All-weather, all-activity protection in WINDSTOPPER Soft Shell X Fast stretch 3L laminate.
- High-density weft-and-warp construction
- Total mountain protection with integral hood
- 2 handwarmer pockets
- 1 zipped chest pocket
- Flex Comfort preformed elbows
- Lycra inner cuffs and hem for pure lightness
- WINDSTOPPER Soft Shell X Fast Stretch 3L
- Tested size Large
- Weight – 510 g (18 oz)
- Pit to pit – 56.8 cm (22.4 in) tough to get good measurement
- Center back – 73.7 cm (29.0 in)
- Sleeve length – 90.5 cm (35.6 in)
- Retail – $290
If you have been following the site for some time you will know I like European Brands. I like some of their color schemes as well as the trimmer fit than most of them have. Millet is out of Annecy-le-Vieux, France. They have been in business since 1921 but did not get into the mountain industry until the 1950s. Millet which is pronounced “Mee”-“yay” now makes a variety of gear and clothing for the mountains and beyond. They have had some of the world’s best technical advisors to the brand and use top level materials. I was excited to meet with the brand at the Winter Outdoor Retailer show and set up a review of one of their new fall 2012 jackets.
The Trilogy WDS Hoodie is one of the core mountaineering pieces in the fall. I, therefore, tried to get it up in the mountains when I could. Since most of my testing was in the late spring to early fall, weather was a factor and not the way you think. We had lots of sun and not much rain or snow to fully test it out in until recently. The jacket went on a number of trips into the mountains ranging from one to several days. It got put through a little snow, a little rain, plenty of cold, and some very high winds.
The Millet Trilogy WDS Hoodie is a new and exciting addition to the mountaineering line up for fall of 2012. What sets this jacket apart is that it is made of the new Windstopper X-Fast softshell fabric. The X-Fast fabric enhances all the benefits of the original Windstopper fabric, adding an all-way stretch for maximum movement-mirroring ability. Windstopper is a 100% windproof fabric. This is accomplished by a membrane sandwiched between two layers of fabric, an inner next to skin fabric and outer shell fabric. This is similar to the way many of the top of the line jackets work. The difference is the seams are not taped, and it has a different membrane. It is hard to get any definitive information from gore as they are VERY protective of their technologies. The X-Fast fabric is much thinner than other wind blocking fabrics I have used and is supposed to offer virtually unlimited breathability. By being windproof the Windstopper X-Fast is supposed to keep you 2.5x warmer while being 2x more breathable as comparable windproof products. Windstopper X-Fast is not waterproof but has been designed to be able and handle snow or a light rain.
Millet’s Trilogy WDS Hoodie has taken this Windstopper fabric and turned it into a fast and light mountaineering softshell. It has a stripped-down feature set, but does keep the essentials. The hood is tighter fitting to help keep out the elements and has multi-point adjustments for fit. To enhance fit the jacket has preformed elbows. Millet has shaved off some weight by making both the wrist cuffs and the bottom hem simple Lycra so they stay snug but do not need much material. The hoodie has a full length front zipper with a wind panel behind it and protection over the chin. For pockets the hoodie has three: two hand pockets and a zip chest pocket. These all have mesh pocket bags, so they can be opened up for breathability. One good thing about these pockets is that the zippers do not go all the way to the bottom. By not going all the way to the bottom, there is a little ridge that keeps things from accidentally falling out when the pocket is open. Now as for two negatives on the pockets, the first is there is not an audio out from the chest pocket. This seems like a very easy thing to add and one thing I missed. The second is the hand warmer pockets are on the lower side, so they may get in the way of your backpack hipbelt. I know that for me, it made the bottom of the pockets unusable when carrying a pack, fortunately the pockets are large, so there was plenty of room left.
As I have researched the hoodie it has been difficult to find much information of the exact materials and their sources. Furthermore, in my research of Millet as a brand they do not do a good job of covering and corporate initiatives they may be doing to help with sustainability. I hope they are participating in some of these, but it was not apparent to me. For these reasons, I gave the jacket a zero rating for sustainability.
Arm Length (20%)
Cuffs & Hem (10%)
Ease of Movement (20%)
Torso Sizing (20%)
Since Millet is a French brand it can sometimes be more difficult to get your sizing correct. I am normally in between a size small and medium in US sizes, and that would put me between a medium and large in European sizes. I ended up testing a European large (US medium) and in retrospect, I think I would go with a medium (US small) next time. Take a look at the Millet size chart before you purchase, and you will be good as the fit for me seemed right on the chart. This is not to mean that the large fit poorly, just that since the jacket can stretch really well I did not need the extra room underneath like I may have wanted on another jacket. The fit on the large left a little extra room in the midsection and the arms were basically right on in length. I think I would welcome the less material in the midsection and while I really liked the length in the arms, I do not think a slight shortening would be a big deal for me if I sized down. As is the jacket easily layered over a lightweight insulating layer and still felt like I had plenty of mobility, and some room underneath.
