Gadling Gear Review: Eddie Bauer MicroTherm Down Hoodie

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Down Hoodie
Eddie Bauer

One look at the calendar (not to mention the thermometer) will tell you that we are most definitely in the dog days of summer. But it won’t be long until the mercury begins to drop and we’ll start planning our cold weather adventures. The key to enjoying those escapes is good gear that will keep you plenty warm even as the temperature plunges. A down jacket can be the difference between a wonderful day spent outside and hours of misery in frigid temperatures.

Eddie Bauer has a long history of making quality gear that performs well in any environment. Over the years, its clothing has protected climbers on their way to the summit of Everest and explorers traveling to the extreme ends of the Earth. A few years ago, the company launched a new line of adventure inspired apparel that would carry on that legacy into the 21st century. The First Ascent line was designed specifically for active travelers and adventurers with a focus on delivering a high level of performance in an affordable and attractive package. Thw MicroTherm Down Hoodie fits that description very well, keeping the wearer warm and dry when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Featuring 700-fill goose down, the Hoodie is extremely lightweight and highly packable. This isn’t a jacket that is built for extreme weather conditions but will still serve travelers well when temperatures drop below freezing. Its outer ripstop polyester shell is water resistant and windproof, which will keep the wearer warm and dry when an unexpected storm rolls in. When that does happen the comfortable protection of the integrated hood will be much appreciated as well.

Because this jacket is intended for active outdoor enthusiasts it features an athletic cut that is designed to be form fitting without restricting motion. The closeness of that fit may seem a bit uncomfortable to some, but I personally found it to be the perfect design for those who like to mix a bit of a physical activity into their travels. The Hoodie simply allows you to do the things you want to do while not hindering movement in any way. That means whether you’re climbing a mountain, hiking a trail or simply strolling the streets, you’ll move in comfort and style the entire time.

Speaking of style, I happen to think the jacket looks great too. It has a simple, yet rugged, design that makes it perfect for an active day in the backcountry or a night out on the town. Its lightweight design makes it extremely versatile for travel as well and when paired with a base layer and/or a mid-layer, the wearer can improve performance in colder weather even more. Throw a hard shell over top and you truly have a fantastic cold weather combo.

The jacket features three external zippered pockets, one for each hand and another located on the left breast. Two large internal pockets are large enough to carry a water bottle or other important items too. The breast pocket even includes a media port allowing the wearer to plug a set of earbuds into an iPod or smartphone and run the cord along the interior of the Hoodie. A nice touch in this day and age when we are seldom far away from our favorite gadgets.

If you’re planning a cold weather adventure of your own in the months ahead, and need a high performance jacket to keep you warm, the Eddie Bauer Down Hoodie may be the perfect choice. It is incredibly lightweight and packs down surprisingly small. That is a rare combination of traits to find in any piece of travel clothing, let alone a jacket like this one. Add in a high level of comfort, the ability to move with ease and classic look and you have the complete package.

The Hoodie carries a price tag of $199 and does nothing to harm Eddie Bauer’s long-standing reputation for making excellent outdoor gear that performs well in demanding conditions. While using this jacket on a recent trip to Australia, I stayed comfortably warm, even when cooler temperatures and rain set in. If you’re looking for similar performance out of your gear, I think you will appreciate everything the Hoodie brings to the table.