Nunatak Kobuk Mountain Jacket
WHAT YOU GET: Stuffed with ultralight 800-plus-fill goose down, the Kobuk looks and feels like the warmest and lightest puffy jacket around. No wonder: The Twisp, Washington, company's mission is to create a superlight, no-frills insulator with hardly any features to weigh it down.
THE PROCESS: Order on their Web site or by phone. Because of the jacket's simple design, style choices come down to pockets on the front or inside and a hood. From there, pick from Nextec Epic or Pertex Endurance nylon, both with water-resistant properties, or go for even lighter nylon, which will slice the fabric's total weight in half. Then e-mail your arm and chest measurements for a perfect fit.
THE PAYOFF: Unlike most puffies this size, the Kobuk feels sleek. And without unnecessary material and down, there's no cold draft sneaking up through the waistline, filling up the air pocket around my torso; it feels like being encased in a bubble of warm air. by Grant Davis
Beyond Vayu Jacket
Base, $159; as tested, $249; www.beyondfleece.com
WHAT YOU GET: Beyond, a clothier in Eugene, Oregon, uses lightweight wind- and water-resistant Schoeller soft-shell fabrics to create custom-tailored jackets cut to nine different measurementsincluding height, neck, arm, and chestand built to fit like a second skin.
THE PROCESS: At the Web site you can choose from an assortment of 13 customizable jackets. For each garment, select colors and features like multiple pockets, pit zips, hood styles, and thumb loops; with each choice, the customization interface updates how the finished product will look.
THE PAYOFF: I'm five-eleven and on the slim side, so I generally end up with jackets that are snug but too short in the sleeves. With the Vayu, I can extend my arms without the cuffs shooting up to my elbows, and there's no bunching of excess fabric when I bend over or twist. Even with the optional hood and extra pockets (on the arm and chest), the Vayu's sleek lines make for a slick outer jacket or a low-profile midlayer that slides effortlessly under a storm shell. by John Bradley