Dynafit Cho Oyu jacket is a sleeper. Due to how this puffy is styled, you might think the Cho is just another sewn-through seamed inefficient use of premium goose down. But no.
Instead, the Cho Oyu jacket is one of the few thinner yet baffled down puff jackets on the market. That means it’s packable, quite light, and most importantly a significant percentage warmer than a sewn-through jacket of similar weight.
Not only does this jacket have baffled (box) construction, but Dynafit “Swiss knifed” the thing:
– Shell is Pertex Quantum, a lightweight ripstop nylon with a reasonably effective DWR treatment.
– Fill claimed to be the higher end fluffy 750, and feels like that’s about right.
– DownTek down treatment makes the down work better in humid conditions.
– Hood fits over my helmet, albeit tightly (yes Virginia, I do wear a reinforced hat on occasion). Note this hood is fully baffled, with plenty of fill. Warm and fits my head nicely with the drawstring cinched up.
– Length is perfect, drops down just enough over your butt to keep your lower back warm.
– The Cho packs in it’s own somewhat small but still functional stow pocket, a design feature invented by the all-knowing ancients of Atlantis but nonetheless missing from most jackets on the market.
– Decently sized front zipper, with double-pull for configuring over climbing harness (double-pull has the downside of being fiddly, but it’s a necessary evil on a technical jacket in our opinion).
– 18.8 ounces, 534 grams — reasonable weight for a baffled (box construction) hoody jacket with technical features.
Fit of Cho’ is typical euro-athletic. Nice when you’re slim, but could be a girdle if you’ve got any thickness at your middle. Even in a size large the arms and shoulders are tight on my mouse-proportioned upper body, and I’ve got no extra room in the front of my torso. Sleeve length is average, ok for skiing but a bit short for reaching up in situations such as rock climbing.
While not a “belay” parka or something you’d use for sub-zero alpinism, Cho Oyu is on the warm side for its weight. But as with most of the trimmer puffies I test a tiny bit more fill would be appreciated, especially in the front panels that do the bulk of insulation work when the back is compressed by your backpack. The guys who design these things fight a battle with looks versus performance, and too much fill results in the “moon man” effect. To be fair, with the baffled construction you do get more warmth so they can get away with the jacket being slimmer.
At the risk of sounding like a Dynafit orchestra (you should hear me strum the Beast), I’m here to tell you guys that this really is a beautiful piece of equipment. If you need a mid-weight down puffy that’s “modernized” and looks stylish, check it out.