For a long long time I have been missing having a lightweight down jacket for hiking, which would offer more warmth than a fleece jacket as well as some basic weather protection. My wait was finally over when I received a down jacket from Jack Wolfskin for testing in return for an unbiased review in the middle of fall. I have been wearing the jacket nearly daily, and can thus safely confirm that the Jack Wolfskin JWP down jacket for women is suitable for:
- Everyday life
The shell material of the Jack Wolfskin JWP down jacket is made of the brand’s Stormlock Ripstop fabric (100% polyamide), which is light and windproof with a water repellent PFC-free finish. Also the smooth lining material is made of 100 % polyamide. The insulation is made of white duck down with a fill power of 700, which indicates a very good weight-to-warmth ratio. Down insulation is rarely, if ever, made of 100 % down as there are usually some small feathers mixed in as well. The ratio between down and feathers in the insulation affects both the thermal efficiency and the weight of the jacket as feathers are heavier and don’t trap body-warmed air as well as down clusters. Fortunately, the insulation in the JWP down jacket has a very high percentage of down (90%). It should also be mentioned that the insulation is responsibly sourced as it is RDS-certified, meaning that the poultry supplying the down have not been exposed any unnecessary harm (i.e. live-plucking or force-feeding) in their lifetime.
Sizing and Fit
If you have read some of my previous gear tests, you might know that I’m generally between a size M and L, and this was also the case with the JWP down jacket. Jack Wolfskin’s Size Guide was slightly ambiguous as it first states that you should measure one of your “best-fitting garments” and compare it to their measurements scheme, and then goes on to instruct you how to measure your body…. I did both, and when comparing the measurements of another casual down jacket I own to those in Jack Wolfskin’s sizing guide, it indicated that I should be a Large, while my body measurements (chest 36 in., waist 29.5 in.) indicated that I should pick size M. The company was actually so gracious that they sent me both sizes, and it turns out that the Medium fits me best although the Large is not that far off either. I do prefer the Medium, however, because the slightly narrower fit means that it is better at trapping the body-warmed air.
Lengthwise I really enjoy that the jacket partly covers my butt, so it doesn’t impede my freedom of movement, yet helps to keep my hips and upper body warm. As many other millennials, my obliques (aka love handles) were perpetually cold during the winters in the early 2000’s as I would wear bomber jackets with a ribbed bottom trim, that would always creep up. I’m too old for having frozen love handles now, and thus the Jack Wolfskin down jacket offers a good compromise between warmth and mobility. The sleeves are just right in length but could fit a bit tighter around the wrists. The insulated collar should also fit a bit tighter, either by being narrower or having a tighter elastic hem. The circumference of my neck is 1 cm narrower than the average for normal-weight women (34 cm/13.5 in.), but the collar is quite wide in any case. On very cold days you might thus want to pair the jacket with a neck gaiter or a scarf.
Comfort and Functionality
The Jack Wolfskin JWP down jacket is very comfortable to wear as it offers lightweight warmth while being made of durable yet smooth shell and lining materials. It is equipped with an elastic bottom hem and cuffs. While the elastic hem is just right in tightness, the elastic cuffs could be tighter as there is a bit too much room for body-warmed air to escape and cold air to come in – just like the insulated collar. The main zipper features a storm flap underneath to prevent cold draughts from entering and there are also two zippered hand pockets for storing essential items or heating up your hands when needed. There are also two narrow and very deep pockets on the inside of the jacket, which might be good for carrying a smartphone or a map.
As a part of Jack Wolfskin’s PACK & GO! capsule collection, the JWP down jacket is not only lightweight and functional, but also very packable. It comes with a stuff sack, so you can quickly throw it into your backpack or hang it via a carabineer. Speaking of hanging, the Jack Wolfskin down jacket is equipped with a locker loop, but it is placed on the outside of the collar rather than on the inside as most other jackets. This placement throws me sometimes, but maybe it is actually better for the collar of the jacket that it is hung this way?
Washing and Drying
The Jack Wolfskin down jacket can be machine-washed at 30 ºC (or cold cycle), preferably with a special down detergent, and tumble-dried at the lowest setting. Some driers have special down programs, but in any case, it is a good idea to tumble-dry down gear with something like woolen drying balls, which decrease the drying time and help to fluff up the down after it has been washed. I didn’t wash the JWP down jacket upon receiving it (and still haven’t), as I would do with a base layer, but merely wiped it over with moist cloth to remove any dust or debris from the production and transportation process. Down jackets should only be washed when they get dirty or smelly from wearing.
The Jack Wolfskin JWP down jacket is a great and very needed addition to my “hiking wardrobe”, especially for winter hiking. It is super packable and offers lightweight warmth. If you are only wearing a medium-weight Merino base layer underneath, I’d say it is good for moderate activities like hiking at temperatures down to 5ºC or so. For more warmth, it can of course be combined with a warmer base layer or an extra mid-layer, as well as a rain shell for more enduring rain. The only downside of the jacket is that it is a bit too wide at some of its openings which means that some of the body-warmed air escapes.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.
We field tested this product. The rating shows its overall performance.About Rating
- Lightweight and wind-proof
- 700 fill power RDS-certified 90/10 white duck down
- Smooth durable shell and lining fabrics
- Packs down small
- Collar and wrist openings are slightly too wide