Do you care that down jackets are ribbed with big puffy baffled sections? Personally, I’ve never given the aesthetics of puffy jackets a whole lot of thought. If I need a very warm, very light jacket, whether or not it looks puffy is about tenth down on my list of considerations. What really bugs me are the cold spots you can find in a baffled jacket, as well as its sheer bulk.
Apparently, they bugged the design team at Eddie Bauer too. So much so that they’ve just released the Evertherm jacket—a fully down-insulated jacket with no baffles at all. The jacket uses Thindown, a new insulation that Bauer has exclusive rights to through 2018, so if your interest is piqued, Bauer’s the only game in town for now.
Thindown is essentially big sheets of down feathers that are bound together and pressed into a soft, light layer, wrapped in a scrim liner. Rather than filling individual baffled sections with down feathers that can clump and shift, Thindown is a solid sheet of down that sticks in place without baffles or quilting. It means a much thinner (the Thindown insulation in this jacket is less than a centimeter thick), lighter, and, most importantly, consistent layer of down insulation. Pretty smart.
Thindown looks like this, by the way:
Eddie Bauer claims that the Evertherm jacket will keep the wearer warm in temps as cold as minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit in moderate activity, and 40 degrees while sitting still and contemplating the nature of the universe. The shell is a shiny, DWR-treated nylon that sheds water pretty easily in light precip situations. It looks and feels just like a synthetically-insulated jacket. It’s hard to believe you’re wearing a down jacket with this thing on.
The men’s weighs about 11 ounces, the women’s is about nine ounces. Compressibility isn’t as good as a traditional down jacket of this size would be, but after a bit of scrunching, I got mine down to the size of a softball. The Evertherm also feels more substantial than a typical down jacket, and there isn’t the sense that you’re constantly on the verge of tearing a seam or disemboweling the thing, as you’ll often get with some down jackets that give the impression that a stern talking to alone might obliterate the outer shell.
Here’s what it looked like when one of Eddie Bauer’s testers (not me!) used the Evertherm on an Everest bid:
I’ve been testing the jacket in the coldest temperatures I can find in a Northern California summer, which isn’t all that cold, but I’ve had it on over nothing but a t-shirt and shorts in the high-40-degree range and was plenty toasty. I’ll be carting it along on some high elevation backcountry trips in the weeks to come, and on winter hut trips in early winter and can report back on how well it stacks up to Eddie Bauer’s claims as well as some other newfangled down advancements from rival apparel makers.
So far though, the Evertherm is pretty dang impressive.
It’s available for pre-order for $279 for the hooded version, $249 without. In stores September 24.