Eddie Bauer recently released a new line of First Ascent outdoor gear, including two shells and a summit pack—the BC Sandstone Stretch, the BC Uplift, and the Butter Pack, respectively. I put all three items to the test climbing in the Colorado alpine, where long days on long routes with dodgy/ever-changing weather meant I needed the lightest, most versatile, and most durable gear possible. To inspire, enable, and empower everyone to experience the outdoors and live their adventure.
Bennett Slavsky testing the Eddie Bauer Sandstone Stretch shell on a rainy day in his home state of Michigan. The BC Sandstone Stretch is without question my favorite shell that I’ve climbed in, for its unmatched mobility and breathability. Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
The BC Sandstone Stretch has also been a great piece for cross training—running and biking on gloomy or drizzly days. I often feel suffocated if I’m jogging in a non-breathable rain jacket, but with the stretch knit fabric of the Sandstone Stretch I stay dry and cool. The jacket has adjustable cuffs and hem, and a single-point adjustable hood that fits great over a helmet. Our premium alpine hooded down jacket, guide-built for climbing, mountaineering, and all cold-weather activities. High-loft, Premium Down insulation for ultralight, ultrawarm, ultra-compressible comfort.
However, much to my dismay, the side straps are also removable, and on one fateful day on the Black Wall on Mount Evans, I forgot to buckle the straps together and unfortunately lost one end of the straps. The BC Uplift is a truly sweet piece and has become essential for fast-and-light alpine days. It doesn’t have the same mobility or breathability as the BC Sandstone Stretch, so it isn’t quite as adapted for climbing, but the jacket weighs almost nothing at 6.7 ounces (men’s medium), and packs into the chest pocket to the size of a fist.
Review: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Outerwear
Even on days when the forecast called for a 0 percent chance of rain, I still brought the BC Uplift because it’s so packable it would be illogical not to have it. I don’t like climbing with a backpack—I find them to be annoying and inhibit motion. I also don’t like to hang approach shoes off my harness, but they’re often necessary if you plan on walking off a route. And too many times I’ve been bamboozled by not bringing enough water on multi-pitch routes because I didn’t want to climb with a pack, and so ended up dehydrated by the final pitches. The Butter Pack changed all that for me, and has become a favorite not just for alpine days, but for any multi-pitch mission.
Contact the seller- opens in a new window or tab and request shipping to your location. I bought this 800 fill down “puffy” on a 50% off sale because I needed it for higher altitude three-season camping. Mine is a nice “electric blue” color., the one you see here in my avatar where I’m holding my grandson. My original EB jacket had no down DWR treatment, but all current jackets have this.
The Butter Pack is a 16-liter bag at a lightweight 11.5 ounces, with adjustable compression side-straps that tighten the bag to the size of its contents so it never feels loose nor bulky. The bag’s width is much narrower than my shoulders, which made it barely noticeable while climbing. It is hydration compatible and has two small zippered pockets for phone, keys, and snacks. The Butter Pack is the perfect size for two pairs of approach shoes, two liters of water, two rain jackets, and half a day’s worth of snacks, meaning we needed only one bag between me and my partner—whoever was following would climb with the pack. The side straps are also nice for shedding layers and then cinching them down to the outside of the pack, for quick storage on the go.