacket isn’t designed to be a thick, heavy layer of insulation. It’s a shell that serves to keep you dry and block the wind. If warmth is a big concern, you might want to explore other options.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Flylow Gear Lab Coat, check out these other recommended options.
- Strafe Nomad – This is another lightweight shell jacket that offers excellent wind and weather resistance. It’s comfortable as well. It’s another favorite option of serious skiers who like to venture into the backcountry. It features a construction that uses high-quality materials to provide lasting performance in a variety of weather conditions.
- Helly Hansen Odin Mountain – Helly Hansen is a legendary brand that has been around for decades. This jacket is a great option for skiers that features an excellent design as well as a high-end performance. It fits a little tighter than the Lab Coat, but comes in cuts for both men and women.
- Flylow Quantum Pro – This is another option from Flylow that hits many of the same marks as the Lab Coat. It offers tremendous waterproofness alongside serious breathability, making it great for backcountry and resort skiers alike. It has a longer fit, which makes it a little heavier, but that means there are more pockets in the jacket.
Does this jacket have insulation?
No. This jacket is a lightweight shell and doesn’t come with any insulation built into it. You will want to add a layer or two if the weather gets really cold.
Can this jacket be worn by snowboarders?
Sure. No matter what type of snowsport you are doing, the Lab Coat offers excellent wind and water resistance alongside serious breathability.
Are the hood and powder skirt removable?
The hood is full attached to the coat. The powder skirt can easily be removed if you don’t want to use it. It can be reattached quickly as well.
The Flylow Gear Lab Coat definitely comes recommended for any skier who’s looking for a high-end lightweight shell that will deliver some of the best weather resistance, comfort, and breathability in the game. It’s an excellent backcountry option for these reasons, but can be used by skiers of all types and abilities. It’s expensive, but also well-constructed and durable to insure it can be used season after season.