Motorfist Contessa Jacket Review
The Motorfist Contessa Jacket is part of the brand’s Contessa Series, positioned as “premier mountain gear for women”. Mountain Sledder had the chance to try it out in the mountains this winter and form some of our own opinions. Here is our Motorfist Contessa Jacket Review.
Motorfist Contessa Jacket Review – Gear Review
The Good Stuff
First of all, the Motorfist Contessa Jacket is very waterproof. It kept me dry in extemely wet conditions—including rain on lower-elevation trails and wet, late-season Revelstoke snow up high. The waterproofness comes courtesy of eVent waterproof-breathable membrane, which is a well-established brand name.
The jacket is a shell-only with no insulation, perfect for layering. This is ideal for mountain riders as we all know, and should be worn with a layering system. This allows us to easily layer-up or -down depending on changing weather conditions and physical exertion levels.
Style and colour probably sell just as many jackets overall as technical features do. In this case, the Contessa is a nice, bright blue colour. It’s easy to see out there, even in the midst of a whiteout. That’s great for safety and for lookin’ good too. There is also a dandy-looking green version, and a classic all-black as well.
The jacket fits true to size. At 170cm ( 5’7″) tall and 57kg (125lb), I usually wear a medium, because I like my jacket to be a little loose and the sleeves to be long enough. In this case, the Motorfist Contessa Jacket I tested is a small, and it fits snug. The sleeves and back of the size small are just long enough; a medium size would probably be just right. In any case, the fits is pretty spot on and it’s tailored to contour a lady’s waist and hips nicely.
The Contessa features a two-step adjustable powder skirt to help keep out the snow. It works pretty well—unless you take a wicked tumble in the snow, which can push the skirt up. But that situation is the result of operator error, not jacket manufacturer! If by chance you have the matching Contessa Bib, the skirt can snap onto your bibs, making the combo button-up tight.
A thoughtful feature is the mesh-lined back vent zips. I didn’t use these on account of the wet, sloppy snow conditions I tested the jacket in. But it’s easy to imagine that these would be fantastic on drier days to vent heat from behind my backpack. I would think that a rider could leave these open for some really good airflow without too much snow ingestion. These replace a traditional armpit vent.
The Contessa features a hood, which looks good. It comes in handy if you’re stopped for a bit in crappy weather. You can throw the hood up and stay warm and dry underneath. It can also be cinched with drawstrings on either side during really nasty times. And while a hood is not very useful while wearing a helmet riding, it’s worthwhile on those other occasions. The hood can also be removed.
As a bonus, the Motorfist Contessa has a tether attachment point on the lower, left side. Certainly many mountain riders will prefer to attach their tether strap to the looser leg strap loop of their backpack. But a tether attachment point does come in handy for riding outside of avalanche terrain where a backpack isn’t necessary.
There is a cuff sleeve system which helps keep snow outside. A thumb cutout keeps the sleeve in place. I didn’t get any snow or wetness up the sleeves. Dry wrists equals happy girl! The jacket cuff opening are slim though, making it a pain-in-the-butt to tuck glove cuffs underneath if that’s what you like to do. Your best option with this jacket is to wear a gauntlet-style glove that can go overtop of the jacket cuffs. Just remember, if a gauntlet glove is good enough for Rob Kincaid, it’s good enough for you.
There are two big pockets on the front of the jacket. These have nice big openings, are in a great location and are easy to use. These are the only pockets, however. Inside the left-front pocket is a goggle wiper on a tether. Super handy! Especially on wet days.
Good news. The Contessa features waterproof zippers all-round. Bad news. The zippers are quite stiff, and the main jacket zip is difficult to get started, especially with gloves on.
The jacket material is incredibly stiff. Although I don’t doubt that it would survive a nuclear blast, it’s just way overkill. I couldn’t even zip the collar all the way up, because it would interfere with the chin guard on my full-face helmet, preventing me from tilting my head forward. And I don’t have a short neck, either! The outer fabric looks and feels like it will last forever, but at too great a cost to mobility and to a lesser degree, weight in my opinion.
Motorfist Contessa Jacket Review Summary
If durability is more important to you than mobility, then you may want to take a close look at the Contessa. This might be the case for riders who spend more time zipping around on trails than truly working their way up a technical mountainside. There’s no doubt that this jacket is built to last.
Advanced mountain riders, however, will likely be frustrated with having their mobility impeded—however minimally—by the stiffness of the jacket. You’ve got to be able to look down with your jacket on, plain-and-simple.
Otherwise, the Contessa has some pretty great selling points. Above all, it is very waterproof. Likewise, a powder skirt and cuff sleeves work to keep out snow and wetness. The fit is good. The look is good. It’s got thoughtful features like big pockets up-front, venting in the back and a handy goggle wipe onboard. All these features make the Contessa a great jacket.