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: Insulated fleece jacket from LL Bean

Let’s set aside the jokes around polar fleece as the uniform for us Pacific North-Westerners. First of all, I can take it and secondly, dude, polar fleece works. And really, it’s getting better, the fabrics are getting softer and hold up longer and wash better. Even while I’m developing a preference for natural fibers, I’m finding myself pawing the new polar fleece performance clothing and thinking, “Hey, not bad, actually.”

LL Bean has a new line of jackets out that are lightweight and weather resistant and really warm. Bonus, they’re cut with quite a nice mind for style and have some details that make them worth packing.

Heads up — they’re not water proof, they’re water resistant, that’s a different animal. You’ll be fine running for the car or the bus, or in transitional weather, but you’ll want to add a rain jacket if it’s really coming down.

LL Bean’s insulated fleece jacket has all the basics that I look for in this kind of gear. There are zippered side pockets and a zippered upper pocket for your phone or wallet. And yes, there’s a pull through for your headphones. The waist has an elastic pull so you can cinch it in place to keep the wind out. There’s soft stuff where you want it — the neck is lined with a fluffier material and the collar with a slightly smoother fabric that won’t scratch your face when you’re all zipped in against the cold.

Some additional nice details… the sleeves have a narrower cuff, great for keeping the wind out. Also on the sleeves, a heavier, wind-stop fabric. The jacket feels well constructed with double stitching and flat seams. The fit seems true to size, I got a medium, and it fits as I’d expect. It looks nice, too; I’ve had compliments when I’m wearing it. And it comes in a couple of different colors, a cranberry and a teal for women, and a gray, a dark blue and a burgundy for guys.

I’d have liked the black/gray to come in women’s sizes too, I have a personal preference for neutral colors for the travel wardrobe. I’d also have liked to have a two way zip in the front, again a personal preference that helps with fit.

LL Bean rates this jacket as good down to 35 degrees/ -15F. I’ve been wearing it out in 40 degree temps and really liking it — I’m warm without being weighed down. I stayed dry in damp, not quite pouring conditions, and I haven’t felt constricted, it’s great for running around in. A little bit of insulation combined with the Polartec wind-stop fleece seems to be doing its job.

Right now,the jacket is $124.00 directly from LL Bean, down from the original $149.00. Want one? Get it directly from LL Bean.