Millet has stripped the jacket down a bit to save weight but kept it completely full functioning. The wrist cuffs are a basic Lycra cuff which I personally like. This cuff stayed close enough that on my hike with 50+ mph winds I did not have any issues with wind coming up the cuff. I wish they could have come up with a solution for a thumb loop as I could see that being a handy feature on this jacket. The hem cuff worked well on me as it was sized just where I like my jackets normally to be as far as tightness. One thing I was worried about was the lack of adjustable bungee at the hem, but this was not an issue on my hikes or climbs. I could see wanting it more if I was to get out in the snow. Being able to cinch down the hem when skiing makes a big difference on powder days. The Lycra hem did help it fit under a backpack hipbelt really well. On the one trip that was really rainy and windy I definitely needed the hood and must say it worked well. I was able to adjust it to stay close to my face, and it stayed there, gave me protection, and did not negatively affect my vision. I was wearing a ball cap for the bill which also helped. This was not the only time I used the hood and liked it each time I did.
Where the Trilogy is awesome is in the stretch of the fabric. I know the hoodie is made for mountaineering, but you really can use it for a variety of activities. The fabric is light and stretches no matter what you are doing. It really does not feel like it is there. This is the main reason why I could have sized down. The interior of the jacket has a soft fleece-like backer that is comfortable against the skin. During all my activities, this was a very comfortable hoodie.
Water Resistance (10%)
Wind Resistance (20%)
This is definitely a performance piece, and you can tell when you first look at it. It is mainly at home in the mountains and has been built as so. The softshell material is abrasion resistant and can handle a lot of punishment. One thing that is also great about softshell jackets is not only do you get the stretch, but the jacket is so much quieter to wear. I tested this jacket on several trips in a variety of temperatures, and I must say that the breathability is really impressive. As I think about it, I cannot think of a time where I truly overwhelmed the jacket. Even when climbing I could maintain a descent temperature and avoid sweating, this is a problem with many other windproof or waterproof jackets. The Windstopper is truly 100% windproof. I had the jacket out in winds gusting to 60 mph and had no perceivable air getting through which is a good thing as it was in the upper 30s at the time. I know the jacket was only water resistant, but I wanted to truly test it, and that I did. On one day trip it rained pretty solidly the whole time, and the jacket held up for the first hour but eventually the rain won and started to seep in. A light rain or snow will be no issue for the jacket as it will just bead up and roll off, but if you are expecting heavy rain, I would suggest a waterproof jacket.
The fabric on the Trilogy is fairly thin but still offers a descent amount of warmth. More than you would expect, especially in windy conditions. This made the hoodie very versatile; I could use it for any dry, snowy, or even light rain activity I had planned. While it excels as a mountaineering jacket by design, it does not mean you cannot use it for other things. The construction and durability seem to be very good on the Trilogy. I have not had any issues with wear or even occasional loose threads like I have had with some other jackets. It has held up great thus far and like many of my other softshells I imagine it will last a long time.
Overall, I have really liked the Millet Trilogy WDS Hoodie. It has been great for the drier climate we have here in Bend. We get little rain and lots of wind so this jacket fits right in. The jacket is very supple and has an excellent stretch to it. This makes it great for activities where you are moving as the jacket will not impede in any way. It is important to realize that it does have limits in that it is 100% windproof but only water resistant. Snow and light rain will not be an issue, but heavy rain can be over time. This being said I know most people will not choose to be out in the pouring rain if they can avoid it. The other thing worth repeating is the excellent breathability of the Windstopper X-Fast fabric. It is far and away better than and other windproof jackets I have tested. There are a couple of tweaks I would make to the jacket, but for the most part, it is sweet. If you have not heard or tried a Millet jacket, this would be an excellent first choice. The Trilogy WDS Hoodie is set to retail for $290. You do not see many Millet Jackets in the states, but if they are like this one, you should see more. As a funny side note, on my last hike in the jacket I ran across another hiker up in the wind and rain. He was an older gentleman and had older gear and a wood walking stick. I happened to look at his jacket, and it was a 70s or 80s Eider Jacket. I thought that this was funny as Eider and Millet are both under the LaFuma umbrella. That and who would figure that the only two people up on Broken Top in a rain storm would have French jackets on. Any ways, as always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Great stretch
- 100% Windproof
- Simple design
- Breathes well
- Trimmer fit
- No audio port in chest pocket
- Still miss the bungee adjustment for the bottom hem
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