Photos: Trish Flynn
In February, I was contacted by Size up Apparel about reviewing one of their products and I picked the puffer jacket which features a water resistant polyester shell, padded baffles, a hood and four pockets (two inside, two outside). When COVID-19 shut down many trails in Los Angeles and elsewhere, I decided to hold off on publishing the review. Now with the trails starting to reopen, I will share my thoughts.
A quick glance at the website makes it clear that Size Up’s products are geared toward athletic, in-shape customers. A quick glance at me makes it clear that I am not athletic or in shape. (If you know me, you know that I pretty much hate all forms of exercise other than hiking, plus I drink too much beer.) An XL usually fits me, so that’s what I asked for, but when the jackets (one black, one tan) arrived, it was too small. Size Up graciously paid for me to ship the jackets back and sent me two XXLs.
My brother (who is a couple of inches taller than me) and I wore the jackets on a few short hikes and running day to day errands, usually in temperatures in the 40s and 50s F. In general, the less I am aware of a piece of gear or clothing, the more effective I think it is, and I often forgot that I was wearing the puffer jacket. Here are a few other thoughts on the design and comfort.
- Two features I would like to see: draw strings or some other way of adjusting the tightness of the hood, and zippers on at least some of the pockets (maybe buttons for the interior pockets). As someone who often prefers to put my keys and wallet (or snacks) in my jacket when I hike, rather than holding them in my pants pockets, a zipper would make me feel more secure. (On the other hand, the interior pockets are quite deep, and with the snug fit of the jacket when it is zipped – did I mention that I could stand to lose a few pounds? – the odds of something falling out undetected are probably low.) Still, zippers would have been a nice feature; another possibility would be a small fifth zipper pocket at breast level.
- The jacket did feel a little tight around the arms (did I mention…)
- This is probably not a jacket I would take on a long day hike. As of this writing, I have yet to wear it on a hike that is long enough for me to wear a backpack; I would imagine that if I was wearing a backpack, the padding and snug fit (see above) of the jacket would make it feel too tight for good mobility.
- I am going to continue to wear it on shorter hikes when the weather is too cold for a lighter jacket (not likely to be an issue as we get into the summer months, but we never know.) In addition, I could see bringing this jacket on a camping trip – maybe even for sleeping on especially cold nights.