180lbs / 82kgs
Waist size 32
Hard on gear
Scrambling on rocks
Brushing through trees
Good skier but not super-fit so tend to heat up
Winter 14-15 was Planks' first technical outerwear line, and having seen the success/popularity of their accessories and layering range, I was interested to check it out. I had the opportunity to test the Yeti-Hunter, their most technical model, suit for a couple of weeks earlier this season. I skied it in everything from knee-deep powder to 150km/h winds and everything in between. Skiing in-resort and touring in the backcountry.
RideDry20 is the fabric which measures out at 20k waterproofing/15k breathability, putting it just behind the top-end gear from the likes of Trew, Orage etc, but well ahead of the 10k/10k mid-range stuff. I found it performed excellently- breathability wasn't a limiting factor when touring, and I wore the jacket in a rain-storm or two and was bone dry- water beading and running off as advertised. I tested it side-by-side with the Trew Pow Funk/Eagle Pant and would say the performance is pretty much identical.
The jacket is pretty minimalist in terms of features, and there were a couple of key features missing. No waist pockets and limited interior pockets was an issue. You get two big chest pockets and that's it, I think it could do with a couple of interior and waist pockets. The underarm vents are good allowing loads of air flow when touring.
The bib pants do have a chest pocket which does make up for the lack of jacket pockets to an extent. As with most bib pants, they're an absolute fortress in powder: there's no danger of any snow getting in there. The full length outside leg zip is great for touring on warm days. It features an cuff-clip popper which is great when you're not in ski boots to stop the bottom dragging on the deck.
The Planks site warns that the pants come in and oversized fit, but I didn't find this to be the case. I took L and the pants fit normal, as did the jacket in L. I really like the fit of the jacket which is longish (mid-thigh) and quite slim which I like. The thumbhole/wrist cuff is too tight, making it slightly uncomfortable. Solved by not using the thumbhole. I spoke to Planks and they're aware of it and will remedy for 15-16.
This is where I'm really impressed with the Yeti Hunter Suit. The jacket retails at Â£240, the pants at Â£200, which is almost 50% less than most of its competition. Granted, it's marginally less tech (if you buy into the numbers most brands attribute to outerwear waterproofing/breathability, which I'm not sure I do), and doesn't have quite as many features, but the step up in features/tech to a top Orage suit for example doesn't, in my opinion, warrant the extra Â£150-Â£200 per item. Great to see tech outerwear available at such an accessible pricepoint.
I only had the suit for a couple of weeks, so perhaps not best placed to comment, but I saw no wear in that time, and some friends who've ridden the suit all season have been impressed with the long-term durability.
Really nice in my opinion. Distinctive and doesn't fall into the trap of the copy & paste colourblocking that the Norronas, Haglofs, Sweet Protections etc seem to have gone for in recent years, or the overly busy mess like Picture. It somehow manages to look retro and current at the same time.
A really impressive first effort and I'm sure that Planks will be here to stay in the outerwear game. One or two issues which will be ironed out for 15-16, but overall a welcome addition to the market at a hugely competitive pricepoint.