MSRP: $449 | STELLAREQUIPMENT.COM
Stellar EQ is a Swedish apparel brand that’s been producing quality outerwear since 2015 and its Free Shell was built with backcountry freeskiers in mind. The jacket’s loose, relaxed fit (with a longer rear hem) matches the aesthetic that many skiers are looking for today. The shell is also jam-packed with technical detailing. Japanese-made, stretchy Dermizax NX three-layer fabric is the main component of the jacket, providing great breathability without sacrificing water and wind-proofing. This practically bombproof jacket—weighing just 755 grams in size large—ensures you’re more focused on the big-mountain line below your ski tips and less on the potential of it soaking through and chilling you to the bone.
Beyond its core construction, the Free Ride Shell offers nearly every feature possible: two well-placed, oversized chest pockets that are accessible while wearing a pack and large enough to store skins, a helmet-compatible hood with one-pull cinch strap to adjust fit, a jacket-to-pant attachment that works with all of Stellar’s snow pants and long pit zips under each arm that provide ample ventilation when you’re working hard on the uphill.
“We did extensive testing for two years before releasing the Free Ride Shell,” said Stellar’s Marketing Coordinator, Julia Stövander. “It was vital for us that all the features a modern freeskier demands were there: minimalistic design, highly technical fabrics and a good fit.”
All that testing allows Stellar EQ to “stick to its guns,” so to say, as they don’t change a product once it’s made; two of its most popular pieces haven’t been tweaked since their introduction in 2015. “We don’t do seasonal collections… we only change a product if we find a way to upgrade it,” Stövander told FREESKIER. Some may say this puts the brand behind the times, but Stellar attributes this to an environmental agenda and one that lets customers keep their gear for longer, without feeling they need to rush to buy something new. In other words, Stellar doesn’t chase trends—it builds pieces that’ll stand the test of time.