I’ve been in search of the perfect mid-layer/everyday jacket for some time now. Something that is light weight, packable, warm, very wind and water resistant and looks good. Multipurpose is the name of the game in my overland adventuremobile living and traveling world, and while I love to have a bunch of jackets, and probably do carry around too many, less is more. There are a bunch of different style jackets that would fit this tall order, all with different compromises, but it seemed that a down insulated option would be the best at meeting the light and packable, great for travel, criteria. In this search DriDown technology got my attention for performance, and the style, and orange color (Red Clay), of the Sierra Designs DriDown Hoody sealed the deal.
MSRP: $199.00 (BUY NOW)
Air Permeability: 0 CFM
Water Entry Pressure: 850 mm
Weight: 12 oz. / 0.34 kg
Fabric: 20D 100% Nylon Ripstop
Insulation: 120g, 800 Fill Duck Down
This hooded full zip jacket is packed with quality features, while still being very basic and extremely functional. The DriDown technology allows the down to retain its insulating properties even while wet, dry faster and stay drier in the first place. This jacket also has an integrated membrane that provides a ton of water and wind protection. It is crazy light weight and packs incredibly small, so small it packs into its own reversible hand pocket. The convertible hood works great in all its configurations; lays flat and out of the way on your back, rolls into the collar without much bulk, can be setup as a tall collar that keeps those drafts from running down the back of your neck and it fits nice and comfortably snug as a full hood when your need maximum warmth. Elasticized cuffs with sealed thumbholes keep those drafts from running up your arms, and provide just that much more warmth and comfort. Raglan style shoulders complete this jacket, providing great freedom of movement and a clean stylish look.
There are a few things about this jacket that aren’t amazing, but also aren’t deal breakers for me. The first is the fit, as the jacket has an athletic cut and is sized small. I have a size medium, but probably should have ordered the large in order to get longer arms, a longer torso and a bit more room in the shoulders. My suggestion is to order one size larger than you normally would. I found that the elasticized waist on the jacket made it ride up a bit when really active, but this probably wouldn’t be an issue if you went with a bigger size. I also found that the zipper tends to bulge a bit in the middle, which really isn’t an issue, besides looking a bit odd. One thing to be prepared for is feathers everywhere. Any long underwear that I wear under this jacket is coated in feathers at the end of the day. While this really isn’t an immediate issue, I do wonder how long the jacket will stay well insulated with the loss of the down insulation so readily.
A nice little touch on this jacket is the subdued branding. I’m not one for big flashy logos on my performance clothing. Sierra Designs went with a classy approach on the DriDown Hoody, by just putting a small stitched SD color matched logo on the left sleeve. The branding is there, but not in your face, and actually just improves the aesthetics of the jacket.
In the end, I believe this jacket is a great choice for the active adventurer. It’s light, packs small, keeps you warm, is extremely stylish and can handle a broad range of weather conditions. I’ve used it nearly every day this winter, whether driving long distances in the EEXP, working on the computer at the local coffee shop, flying around the country or shredding the mountains on my snowboard or skis. I really do like the style, warmth and super light weight feel of the DriDown Hoody. I have a few jacket options to choose from everyday, and I always tend to gravitate towards this piece. For sure the Sierra Designs DriDown Hoody should be at the top of your mid-layer/everyday winter jacket shopping list.
-Super light weight
-Warm, even retaining its insulating properties when wet
-Quality Hood is warm, folds out of the way and looks great
-Down too easily pushes through the fabric/seams of this jacket
-Waist elastic tends to make the jacket ride up
-Zipper tends to bulge in the middle
(Disclaimer: Sierra Design’s PR firm provided Exploring Elements with a DriDown Hoody for review consideration.)