The ideal puffy jacket for cold-weather hunting.
My CANIS Alps down jacket arrived in the middle of one of the consistently coldest winters in recent memory here in northern Colorado. The timing couldn’t have been better. On a single-digit day in February, after admiring the very cool camo pattern, I zipped myself into this cozy down puffy, stepped into my cross-country skis, and glided out for a spin around the local park.
Initially, I thought my jacket might be a bit too small. But after just a few minutes, I realized the size (medium) was perfect for me. Yes, this jacket is form-fitting. It’s meant to be. The body-hugging design keeps your core toasty, but the jacket is wonderfully stretchable through the shoulders, so it never binds. It gives you lots of freedom of movement, whether you’re propelling yourself along with ski poles or swinging a shotgun. I know that for a fact because I wore the jacket extensively at my local sporting-clays range, shooting hundreds of rounds over many cold mornings in February and March while getting ready for a spring dove shoot in Argentina.
The Alps jacket features 5.3 ounces of water-repellent goose down, which makes it super warm, but not bulky at all. It features two handwarmer pockets, one handy zippered chest pocket that works great for a phone or keys, and two deep mesh pockets inside. The hood design is by far the best of any puffy jacket I’ve tried—it snugs up to your face without getting in the way of your vision, and it can easily be pulled over a brimmed cap. I also love the fleece-lined collar and the way it easily zips up to completely cover your chin when the air is frigid. The jacket’s overall design is sleek, so there is nothing to interfere or catch when you slide a backpack or rain jacket over it.
The Alps jacket (like all down products from CANIS) packs down amazingly small and comes with a waterproof stuff sack to keep it dry when it’s riding in your backpack. The CANIS developers say the pack sack can also serve as a water bucket if you need one in a pinch.
In short, this is one impressive jacket, one that will definitely accompany me on a tough mountain hunt I have planned for this fall. But I wanted to know more. Truth be told, until a few months before I tested this jacket, I had never even heard of CANIS, so I did some digging to find out the story behind this company.
As it turns out, the CANIS brand is relatively new to the hunting community, but the know-how behind this high-tech clothing was two decades in the making. Co-founders Marcel Geser and Ryan Efurd come from different continents and very different backgrounds. Geser is an award-winning technical apparel designer from Switzerland, and Efurd is an Arkansas-born and bred Air Force veteran, entrepreneur, and hard-core international hunter. They teamed up to create a collection of versatile, practical hunting apparel and introduced their initial collection to the world a little more than three years ago.
A tailor by trade, Geser started a high-end, technical skiwear brand in Switzerland called Mountain Force, and later founded a very well known product development studio in the field of technical sportswear and innovation called Development Never Stops, which works with the largest mountaineering and ski apparel brands in the world. Efurd met Geser when the former began studying who was making and designing the best technical apparel on the market. Although he was looking to create gear for hunters, Efurd investigated the equipment used in the skiing, mountaineering, and Special Forces worlds. “What were the guys who were climbing Mt. Everest wearing?” he wanted to know.
Geser and Efurd teamed up to serve the needs of the modern-day hunter. One of the things they learned was that super-lightweight material can be problematic when a hunter is far from civilization in challenging conditions. Therefore, they started engineering lightweight fabrics with a very high weight to strength ratio. The results are materials that are the strongest in their weight class. The products in their Alps line, like my jacket, are extremely tear and abrasion resistant, resulting in ultra-durable gear.
In addition to developing innovative fabrics, the CANIS manufacturing process utilizes their BTL (Built To Last) platform. In BTL, there are no exposed quilting lines because they can be one of the weakest areas of a down garment when used in alpine and subalpine environments. BTL also uses Best in Class water-repellent down to protect the insulation from water and moisture.
The CANIS clothing system features several product lines that, when used together, create a complete layering system for the serious hunter. Learn more at Canisathlete.com.—Diana Rupp