First time ordering great Fortress clothing and I will be ordering more next cold season
This is a review for both the Shadow Jacket and the BasePro Crew 2022.
They were both packed into a box the size of two shoeboxes and inflated right up out of their clean plastic bags with no obvious wrinkles. Each item is pretty much weightless I would say considering the warmth they provide.
I am 5'10 with lean build and ordered the Shadow Jacket in size L and the BasePro Crew 2022 in size M with kind personal assistance from CEO Dale himself.
Shadow Jacket in size L fits me comfortably with room enough to fit a shirt and sweater or the BasePro Crew 2022 alone in my case (although one could wear another extra layer(s) if desired.) It does not fit slim due to their insulation technology but it does not look as fat or puffy compared to other winter jackets that provide a fraction of the warmth of Fortress. And the waist synching cords on both sides work well to slim down the look from the side and stay secure. Before wearing, the jacket looked a bit odd from the front when on a hanger in a dented way in the elbows because I think it is lacking the insulation there but when wearing, it becomes negligible/unnoticeable. After several weeks of wearing, it looks normal even hanging on a hanger. The hood is not detachable and does not lie down but props up by itself due to the insulation inside. Looks fine from the side unless you prefer the lie flat look of a hoodie but this is not a hoodie.
The fabric was indeed waterproof with their DWR Finish so the cold rain and sleet rolled right off. I admit I did not test it by dipping into a freezing river like the company did in their promo vid.
BasePro Crew 2022 in size M fits me somewhat loosely--their foam layers give it shape and suspend it a bit off my body in some places and I am reminded of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle from the side mirror view like I think another reviewer mentioned. Not uncomfortable fitting though. Super lightweight. Weighs barely anything. The thumbholes on the wrist are a nice touch.
I've tested both or at least one clothing extensively for little over a month almost every day in weather ranging from -7F to 65F although they are both supposed to be worn from -5F and up.
I was NOT COLD ONCE when I was wearing these both at the same time or each one with other clothing of mine.
The warmest was when I was wearing both with not even an undershirt. And I say warmest but I was not overly warm/hot but just plain comfortable without feeling any cold in my upper body even when the winds were cutting through my non-Fortress pants; hurting my face and non-Fortress gloved hands; making those around me complain how freezing the weather was.
The next warmest was pretty much equally when 1. I was wearing the Shadow Jacket with a non-Fortress thin polyester baselayer and a non-Fortress midweight polyester fleece or midweight wool zip-up baselayer OR 2. I was wearing only the BasePro Crew 2022 under a moderately down-filled cold weather jacket.
But even when I mixed and matched the Fortress and non-Fortress wear, it was not so far off in warmth from when I wore both Fortress wear simultaneously, probably due to the temperature self-regulation that Fortress fans rave about. Maybe in more extreme weather that I unfortunately did not get a chance to test it in, it would make a bigger difference.
And can you believe I did not sweat once (that I noticed?!) into the BasePro Crew 2022!
I ordered these two as a test after reading countless positive reviews and had high hopes going in but they actually over-delivered on their performance. Now that I know, I will be ordering more the next winter for myself and family, friends and gradually replace some of my older non-Fortress clothing. (I had been considering getting a super-warm down jacket for extreme weather for prepping purposes but been hesitant about how goose down doesn’t perform well when wet or the steep price that comes with such warmth. The Shadow Jacket took care of that need at a fraction of the cost.) I may try the even higher performance Storm Coat in size M so that it fits slimmer against the body and I don’t have to wear anything other than one slim shirt underneath. Hopefully Fortress also increases their line even more so that there are nice fitting Hoodies that offer a minimum amount of Aeris tech for just enough warmth (not needed for extreme weather) without looking a bit puffy. Just a note, make sure the items you are ordering incorporates their Aeris tech if you are looking for that. Some of them do not.
Anyway, don't hesitate. Just order.