Aspen-based Strafe Outerwear has been an emerging staple of ski culture since their introduction to the outerwear market in 2010. Brothers and University of Colorado grads Pete and John Gaston felt the necessity for a new take on outerwear after enduring an all-too-familiar cycle of sweating their way through hikes up Aspen’s Highlands Bowl, then freezing as temperatures dropped or as storms rolled in.
While on a ski trip in Europe, the Gaston brothers had their eyes opened to alternative design approaches from European brands, lesser-known in the US market – and in 2009, Strafe’s first prototypes and demos were born.
Fast forward ten years and Strafe is still doing exactly what it set out to do – designing mobility-forward, lightweight and breathable gear, still durable enough to handle Mother Nature’s harshest conditions. Now with two storefronts (one at the base of Aspen Highlands and another in the Snowmass Village), a dedicated athlete and ambassador roster, and a growing presence in ski towns across the Rockies, the Strafe brand has earned itself brand recognition and a core following in the North American ski market.
Strafe Cham Jacket & Pants
Test Locations: Colorado Backcountry, Taos Ski Valley
Days Tested: 7
Reviewer: 5’10”, 170 lbs / 178 cm, 77 kg
Size Tested: Large (unisex)
Materials: 3L Schoeller Aerobrane laminate
This year’s material enjoys a blend of durable water-repellent (DWR) Polyester and a Schoeller Aerobrane membrane, making for a refreshingly weatherproof, while also lightweight and breathable result. In other words, the Cham is a quiver-killer layer that thrives on the skin-track and the bootpack. Dual vents underarm (as well as dual, rear-leg vents on the Cham Pant) allow for ample ventilation during climbs or hot laps on warmer days, while the DWR-treated outer material still offers plenty of protection from the elements during colder days and missions.
The fit is relaxed enough for plenty of layering underneath, without any excess fabric or needless awkward space that would make for a baggy look or riding experience. As the Cham design opts to go sans-powder skirt (fans of the powder skirt beware), the Cham Jacket offers an incredibly simple, comfortable interior.
With added perks of unisex sizing on the Pant and Jacket (new for 2020), spacious, backpack-friendly oversized pockets for climbing skins, 4-way stretch fabric, a sleek, internal media pouch and an external ski pass pocket, the Cham has been able to handle pretty much everything we’ve thrown at it – both in the backcountry and at the resort.
All in all, both the Jacket and Pant offer pretty much everything you need, without the addition of anything that you don’t.
FEATURES – Cham Jacket:
- Ultralight, minimalist design for ultimate touring shell performance. No powder skirt, wrist cuffs, or superfluous add-ons.
- Extremely air-permeable shell sheds excess heat with exposed underarm vents for warmer days.
- 4-way stretch and strategic paneling, with backpack-friendly seamless shoulders, encourages active movement.
- Fully seam sealed, waterproof 3-layer construction with DWR (durable water repellent) finish and integrated helmet compatible hood with 3-point adjustment for when the weather deteriorates.
- Soft microfleece lined front hood & chin guard add next-to-skin comfort. Full length interior windguard.
- Oversized backpack-friendly chest pockets big enough for skins with one interior mesh electronics sleeve.
- Interior zippered mesh pocket with media port and a large mesh drop pocket with elastic binding; plus a pass pocket on lower sleeve if the lifts are calling
- Water resistant and reliable YKK AquaGuard® (Coil) and VISLON® zippers.
FEATURES – Cham Pant
- Ultralight, minimalist design for ultimate touring shell performance. No superfluous add-ons.
- Extremely air-permeable shell sheds excess heat with exposed hamstring vents for warmer days.
- 4-way stretch and articulated paneling encourages active movement.
- Fully seam sealed, waterproof 3-layer construction with DWR (durable water repellent) finish for when the weather deteriorates.
- Large hand pockets with one interior mesh electronics sleeve.
- Simplistic, built-in belt with webbing & hook waist adjustment and comfortable microfleece lined waist band
- Crampon-ready, with extra tall CORDURA® scuff guards and adjustable with YKK snaps at back calf.
- Boot compatible with single pull drawcord at hem and powder cuffs to keep snow out.
Strafe Outerwear can be found at either of their brick-and-mortar locations in the Aspen Valley, or online at StrafeOuterwear.com.