Gear Review of Beyond Clothing’s Cold Play Soft Shell Jacket

Beyond Clothing. Beyond Clothing (previously known as Beyond Fleece) specializes in custom-made garments.  Soft shell jackets bridge the gap between a hard shell and an insulation layer.  Soft shells are much more breathable than hard shells, offer moderate wind and water resistance, and provide a thin layer of insulation.  On the downside soft shells aren’t 100% waterproof although most soft shells will keep you dry is moderate to light rain.

Why Beyond? Being 6’4” with a 37” sleeve length it has been difficult to find off the shelf outdoor attire that fits and performs.  Our group has several tall campers, so we applied and qualified for an outfitter’s discount.  Using our discount I decided to purchase a soft shell jacket for camping and canoeing.

Cold Play Fabric. The Cold Play Jacket is made with Schoeller Dry Skin Extreme w 3X Dry.  The Schoeller fabric is a mid- weight tightly woven stretchy fabric which enhances freedom of movement.  The inside of the fabric is a light fleece surface which wicks away moisture and adds insulation.

Cold Play Jacket Features. The jacket comes standard with hand pockets, elastic wrist cuffs, and a waist cord to keep cold air from entering the bottom of the jacket. The final weight of the jacket will vary from 21 ounces to 26 ounces for most people. Not only can you tailor the jacket to your measurements but you can select among several options:

  • A zip off hood or an attached hood
  • A waterproof zipper instead of the standard non-waterproof zipper.
  • Pit zips
  • Gear pockets
  • External chest pockets
  • Internal chest pockets
  • Optional color strips

I chose a hunter green Cold Play Men’s soft shell jacket with a YKK water resistant main zipper, pit zips and gear pockets.  In retrospect I would have omitted the additional gear pockets.

Fit. It is important to measure yourself properly so you send the correct measurements.  I do not recommend sending “standard” clothing sizes. When I measured myself according to Beyond’s instructions I was surprised at the difference between these and my “standard” clothing sizes.

The fit of the jacket should be perfect assuming you sent them the correct measurements. Generally speaking the jacket has a trim fit leaving just enough room under the jacket for a base layer or a fleece layer. Because the jacket has a tight fit a parkas or hard shell can easily fit over it to protect you from inclement weather.

The Cold Play is incredibly breathable with moderate warmth, good wicking, and moderate wind protection.  I have worn it winter camping, cool weather hiking and as a paddling jacket.  I especially like to wear it while canoeing in cool weather.  It sheds everything but a direct heavy rain and the large pit zips coupled with a paddling motion bellow fresh air and sweat vapor from your body. All the time I have worn the jacket, I have never had a problem of moisture build-up which I attribute to the breathable fabric and the large adjustable pit zips.

Summary. In addition to the Cold Play jacket we have purchased several items from Beyond Clothing; a Steel Wind Shirt and soft shell pants.  My nephews and I have been very pleased with the performance in each case.  We enviously eye their new Primaloft pants but we currently don’t have enough pennies saved to make the purchase.

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