Refrigiwear Puffer Jacket and Hood Base Layer Review

It’s not often that a company downplays its products, but Refrigiwear is the exception to that rule. I’ve been testing out its horizontal puffer jacket and hooded base layer pullover, and they’ve been impressive so far.

The jacket is a straightforward short-length bomber style jacket without a hood. It’s also one of the few jackets I’ve seen that came with a comfort rating on it. The company suggests it’s suitable to be worn down to temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or -7 C. Well, whoever came up with that rating should be praised for her or his modesty. This jacket, with simulated down insulation, is actually insanely warm. If anything, it might just be a little too warm to snowshoe in unless the weather is quite cold.

The website states “the 5450 Industrial Puffer Jacket is about flexibility, comfort and warmth. The simulated down insulation, wind-tight outer shell and horizontal baffles create a flexible, contoured fit. A stretch design on the cuffs and waist make it one of our most comfortable jackets.”

The puffer carries eight ounces of simulated down insulation, with a wind-tight polyester microfiber outer shell. That shell is tough as well. I’ve pressed on through thorny thickets and similar foliage with no damage, and without a care as compared to the thinner nylon shells of your average down-filled puffy jacket. That’s an important consideration since I once spent nearly an hour trying to keep a slash in the sleeve of a down coat closed to preserve the feathers on a winter walk.

It has only two exterior zipper pockets, which is one of the few flaws in the design. I’m a big fan of having multiple pockets, but one interior pocket suitable for a smartphone or similar device is pretty much a necessity. Another one of the minor quibbles I have with this jacket is the zipper, which seems a bit flimsy and lacks the double-zipper feature I prefer in coats.

Refrigiwear might also consider designing a version with a hood for full winter utility.
One of the best things about the design though is the fit. The company offers the jacket, which has a loose, comfort fit, up to an astounding 5XL. I’m still trying to wrap my head around just how massive that would be, since the 2XL version I wore is almost too big for me. I know many people like the more athletic, compression fit, but this jacket would a godsend if you’re not svelte enough for that.

Along with its practicality, the jacket in basic black, is easily stylish enough to wear to work, and it’s an ideal driving coat as well. The hooded base layer deserves an enthusiastic thumb’s up too. It would be ideal to wear all on its own for snowshoeing in warmer weather.DSCN0547

The versatile hood and mask component is also a cunning and highly-useful feature that can’t be praised enough. The material is 88 per cent polyester, with 12 per cent spandex for some serious comfort and stretchiness. The thumb hooks and reflective material on the hood are also nice touches.

The hooded base layer has a similar fit to the jacket and is offered up to a 4XL size. I had never heard of Refrigiwear before receiving these items to test out, but I am impressed, and will be adding the company to my list of favorite clothing manufacturers.

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