Welcome to another installment of Editor’s Review, from FREESKIER. Each week our staff provides in-depth, honest reviews about the gear they’re testing. Our goal? To point you towards the best brands and products on Earth so you can trust your equipment whole-heartedly and have as much fun in the mountains as possible. Read up on Strafe’s Cham 2 kit, below, then visit us again tomorrow for more awesome gear coverage.
For backcountry rippers who put a premium on weight savings and breathability, Aspen, Colorado-based Strafe offers up the Cham 2 kit; the jacket and pant are constructed of supremely lightweight, stretchy and über-breathable Polartec Neoshell, resulting in a no-bulk jacket-pant combo that allows for freedom of movement on the skin track or during a boot-pack, while also delivering outstanding temperature regulation and protection from the elements.
The jacket registers just 550 grams and the pant weighs in at 445 grams (in size medium), making this pairing one of the lightest on the market. The minimalist garments also emphasize breathability; Polartec Neoshell’s unique membrane—celebrated for its air-permeable qualities—allows for ultra-quick, efficient two-way air exchange, and thereby water vapor evacuation. Sweaty baselayers, be gone! For those who demand the absolute best temp’ control while exerting loads of energy on the uptrack, this kit comes highly recommended.
Rest assured, the Strafe Cham 2 kit will stand up to Mother Nature when the time calls. Do not associate words like “light” and “breathable” with ineffectiveness; these garments boast fully sealed seams and ample waterproof protection (10K rating) to ensure they’ll fare well in all but the absolute wettest of conditions.
Thoughtful details implemented into this kit put a cherry on top of the proverbial sundae:
The Strafe Cham 2 jacket ($465.00) features patterning optimized for articulation and freedom of movement; two large, pack-friendly seamless shoulders; pack-friendly chest pockets that accommodate climbing skins; an interior mesh electronics sleeve; a helmet compatible hood with three-point adjustment and a moldable visor; a chamois fleece lined collar and chin guard; exposed underarm vents; a pass pocket on the upper, lefthand sleeve; an adjustable and removable powder skirt with lycra stretch panel and gripper elastic; hem drawcord adjustment and more.
The Strafe Cham 2 pant ($365.00) boasts large, top-down zippered hamstring vents; dual zippered thigh pockets including an internal beacon pocket on the right side; ultra-tall Cordura crampon/edge guards; a minimalist cuff adjustment system to accommodate all boot types; a Chamois fleece lined waist band; external Velcro waist adjustment and belt loops and more.
I’ve sported this kit over the past few weeks and have been very impressed. “Airy” is perhaps the first word that comes to mind when thinking of the Cham 2 duo; the kit is seemingly weightless, and the exceptional breathability of the garments has kept me dry and happy through grueling boot-packing experiences and lengthy ski-touring missions. I also appreciate the stretch factor—especially while boot-packing, a situation in which freedom of movement is paramount. Furthermore, when paired with Strafe’s Alpha Mid Jacket, the kit effectively battled biting-cold temperatures, snow and wind. Lastly, the bright, poppy colors are appreciated and also provide a boost in the safety department; you never know when you might need a rescue.
The Cham 2 kit in action