Gading Gear Review: Radiant Trench Coat From Nau

It’s winter in North America; is that going to keep an intrepid adventure from leaving the house and getting out for some urban adventures? No, no it is not. Because we know that if we bundle up good, we will be rewarded with hot chocolate in cozy cafes, sparkling conversation while looking at art in uncrowded galleries, and a certain self satisfaction for not caving in and staying home when it’s 36 and raining (or worse) in our favorite cities. All that’s ours because we have wrapped up in a very good coat.

Nau’s Radiant Trench
fits the bill for winter travel and sightseeing. This trench style coat with a full (zip-off) hood and down fill works great for fighting the weather as you go about your city touring. You’ll stay dry and warm and look good in even a Seattle December squall. (I know, that’s the weather I tested this thing in.)

The coat has your classic trench coat styling – knee length, belted waist – but the fabric has a nice subtle gray on gray plaid pattern. It’s got a slightly narrow fit so you don’t look like nothing but giant coat when you’re wearing it. It’s got a skirt slash in the back that snaps shut (if you’re that kind of skinny) and a two-way zipper with a snap over flap in the front to keep the weather out. The hood – it zips off – is adjustable for fit and holds its shape so you can see out. And you can snap the cuffs to a slightly more narrow fit to keep the wind out of your sleeves, too. Pair it with some excellent winter boots, you’ll look great and be weatherproofed, big time.

I wanted the pockets to be configured slightly differently. I like the two big flap pockets on the front, but they don’t work well as hand warmer pockets. I’d have liked slash pockets at the waist or underneath the flap pockets. I pulled the sleeves down over the backs of my hands to stay warm. There’s an inside pocket with a pass-through for your headphones and that’s nice, but given all the coat real estate you have, it might have been nice to have an additional inside pocket for… stuff.

The down fill on this thing is great; it’s very warm without being heavy. It’s a lot of coat, you’re going to want to wear it instead of packing it because it doesn’t smash down to super small, but hey, it’s winter, you’re going to sacrifice some space and pack a bit heavier than usual so you’ll stay warm. I usually lean towards wool for winter wear – outer, too – but I like the water repellant fabric this coat is made from.

The Radiant Trench is completely wind and waterproof and keeps you warm and dry in very nasty weather. No matter how much I love this city in the off-season, downtown Seattle in darkest winter is cold and wet. If you’re of the bold sort that likes city travel in more challenging weather (think Vienna Christmas markets or New York shopping, for example) you absolutely need a good coat. Ladies, this one’s for you.

Not cheap at $399, but built to last with a generous warranty. Add it to your winter wish list along with a winter trip to… well, you decide.

Gadling Gear Review: REI La Porte Jacket

La Poste Jacket from REII love it when it’s time to put away the winter gear – that’s sometime around the end of June in Seattle. You still need a rain shell, though, even in high summer so it’s nice to find something that’s not styled like all your other GoreTex foul weather gear. REI’s La Porte Jacket gives you rain and wind protection and some military styling, too.

As for things I like about this jacket – let’s start with the zippers. The jacket has high-quality metal zippers, not the plastic ones that are so common in most outerwear. The front zip is a two-way zip, as it should be, and the snaps are high-quality metal snaps, too. The zippered side and breast pockets will keep your stuff safe, though the top pockets could be a little bigger – they’re not big enough to hold my phone.

There are a lot of nice styling details. The jacket is cut narrow and it’s a flattering shape. There are big snaps at the cuffs; you can roll them up if you want. The belted waist gives you a bit more curve if you want it. And there’s a lot of surface stitching and panels. With the high collar done all the way up, you end up with something of a ’70s crime fighter look and that is not a bad thing. There’s some nice contrasting color on the inside along with some deeper pockets. And the fabric has a really nice texture to it, a little bit like a raw silk, if I had to draw an analogy.

At just over a pound, the La Porte Jacket is lightweight. It packs down quite small – smaller than my Goretex shells, it turns out. I suspect that’s because it doesn’t have a hood. I’m not sure how I feel about this. If I need a jacket for rain, I’m going to want a hood. However, if I’m looking for a lightweight shell to block the wind or to keep off some very minor weather, the La Porte could do the trick.

The jacket comes in two colors: mushroom (a medium khaki) and a pewter green (a dark sage sort of color). It’s cute; it’s light, and looks great with casual city attire. The La Porte jacket retails for $99.50, directly from REI.