Gear Institute's 2012 Insulated Jacket Reviews: Smartwool PhD SmartLoft Full Zip Jacket

The Smartwool PhD SmartLoft Full Zip Jacket is down-puffy style jacket, but with insulation made from wool

    Photo: Smartwool

THE GOOD
    •    Very warm.
    •    Best next to skin comfort.
    •    More casual, less technical look.
    •    Good weather protection with glossy exterior and DWR treatment.
    •    Great price.

THE BAD
    •    Nearly twice as heavy as other jackets in this category.
    •    Not very packable, too bulky.
    •    Slick-looking exterior will not appeal to everyone.
    •    Less fitted style doesn't work as well as a mid-layer.

THE VERDICT
We found the Full Zip Jacket worked best around town as an outer layer in cool weather. Despite its slimish profile this jacket packs a surprising amount of warmth, but it’s not nearly as light as a down sweater, and felt more “urban” than “expedition.” The design is not as conducive to layering under an outer shell, or for packing when weight and bulk is a concern.

Read the full review at Gear Institute, a network of the best outdoor gear testers in America, dedicated to providing the most professional, objective, and helpful advice you can get about the gear you depend on.

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