Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket Review
I often find myself wondering how much lighter materials for outdoor gear can realistically get, short of the Perseverance rover discovering some previously unknown, light-as-air insulating element just beneath the surface of Jezero Crater on Mars. At this point, in my experience, it’s a matter of an ounce or two — maybe four — in exchange for a lack of features.
So, for my money, the Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket is a pretty great combination of features and light weight — the purpose of the company’s “Pack and Go!” series. Despite tipping the scales at just 10.5 ounces (my scale says 10.6), it’s got two exterior zip pockets and two deep, interior open-top pockets.
Prior to receiving the jacket for review, I’d never heard of Jack Wolfskin, a long-standing (since 1981) German maker of outdoor gear and apparel that is trying to make inroads into the American market. Based on this jacket, they have a shot at doing just that.
Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket At-a-Glance
Weight: 10.5 ounces
Outer fabric: Stormlock nylon ripstop, windproof with water repellent finish
Insulation: Responsible Down Standard-certified 90/10 duck down
Wind resistant: Yes
Water resistant: Yes
Zip: Center-front with wicking interior storm flap and zipper housing at chin
Pockets: Two zip outer hand pockets; two non-zip interior pockets
Circumstance of Use
I wore the jacket extensively in cold, but not super-frigid, temperatures, including while camping in Palo Duro Canyon, Texas (29 degrees F overnight). I hiked in it in temperatures down to the mid-30s. Because it’s so comfortable, it’s also become my go-to winter “house coat.”
Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket Features
- Lightweight: Just 10.6 ounces (men’s small)
- Pockets: Two zip hand pockets and two open-topped interior pockets
- Cuffs: Elastic
- Packable: Comes with stuff sack, packs easily
- Comfort: Both lightweight and warm
Jack Wolfskin JWP Down Jacket Review
Lightweight: My first backpacking puffy, a classic model from a classic brand, was super minimalist — one small snap pocket on the chest and front snaps instead of a zipper — and weighed a hair over 12 ounces. Even lighter at 10.6 ounces, the JWP feels almost airy on your shoulders, thanks to the down fill and thin, tough outer material.
Pockets: I like having hand pockets where I can stash a phone or a tube of lip balm. The two exterior pockets are roomy enough, and the dainty zippers are nearly invisible when closed. Two open-topped interior pockets offer more stashing room.
Cuffs: The elastic, non-adjustable cuffs are useful in preventing chilly air from sneaking in over gloves. If it’s raining or you’re sweating, this is where a lot of that moisture will collect, thanks to gravity.
Zipper: Lightweight and delicate, the zipper has a tab for easy pulling. Don’t freak out, men: Apparently in Germany, there is no silly distinction between men’s and women’s zippers, so you’ll have to get used to zipping “lady style” (i.e. “male” insertion on right, rather than left, as with most American apparel). As with anything so fine and light, I wonder how durable the zipper will be over the long run.
Fabric: Big plus here for the soft, comfy, inviting fabric, both inside and out. Seriously, this jacket is so comfortable I spent much of the winter wearing it inside and out.
Collar: Nothing special here, though 2 ½ inches with a band of light elastic means it’s sufficient to reach your tugged-down beanie and keep the wind off your neck.
Packability: The JWP comes with a feather-light stuff sack, just 0.3 ounces. It packs easily into a fairly compact little bundle about the size of a Nerf football (are these still a thing or am I showing my age?). It’s part of Jack Wolfskin’s Pack and Go! Collection, designed to be light, packable, and “a fusion of outdoor and urban style.”
Insulation: For the weight, this is a super-warm little jacket, thanks to its down fill. The downside of down, of course, is that as soon as it loses “loft” — think of it as fluffiness — it loses virtually all ability to insulate. And nothing stomps loft more than moisture, so once it’s wet, you’ve got a problem. Down can also take a bit of time to dry out.
Breathability: I’m of the opinion that there really is no such thing as a “breathable” fabric that will also keep out moisture. Just a matter of physics (unless, of course, Perseverance discovers some lost Martian technology to overcome the laws of thermodynamics….). That said, I did run in the JWP on sub-40-degree days and found that the fabric and fill do indeed allow some body moisture to escape.
Water Resistance: A jacket like this is not intended to be worn in heavy rain. But the fabric is water-resistant and I found that droplets beaded up nicely for a short period in a light rain.
Sizing: I typically wear small to medium in outerwear, and a small in the JWP fit me perfectly. It’s also not a bulky piece, so it fits nicely beneath my Montbell Versalite rain jacket.
Durability: It’s always hard to assess durability after just a couple of months’ wear. But I’ve worn the JWP a lot, knocked it around a bit doing yard work, and it’s holding up well. Some food stains proved easy to wash out.
Colors: I have a running complaint about the silly gendering of outdoor gear, which typically offers men only stoic, steely-eyed, suck-it-up-buttercup colors such as black, gray, brown, Navy blue, and, if you’re lucky, maybe a forest green or maroon, while women can choose from a delightful rainbow of bright hues. Why? Are men really so insecure that wearing, say, a yellow puffy is a threat? I don’t get it. Anyway, the JWP comes in four decidedly “manly” colors — sage (green); blue Pacific; black; and storm gray. The only surprise (to me) is that women have just a slightly livelier selection: granite (brownish gray); night blue (dark); or frosted blue (light, icy blue).
Jack Wolfskin clearly makes an effort to be sustainable. The fill is Responsible Down Standard-certified, an industry-standard that “aims to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not been subjected to any unnecessary harm.”
- Warmth: Excellent, especially considering the light weight
- Comfort: Love the feel of the thin, tough fabric; hangs lightly
- Pockets: Great to have two roomy zip hand pockets
- Appearance: My wife immediately complimented me on how the JWP looks, and I agree with her
- Packability: Easy to stuff; fairly compact
- Price: Originally listed at $179.95, the JWP is now just $107.95 at the company’s website
- No hood
- Interior pockets might be overkill
- Potential durability issues with delicate zippers
- Down fill loses insulation when wet
I really love this jacket, though I admit I haven’t had a chance to really put it through its paces. Warm, light, and comfortable, it lacks a lot of bells and whistles (e.g. hood, drawcord at hem). But it does have pockets, a major lack in many lighter-weight puffies. I’m now in the process of deciding what warm jacket to take on my upcoming Pacific Crest Trail hike, between the JWP and a slightly weightier jacket with the same features and Primaloft fill, which insulates even when wet. I’m leaning toward the JWP, on the theory that I won’t be wearing my puffy in rainy conditions, and the fact that it’s incredibly comfortable.
Weight: 15.16 ounces (men’s medium)
Fill: Consumer-recycled polyester
Weight: 8.3 ounces (men’s medium)
Fill: PlumaFill synthetic fibers
Weight: 15.4 ounces (men’s medium)
Fill: 800-fill-power goose down
Product donated for purpose of review.
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