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REVIEW | ISOBAA MERINO INSULATED JACKET

I came across this the Isobaa Merino Insulated Jacket when I was searching for my next hiking puffy coat. The idea of a wool-filled puffy in a world where it’s all down versus synthetic materials completely intrigued me.

I continue to be very grateful to Isobaa for being super kind and sending me semi-regular clothing packages over the last couple of years. I honestly love nothing more than getting one of their boxes in the mail (read Weekly Blog Episode 103 for a mail time special). So far, I have found all the pieces I’ve tried to be excellent quality, nicely made, well fitting, and easy to care for. And you know I can’t stop talking about their basic tee (read my review of that here).

In this post I shall be talking about that insulated jacket, which Isobaa very kindly gifted me in a very warm package containing this and a pair of their wool slippers recently. I’ve had it about six weeks now, have worn it a lot, and it’s time to share my thoughts.

The Short Review

This insulated jacket by Isobaa Merino isn’t filled with down or synthetic fibres… it’s puffiness comes from merino wool.

Made from material collected and saved during yarn production, it’s not only got all the warm and breathable features of merino, but is also using up waste.

It’s not as packable as a down equivalent might be (this isn’t a puffy that fits into a pocket), but it’s very warm, highly breathable, and comfortable – even when it’s wet. I love the way it looks, fits and works; it has a shape and long line to it, and has been great for keeping me getting outside both hiking and mooching in the cold weather.

If you’re looking for an insulated jacket for winter or cold spring days, this is definitely worth a look.

The Technology

Using wool for insulation is nothing new. People have been wearing woollen sweaters for years and years. Wool is naturally warming, super breathable, and even a little bit waterproof – just look at how sheep manage to live comfortably outside. I guess it makes sense, then, to combine the hiker’s favourite puffy coat with this natural material.

Isobaa say:

“Using the latest ‘FulFil’ Merino insulation technology from UK based HD Wool, this baffled jacket offers amazing warmth and protection using insulation that’s made from recovered wool fibres collected during yarn production, so nothing goes to waste. Unlike feather and down, Merino will still insulate even when wet, so you can stop worrying about the weather forecast.

“Merino keeps you warm when it’s cold and breathes well when it’s warm, keeping you comfortable whatever the weather. It’s also quick drying, naturally odour resistant and sustainable.”

The outer shell of the Isobaa Merino Insulated Jacket is made from a recycled nylon ripstop fabric which provides durability and protection which has also been treated with DWR to help when it rains.

Shape and Fit

I think the team at Isobaa have created a very nicely shaped jacket here. It’s got a long line, a feminine cut without coming in too much at the waist (us outdoorsy ladies do have bums and bellies…), and a nice big hood.

The elastic hem and cuff help keep the warmth inside, the hood can be adjusted to keep it in place, and the zip baffle does a great job of keeping the whole jacket useful on windy days. Oh, and I should add that the pockets are large and in the perfect place to keep your hands warm. The zip comes up nice and high, helping to keep the weather out, but with the hood being so large you still feel like you have space to breathe.

I’m wearing the size large. I would say it is pretty spot on for my current UK size 12 frame. There’s enough space to add layers underneath and give me freedom of movement, without being baggy when I’m just in a tee. Of course the size range could be better, but it’s not terrible.

The Weather

The most important thing here is that this jacket is super comfortable, but it also matters that it looks good worn with whatever else you might be wearing.

This is a bit of a catch-all jacket that has lived on the coat rack by my front door since it arrived. I feel like I’ve put it through its paces over the last couple of months – not quite daily wear but not far off, and in all kinds of weather.

I have been very impressed how the rain beads on the outer shell. This isn’t a waterproof and I would recommend not wearing it in a downpour if possible, but if it can’t be avoided then you aren’t going to ruin the jacket and aren’t going to lose all the insulating properties as you might if this was down.

For Casual Days

This is much more of a casual jacket than a technical outdoorsy one. To be clear, Isobaa do not market this as a rival to a mountain-ready micro puff or similar, and I didn’t get it thinking that it would be the answer to my puffy coat vacancy. This is a jacket for urban exploration, countryside wanders, the commute to work, and whenever you need something to encourage you to get out of the front door.

The main reason this is more of a casual jacket rather than a technical outdoorsy one, is the structure. You’ll not stuff this coat into its own pocket; the merino insulation is not as packable as down or its synthetic equivalent.

Having said that, I have done a number of day hikes in this jacket, and I really like it for the hills. It’s not as convenient to stuff in my pack when I don’t need the warmth anymore, but for cold days out in the countryside, this really is an excellent jacket.

Dry Clean Only

The main downside of this puffy for me over others, is that this is dry clean only. This adds in expense and inconvenience when it comes to washing it. You can wash both down and synthetic insulated jackets at home without a problem these days, so having to take this one to a dry cleaner is a bit of a pain.

It also adds in a weird level of consciousness when I’m wearing it – I worry about getting it dirty, as I don’t want to have to get it cleaned. I’m not so bothered that I won’t sit and eat a picnic whilst wearing it for fear of spilling food or drink on it, but I won’t wear it around a campfire as it will pick up the smoke smell, and if I knew a hike was going to be muddy I think I’d choose something else – that kind of thing.

Admittedly, you shouldn’t need to wash it very often at all, given that the merino it’s filled with is naturally odour resistant. And I also am well aware that these days we have a tendency to wash our clothing more often than it really needs it. But even so, after a while it is going to get grubby and need a clean, and I can’t do that in my washing machine.

A Great Everyday Jacket

I think I can round up my review of the Isobaa Merino Wool Insulated Jacket by confirming that I am a fan. It’s a great looking coat, it fits nicely, and the merino insulation works very well indeed. I might still be in the market for a micro puff for hiking, but I’m very happy indeed to have discovered this great everyday jacket. It will remain by my front door to help encourage me outside for a long time to come.

You’ll find more information along with all the colours available on the Isobaa Merino website.

With thanks to Isobaa for sending me their Merino Wool Insulated Jacket to test and review. I received the jacket for free, but is not a sponsored post.  

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