Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro Insulated Jacket Review

A down jacket is a must-have item on pretty much any trail. It packs down small, yet packs enormous warmth when needed. I’ve loved my down puffy since I bought it for our 2018 thru-hike, but as I looked for an upgrade, I was conscious of the environmental and animal welfare issues that traditional down can have. Therefore, when I came across Inov-8’s Thermoshell Pro synthetic insulated jacket, I was really excited to see how the coat stacked up.

Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro At-a-Glance

Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro

  • MSRP: $250
  • Product weight: 13.6 ounces/386 grams
  • Outer fabric: Polyamide Mini Ripstop
  • Fill type: Primaloft® ThermoPlume black
  • Pockets: Four – two external and two internal
  • Available colors: Black or light blue
  • 100% vegan

Circumstances of Use

I’ve worn this coat as my daily driver since receiving it at the beginning of November. It has seen temperatures below freezing and has been worn on blustery hikes to test its water and wind resistance.

Key Features of the Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro

Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro

The pockets of the Inov-8 Thermoshell Prowere very spacious.

Pockets: There are four pockets on this jacket. Two are on the inside of the jacket which is good for personal items you don’t want to get cold or get trapped under your hip belt. There are also two side pockets which are so big I’ve stored a Smartwater bottle inside them.  The jacket also packs away into its own pocket which makes it compact and a little more protected when in your pack.

Hood: the adjustable hood has two drawstrings at the front which is helpful to reduce any draft but I found the hood slightly baggy around the neck area. I also ended up wearing a trucker cap to ensure that the hood moved as I looked around.

Baffles: the baffles on this jacket are nice and snug, even more so in the areas that need extra warmth. This is particularly evident on the hood and the back panel.

The stretch sections of the Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro were noticeably colder than the insulated sections

Stretch Panels: under the arms are two stretch panels. This is great for allowing greater freedom of movement, and I noticed this especially when hiking with poles. Unfortunately, these parts of the jacket retain much less heat than the rest of the jacket.

Water and Wind resistance: compared to the down jacket I have, this coat retains its heat much better when wet. This is thanks to the Primaloft synthetic filling that is used.

What is  Primaloft® ThermoPlume?

Image via Primaloft.

Primaloft is the world leader in synthetic insulation, being originally developed to suit the needs of the US army. Designed to mimic all the properties of down, it goes a step further by being both environmentally friendly. All Primaloft fibers are individually treated so they don’t retain water. There are three types of Primaloft: Gold, Silver, and Black.

This jacket contains Primaloft black, which is a bit of a shame for a jacket in the medium to high price range. I do think this jacket would benefit from moving up to using gold or silver insulation.

The Positives

The Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro packs into its own pocket for easy storage.

Water and Wind resistance: compared to the down jacket I have, this coat retains its heat much better when wet. It doesn’t turn into a lumpy mess and retains loft well. Apart from the elastic parts under the arm, the wind resistance is also great.

Eco-credentials: like all of Invo-8’s products, this jacket makes a conscious effort to do good by the planet. It is 100% vegan and the materials used aim to be more sustainable vs. its traditional counterparts.

Unrestricted movement: whilst the stretchy fabric isn’t as insulating, the unrestricted movement in my arms was a big plus. Having longer arms I normally find that when I raise my hands a jacket can creep up exposing my wrists and stomach. This was not the case here, and had I wanted to run in the jacket it would also not have been an issue.

Pocket space: I loved how much I could store in the jacket across the four pockets. This really helps if you are hiking in cold weather and need to make sure your sawyer, battery pack, and phone don’t suffer from the cold.

READ NEXT – The Best Synthetic Jackets for Backpacking

The Drawbacks

The breast pockets were located inside the jacket which meant having to unzip the jacket to access valuables.

Runs colder: This jacket definitely runs a cooler than the 800 fill down coat I used on my thru-hike. Even when fully cinched up, due to the stretch panels under the armpits I felt like I was losing a lot of heat, especially if I didn’t have my arms snugly by my side.

Interior pockets: Having gotten used to a napoleon pocket, I found that having to unzip my jacket to get to my phone was a major drawback. I deliberately keep my phone in my breast pocket so I don’t crush it if I fall but also because when wearing a hip belt the side pockets are no longer accessible.  Having to let in the cold to take a photo or check a map wasn’t ideal.

Weight: there is no getting away from the fact this jacket is not as lightweight as some of the competition. I believe this is due to the fact that Inov-8 didn’t use the better quality Primaloft insulation so has had to use more of it. In a size L, this jacket tipped my scales at 18 ounces (517 grams) — a huge difference vs. some of the lighter models like the Patagonia micro puff (10.4 ounces in a large).

Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro Overall Impressions

Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro

There was a lot about this jacket I really liked. The strong environmental credentials, the water resistance, and the hood all made for a jacket I was excited to try. Whilst for most of the hiking I do this jacket would work well, I would want something a bit warmer if I was hiking through more wintery conditions. Unfortunately, the pits of the jacket and the slightly baggy hood let out too much heat for me to trust that I’d stay warm in frigid conditions.

Shop the Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro here

Comparable Jackets

These options are similar to the Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro. They all use different environmentally friendly fills.

Arc’teryx Atom LT Insulated Hoodie

MSRP: $259
Weight: 13.2 ounces
Fill: Coreloft Compact

The North Face ThermoBall Eco Jacket

MSRP: $199
Weight: 15.16 ounces (men’s medium)
Fill: Consumer-recycled polyester

Patagonia Micro Puff

MSRP: $249
Weight: 8.3 ounces (men’s medium)
Fill: PlumaFill synthetic fibers

The Inov-8 Thermoshell Pro was donated for the purposes of review. 

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