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Brooks-Range Cirro Belay Parka - A Great Minimalist, Function-Focused Belay Jacket
Like most mature industries, larger companies tend to dominate the climbing and outdoor markets. And while these established players provide great products, there are still some small independent players offering an alternative to the more mainstream brands. Brooks-Range is one of these smaller companies.
Brooks-Range Cirro Bleay Parka

Brooks-Range Cirro Belay Parka

Based in California, Brooks-Range was founded by Matt Brooks, a certified mountain guide and a member of the American Mountain Guides Association. And looking at the product line, it’s obvious that his climbing background drives the product development process. Many of the items are geared specifically at alpinists or professional mountain and ski guides, while the less core items still embody a lightweight and function-driven focus that is appreciated by anyone heading outdoors.

One of the company’s more core items is the Cirro Belay Parka. Built with a lightweight Pertex Quantum shell fabric and filled with Primaloft Gold synthetic insulation, the Cirro is a great piece to throw over other layers when belaying (especially in damp and cold conditions) or when you get back to camp. The jacket’s clean construction provides excellent warmth and weather protection without restricting movement and visibility. The jacket’s sleek patterning is also equally functional; roomy enough for extra layers, but not so baggy that it adds extra weight and bulk. This attention to small details carries over to the hood construction and the wrist cuffs. You see, unlike many belay parka hoods that are festooned with numerous drawcords and adjustments, the Cirro simply has one adjustment around the face. And surprisingly, it does a good job of keeping out drafts (regardless of whether you’re wearing extra headwear and a helmet) without compromising visibility. The wrist cuffs are similarly simple and functional; built with a soft stretchy fabric that’s cut asymmetrically for a snug and draft-free fit. Other details worth noting include a zippered chest pocket for small essentials, two zippered handwarmer pockets with weather-shedding flaps and a stretchy inner mesh pocket that’ll accommodate extra gloves, a water bottle or energy bars.

In the field, I found that the Cirro delivered a surprising amount of warmth (even in damp conditions) and yet it was not so hot that I could not also use it in milder weather. I also appreciated that it took up relatively little space in my pack during the approach thanks to the jacket’s lightweight and compressible materials. Initially, I was a bit unsure about the simplified hood adjustment (would it work as well as the more complicated systems found on many other jackets?), but after using it with and without a helmet, I found it surprisingly effective. This is a great minimalist, function-focused belay jacket that’s perfect for ice climbing or even during cool weather cragging. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense belay jacket, that’s an alternative to the more mainstream brands, check out the Cirro Belay Parka – you won’t be disappointed.

You can check out the Cirro and other great Brooks-Range products at http://brooks-range.com/
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 35 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid-80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.