Black Crows Freebird Xpore Jacket and Ora Body Map Pants Women's Kit Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

Black Crows Freebird Xpore Jacket & Ora Body Map Pants - Women's Kit Review

Kicking off my very first outerwear kit review with the Black Crows Women’s Freebird Xpore Jacket and Ora Body Map Pants. Since the first mention of incorporating outerwear reviews in addition to our ski reviews, I’ve been looking forward to sharing my opinion on various pieces as it is high up on the list of essentials for many. With short form descriptions and features available for almost every piece of ski apparel, we figured why not dive deeper and provide a closer look at individual items with personal experience testing each on the mountain. Now, it’s one thing to like the look of a kit, but it’s another thing to have faith in the functionality, fit, performance, and feel. In this review, we will focus on the fine details of both the jacket and pants, looking at the fit, features, and fabric.

Black Crows is an independent French freeski brand from Chamonix. Recognized for their eye-catching, bright colored skis and original logo, Black Crows has established a strong and unique presence in the ski industry, combining big mountain performance with freeski attributes. Introducing outerwear several years after their grand debut, each piece is produced with high quality materials, technical features, and flattering fits. For women’s outerwear, they categorize the jackets and pants, similar to their skis, into three types of performance: all terrain, big mountain and mountain touring. I find this to be unique and quite helpful, as each specific garment takes into account the level of breathability, waterproofness, and range of motion required for each discipline of skiing. The reebird Xpore Jacket is their mountain touring jacket, while the Ora Body Map pants fall into the big mountain category.

Black Crows Freebird Xpore Jacket and Ora Body Map Pants Women's Kit Review: Action Image 1 Black Crows Freebird Xpore Jacket and Ora Body Map Pants Women's Kit Review: Action Image 4

I’ll start off by saying that I’ve never been one to rock a matching set for my outerwear kit. Since owning this blue on blue Black Crows outfit, let’s just say I’ve been converted. While the jacket and pants don’t necessarily go together, as they have slightly different applications, it would be hard to tell. In the same stone blue color, appearance-wise they look like a matching set but their design and fabrics differ significantly. I’m 5’3 and 110 pounds and fit perfectly in the size small jacket but would probably size down in the size small pants as they are slightly baggy. Speaking of the pants, the fit is quite different from what I’m used to, featuring a more traditional style but with a high waist and removable lycra. This provides not only a more secure and comfortable fit around the waist, but it also prevents any snow from getting in. They also feature an adjustable waist with Velcro strips and belt loops to allow for a more customized fit. While I typically wear bibs, I think the fit of these pants is great and though an XS might suit someone my size better, I don’t mind the baggier look. Plus the stretch snow gaiters in the cuffs allow the option to roll up the bottoms for walking around in the parking lot and the resort. As for the jacket, the size small feels comfortable and suitable for my body shape, though the length is a bit shorter than I would like for a ski jacket. Other than the length, it fits my arms, shoulders, back, and torso very nicely. The cuffs adjusted by hidden elastic make for a snug fit around my gloves and while it may be too tight for larger mittens, I have found no issue thus far.

Looking at the fabric, the exterior of the jacket is made from recycled polyester and high performance waterproof and breathable PFC-free 3L Xpore mechanical stretch material. While I have been lucky enough to have only worn it on sunny, mild temperature days so far, I would expect the jacket to be slightly more waterproof than the pants. With a more technical approach as far as the overall design, the jacket also features chevron designed waterproofing seal tape. Since it is geared towards touring, it is extremely lightweight and breathable, ideal for uphill performance. That said, it does not have any insulation and therefore is just a shell. I do have to wear multiple layers underneath to stay warm so unless you are using it for its designed application or you don’t mind wearing a shell, you may want to look into an insulated jacket. On colder, windier days, I would probably opt for a different jacket. As far as the pants, they are made with a 2L ripstop membrane using recycled polyester and Polartec Alpha direct insulation. The Primaloft insulated lining of these pants is super cozy and warm, with ventilation zips on the side of the thighs with mesh lining for when things heat up. The exterior fabric is durable and windproof, with lower leg reinforcements that I deem crucial, especially for how closely I keep my legs together when I ski in the bumps and tight trees. All in all, the fit and feel of the fabrics in both the jacket and pants is high quality and best of all, recycled materials. The jacket is a bit more technical as far as protection from the elements but the pants are incredibly warm and durable.

Black Crows Freebird Xpore Jacket and Ora Body Map Pants Women's Kit Review: Freebird Xpore Jacket Exterior Pocket Closeup Black Crows Freebird Xpore Jacket and Ora Body Map Pants Women's Kit Review: Hood Profile

This brings us to the impressive features in both the jacket and pants. What I love most about these two pieces is the number of pockets. Not only that, but the placement of the pockets. In most ski jackets, you have the two side pockets and a chest pocket. I find when I store belongings in the standard side pockets, I feel restricted when skiing. In the Freebird Xpore jacket, there are two large closed chest pockets, spacious enough to fit a number of items that lay naturally against your torso rather than restricting movement at your waist. Another nice touch is the goggle wipe featuring the Chamonix map that is attached to the inside of the right front chest pocket. It also has a skipass pocket at the bottom of the sleeve, which is a must have for me, making it super convenient and easy. In addition, it features two large inside mesh lycra pockets, perfect for storing extra goggle lenses. While I’m not typically a hood wearer, it does have an attached helmet hood with a stand-up collar, ideal for storm weather days. Lastly, I really love the ventilation zips on this jacket. Though they don’t feature a mesh lining, typical in most jackets, they do zip all the way down for maximum ventilation, which I like. Whether you’re using this jacket in the backcountry or the resort, it offers plentiful features making it very user-friendly.

As for the pants, though I already mentioned this, the high waisted fit with removable lycra and an adjustable belt makes for a really comfortable fit. While I consider myself a bib person, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this style of pants. Looking at the features, I once again love the number and placement of the pockets. With two zippered hand pockets on the sides, as well as two zipped thigh pockets with button closures, there are several options for storage. The Primaloft insulated lining on the inside is extremely cozy and warm, but when things heat up, the ventilation zips on the sides feature a mesh lining and offer the option to cool down. One of my favorite details on these pants is the lower leg reinforcements located on the cuffs. Not only does this provide protection from sharp edges, which I am always a victim of, it also adds a really nice black accent to the stone blue. And I can’t forget the stretch snow gaiters with elastic silicone support band-perfect for rolling up and over the cuffs for extra protection. Plus, it shows off the unique and eye-catching Black Crows logo. Durable, comfortable, and packed with features, the Ora Body Map pants have become a personal favorite.

I think it’s safe to say that since owning this matching Black Crows set, I have been officially converted to a solid color kit wearer. Aesthetically, the blue on blue ensemble has attracted notable attention on the hill and I’m not complaining. A statement piece, it not only looks great, with subtle black accents and the famous Black Crows logo sprinkled throughout, but it fits and feels high quality and durable. That said, the price speaks for itself, with the jacket and pants costing roughly $1,260. So, definitely not a cheap outerwear kit, but that price will certainly pay off given the quality materials, fit, and level of protection and comfort. I have been incredibly happy with both and will certainly be on the lookout for the next Black Crows matching set.

Written by Emily Crofton on 02/22/23

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