Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Essential | The Down (Puffy) Coat

When it gets cold outside, and when I say cold I mean like 8°F cold, you are going to need more than a wool overcoat and scarf to keep you warm. You need something that adequately retains your body heat while also protecting you from the elements. Enter the down coat. The down, or fine bird feathers, found in these coats provide an excellent thermal barrier by effectively trapping pockets of air. Consider the puffy a winter essential when the temperature drops. Personally, I never leave the house without one when it dips below 20­°F.

As an avid snowboarder, I have a couple down jackets in my collection of snow outerwear. In fact, if you are looking for a down jacket, I would venture to say a snowboard shop is a great place to look - high quality, waterproof material, fashionable cuts and patterns, and sturdy construction intended for use up in the mountains and in the snow for extended periods. Many brands offer styles with an urban influence that are intended to look good on the mountain as well as in town.

In terms of brands, Holden, L1 and Foursquare do an excellent job of balancing style and function. Allow me to highlight a few jackets in this arena, ideal for the slopes or the city. (Click on the photos to link to an online retailer)

Holden Puffy Woods Jacket in Black • $160-199
(Note: This jacket's insulation is not down but 180g high-loft polyester)

Holden Maplethorpe Down Jacket in Black Lotus • $199-263

L1 Mendenhall Down Jacket in Black Stripe • $299-340

Foursquare PJ Jacket in Black Rip Plaid • $225
(Note: This jacket's insulation is not down but 100g theremore)

Foursquare Ruff Jacket • $299-320

Bonfire Hoodoo Jacket in Mocha Herringbone • $113-140

Lastly, I'd be doing a disservice to you if I didn't include the link to my favorite site for my online snowboard gear shopping:

The site's tagline is "only chumps pay full price" and I couldn't agree more. Brociety offers one 'insane deal' at a time. As soon as one deal sells out, another pops up on the site. Most of the items are sold at 40%-60% off the retail price. Until recently, I praised the site for it's lifetime satisfaction guarantee. However, now it is a 30 day unconditional guarantee which still isn't bad.

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