Note/Edit – just after I wrote this, my Heel Lift jacket developed a hole where my bear spray canister rubbed against it. So, the outer fabric is not very tough – just be aware.
Second edit: Jacket completely died after one season. Boo. Not a good buy.
Making its way into heavy rotation at my place is this great down jacket by Millet, new this season (Fall ’12). Ultra light and ultra compressible, it’s super warm and cozy. Just when I thought I couldn’t be swayed by yet another puffy coat, I noticed that I kept reaching for this one again and again…and again and again. I’ve worn in to be cozy in my sleeping bag at night, as a stay-warm tactic during lunch stops, and pretty much every day around town this season (don’t forget – it’s cold here now. Twelve degrees this balmy morning. Puffy coat season)! It will most likely be in my backpack and/or truck cab all winter.
I like the longer than usual length and relaxed fit. I got a Medium from Millet though I usually wear a Small – the M gives me a little more room than normal though I can tell that through the shoulders and chest it’s made for a woman bigger than me. Still, it’s not too problematic and the roomier silhouette can actually be pretty nice. I’m not sure I’d say to size up, but if you’re on the bigger end of your size range then you can’t go wrong by sizing up. One thing I notice with the bigger size is that although it’s a little spacious in the torso for me, at least the sleeves are long enough. So that’s a plus. Also interesting is that though it’s a little roomy, it still keeps me warm, no drafts at all; something I worry about with too-big outerwear. Clearly the Heel Lift does a great job of keeping one warm.
The thing that took a little getting used to (though it probably contributes to the ability to keep the chill out) is the fabric. It’s kind of weird and slick feeling. Because of it, I prefer to wear long sleeves with this jacket which, you know, makes sense since it’s for cold weather and all. Though I’m known for being slightly more “sensitive” than most, this fabric required some adjustment at first. Evidently it’s not really that big of a deal to me because I wear this jacket almost every day now that temps are down in the teens. And you know what’s interesting, is that I have yet to get too hot, ever. Even building up all that body heat in a sleeping bag, I never get too hot. Today I caught myself sitting at my desk wearing the Heel Lift for about half an hour right after coming home – never got too warm, just felt too silly. Even so, the cozy factor is high when it’s chilly out. Maybe that’s why I keep grabbing this jacket when I go out the door; it’s got great temperature range!
I guess that strange fabric has really nice breathability or something to keep one warm while not getting overheated. Ordinarily I’d do a little research but there’s not a lot of information out there about this brand new product yet – so I’ll count myself as an early adopter. If you need a new down layer and want something superlight and warm, this one is worth a look.