Flylow Lab Coat


I’ve now got about eighty days of skiing in the Lab Coat, and have bootpacked and shouldered skis up peaks a ton. I’ve worn a pack on about thirty of these days, and I don’t take good care of my stuff. (Except for my Anon M2 goggles, because they are awesome and probably the first piece of gear I’ve ever tried to be gentle with.)

After fifty days, the Lab Coat literally showed no signs of wear. Not a single stitch on the right shoulder (the side I carry my skis) or left shoulder looked distressed, nor did the fabric, anywhere. At some point during the next thirty days of use, I got a faint mark / scuff on the right arm from what was likely a sharp ski edge. You can barely see it. I have had no issues with the zipper tape, or tabs.

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Flylow Lab Coat, Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth in the Flylow Lab Coat, Wanaka, New Zealand.


All I’ll say is that, on the breathability front, we know of no more breathable waterproof membrane currently on the market. If breathability is your primary concern, you could save yourself some time by only shopping for Polartec Neoshell jackets.

I won’t disagree with Sam Shaheen’s take on what that means in the real world, but I can tell you that on some very warm days this season at Taos, I have never removed the Lab Coat for the hike up to Kachina Peak. Once or twice, I have bothered to take my midlayer off (in both instances, I was wearing The North Face Thermoball, which isn’t a very breathable midlayer). I just unzipped the front zipper and the big pit zips and started hiking.


I probably don’t need to point this out, but just in case: this is an uninsulated jacket made of the world’s most breathable laminate. It’s not designed to be warm. That’s what base layers and midlayers are for.

More to the point is that, on the hottest days of the season (and on some very hot days down in New Zealand), I could happily wear a super light base layer and this jacket and be comfortable.


Since I’m prepared to put this jacket in league with another very high-end jacket I’ve been reviewing this season, the $650 Arc’teryx Caden, made with new GORE-tex Pro fabric, I don’t think the Lab Coat’s price tag is out of line. Especially since I actually prefer the Lab Coat to the Caden, given the fit and where I personally spend most of my time skiing.

The Arc’teryx Caden is a stellar, serious piece technical outerwear, no question, and I am not about to knock it. But I regard it as more of a premium, severe-weather piece. If I regularly skied in driving rain and sleet, or was doing unsupported, multi-day backcountry tours, it would be easier to make a stronger case for it. But to date, I am completely satisfied with the performance of the Lab Coat (and the Lab Coat 2.0 has seen a price drop to $480 USD.)


So far, so good. No issues, no leaks, no cause for concern. I’ve stayed completely dry in this jacket.

Bottom Line

The Flylow Lab Coat is an excellent jacket, and we have become big fans of Polartec Neoshell. If you prefer a relaxed, freeride fit, and are looking for a fully-featured, durable jacket that you can wear every single day of the season for both resort riding and backcountry use, then I would take a very serious look at the Lab Coat, or the Lab Coat 2.0.

3 comments on “Flylow Lab Coat”

  1. great review and good info specially on the durability and real world feedback! I’m yet to try any flylow outerwear but the lab coat/compound pants are tempting specially with spring sales. Issue is I’m willing to wait for the changes they are doing next year. Jacket will have an extra sleeve pocket which is great for a pass, and the pants are coming with a 7/8th side zippers (find them easier to use for venting) and less pockets (not a big fan of back pockets), but more importantly they are both a little lighter and cheaper! I’m curious to hear what flylow has to say about the weight and price reduction, I want to understand how.

    About the Arcteryx Caden, I really tried to love the jacket but those chest pockets are useless since I can barely put my hand inside to grab things, that was a deal breaker since I use chest pocket a lot because I almost always ski with a pack. Curios to see your review and any comment you might have about the tiny pockets!

    How is the lab coat’s hood compared to the caden’s?

    • Hi Marcel,

      I’ve put some time in the Caden jacket as well. For what it’s worth I haven’t experienced any issues with the chest pockets being to small, which is interesting because I have had that problem with some other jackets. I don’t have small hands (usually wear a Large in most gloves), but I would not say they’re especially huge either. What glove size do you usually wear? (And I’ll check in about how the Caden’s hood compares to the Lab Coat and report back)

      Will B

      • I wear small, the jacket I tried was also small. THey have two chest pockets they “regular” one, think it was the left one was on the small side, I would have to take off the glove to use it comfortably, the “weird” one, with the kinda of storm flap was just tiny on the jacket, I could barely put my bare hands inside. Maybe they are not proportional with the size of the jacket, I’ve seen a review where the guy talk about the same small chest pocket problem, can’t remember if it was on an arcteryx or review. Just weird… to me the RUsh would be the perfect storm day resort skiing jacket, if it wasn’t for the missing chest pocket!

        Anyway, after reading again your review I ended up buying the lab coat on a crazy deal that I couldn’t resist. Will report back once I get some days on it in March!

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