Flylow Billie Coat
Size: Extra Small
Stated Average Weight: 20.8 oz / 590 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight:
• with powder skirt: 22.8 oz / 646.4 grams
• without powder skirt: 20.3 oz / 575.5 grams
Shell Material: Dobby Intuitive 3-Layer Fabric; 20,000mm waterproof / 20,000mm breathability; 80 denier, DWR treated face fabric; 40 denier tricot lining
Reviewer (Lexi): 5’3”, 120 lbs.
Reviewer (Julia): 5’6″, 125 lbs.
- Fully seam taped
- 6 pockets
- Underarm vents
- Helmet-compatible hood
- Powder guard snaps
- No Bulk Cuffs
- YKK waterproof zippers
- Removable powder skirt
Days Tested: 20+
Locations Tested: Snowbird and Wasatch backcountry, Utah; Grand Targhee, Wyoming; Taos Ski Valley; Crested Butte
[Editor’s note: Reviewer Julia Van Raalte has also spent some time in the 15/16 Billie Coat, and will be adding some comments, too.]
Lexi: Although there is an overwhelming number of options for women’s ski jackets, it can be difficult to find a functional jacket that is also comfortable and flattering.
Over the last few seasons, Flylow has been expanding their women’s line, and I’ve been quite impressed with the styles and cuts of almost all of the pieces I’ve seen from them.
This winter, Flylow introduced the Billie Coat, which is the women’s version of the men’s Quantum Pro Jacket.
Flylow describes the Billie as a versatile, do-it-all jacket that is well suited for both the resort and backcountry.
Fit and Style
Lexi: I found the Billie Coat to run slightly large; I am normally a Small in most brands (Patagonia, Norrona, Arc’teryx, North Face) but the Extra Small Billie fits me perfectly.
I love the jacket’s cut—it is longer (front zipper length of 28”) than other technical hard shells I’ve worn, but it isn’t too wide or boxy like typical men’s shells. Around the waist, the jacket is slightly tapered before flaring out a touch around the bottom.
Although it certainly has more of a relaxed, freeride fit, the slimmer torso gives the jacket a more feminine look.
Julia: I also found the Billie Coat to run a little big, but just slightly. I am 5’6” and 125 lbs, and usually wear Medium shells.
The Medium Billie is also long on me—which I really like—and falls an inch or two below my butt. It sits just a tad farther down than the Medium North Face Free Thinker, and several inches lower than the Medium Arc’teryx Sentinel. Although the Billie is just a little bit wide on me, the slimmer cut through the waist and the subtly flared hem is much more attractive than the boxier look of the Free Thinker, or the Sentinel that is a little tight around the hips.
I have plenty of room to wear either a lighter or thicker puffy jacket under the Medium Billie, and probably wouldn’t size down to a Small. If you’re between sizes and want a jacket that is a little more narrow, I’d recommend sizing down; however, if you like a looser look, staying at your normal size is likely the way to go.
Lexi: I’ve also spent time in the Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket, and definitely prefer the cut of the Billie jacket. The Lofoten jacket flares dramatically around the middle of the torso, creating an exaggerated hourglass-look that isn’t particularly flattering. In a subtle way, the Billie Coat is much more successful at providing a feminine shape while maintaining comfort and mobility.
The sleeves are the perfect length, falling right to my knuckles and aren’t too bulky.
Julia: I agree. The sleeves are long, yet narrow enough, and when I lift my hands overhead, they don’t move around too much or pull off of my gloves.
Fabric and Performance
Lexi: The Billie Coat uses Intuitive’s Dobby fabric, a three-layer, waterproof / breathable fabric with a PU laminate.
The face fabric has a very different feel to it than any other shell I’ve worn. It’s a fairly thick, 80-denier fabric, but has a soft, almost canvas-y feel to it rather than the smoother feel of the Arc’teryx Sarissa or Norrona Lofoten jackets.
Julia: I’ve also been quite impressed with the feel of the Billie Coat. Although it is made of a thicker 80-denier weave and feels pretty burly, the jacket doesn’t have the crinkly, technical feel of other shells I’ve worn, like The North Face Free Thinker or Helly Hansen Verglas. It’s a lot more supple and soft to touch.
Lexi: With a 20k waterproof rating, I wasn’t too concerned about the Billie Coat’s ability to keep me dry, especially in Utah where I don’t deal with a lot of rain or wet, heavy snow. Unsurprisingly, the DWR coating has helped water to bead up and roll off the jacket in any precipitation I’ve encountered, and I’ve had no issues with any moisture saturating the coat, either.
Julia: I also haven’t had any issues with the jacket’s waterproofing performance. Compared to other shells I’ve worn, it falls right in the middle of the spectrum in terms of warmth. The North Face Free Thinker feels a little bit thicker and warmer than the Billie Coat, while the Billie Coat provides a little more warmth than the Scott Explorair or the Arc’teryx Sentinel jackets. On most days, unless it’s sunny and warmer than 40°F, I’ve been wearing a mid-weight merino base layer and a Patagonia Nano Puff under the Billie Coat, though I have been quicker to add an additional mid layer than I have under other shells when it’s colder than 25°F.
Lexi: Out of all the hardshells I’ve worn over the past few years, I’ve been most pleased with the breathability of those that use Gore-Tex Pro fabric. I found that Flylow’s Dobby Intuitive fabric was pretty comparable to Gore-Tex Pro in the Arc’teryx Sarissa and the Norrona Lofoten during high-output activities.
Julia: I’ve also found the Billie Coat to be quite breathable. Although I haven’t taken it on longer tours yet, I’ve spent a number of really warm days in the Billie Coat at Taos, riding the lift and hiking the ridge multiple times a day. In warm temperatures topping 50ºF in the sun, I wore a single midweight merino layer under the Billie Coat. While I still would have been sweating in a t-shirt, I didn’t find myself too uncomfortable with the jacket’s front zipper and vents open on 10-15 minute hikes. And once I got back on the chairlift in the shade, I could cool down without getting too cold.
Lexi: On warmer days in the resort or while touring, I occasionally wished that the pit zips were a little longer (it’s been freakishly warm the last few weeks here in Utah). The pit zips measure 11 inches, and I think that an additional inch or two would help move a little more air through the jacket when needed.
Next: Weight, Packability, and Features