I have spent the past eleven years bicycle commuting. A Chicago native, I had public transit through the winters and for the past two years in St. George, UT, I had 300 days of pure sunshine a year. I plan on continuing to bicycle commute my first winter in the Pacific Northwest and I won’t let grey skies and rainy days deter me. Rather than winterizing a car, I decided to winterize myself.
Winter in the Pacific Northwest can mean a variety of things. With such a selection of recreation at our fingertips your adventures may take you anywhere from alpine slopes to a casual stroll with your pup at Minto-Brown. But one thing is certain, you will get cold and you will get wet. Enter the Floodlight Jacket, Outdoor Research’s answer to all your winter weather problems.
Known for their iconic accessories like the Crocodiles Gaiters and the Seattle Sombrero, Outdoor Research (OR) also makes a variety of outerwear and are creating quite a buzz with their jackets. Such as the Helium II Jacket, which provides a completely waterproof and breathable shell that comes in at just 5.5 ounces, or the Men’s Axiom which carries a couple awards, including Gear of the Year 2012, most noted for its breathability and lightweight design, while still being a highly technical GORE-TEX jacket; also available for Women as the Clairvoyant jacket.
Based in Seattle, it’s no surprise OR excels in shells and waterproof solutions, which brings us back to the Floodlight. Available in Men’s and Women’s, the Floodlight is both waterproof and insulated with 800 fill down. Goose and duck down are remarkable for their insulating properties while remaining very lightweight and compressible; however, they become useless when wet. Due to this, water-resistant down has been gaining traction in the past couple years and chances are, when buying a down jacket, you’ll have a variety of options for treated-down jackets. By treating each down feather, companies have been able to create down that resists moisture longer and will dry faster; however, these jackets are still not completely waterproof. By combining Pertex Shield+, an extremely lightweight, breathable and waterproof fabric and 800+ fill down, OR has created a completely windproof and waterproof jacket. The tough 30D nylon fabric also makes this jacket more resistant to abrasion and tears that are inevitable in the out of doors. The fully seam taped and bonded baffling guarantees that no water leaks in and the down insulation stays where it’s supposed to, providing consistent warmth.
Instead of grabbing a baselayer, midlayer and shell in the mornings, I now only have one jacket, the Floodlight in “Flame” red. On my first ride to work it started to downpour and I looked down to see water beading up on my jacket. I smiled knowing I would be toasty and dry when I arrived at work. The only downside to this jacket is that it can be too warm, but my commute is short and I ride slow in the winter. I like the red because on the roads or on the slopes, I am visible.
The Floodlight is sold as a trim fit so the jacket will not look boxy and you should not need as many layers due to it’s warmth. It has two adjustable hem cords, the wrist cuffs are adjustable and the hood has three adjustable points. From walking around town, to snowboarding the slopes of Hoodoo, you can make this jacket the perfect fit for you and your needs. The hood is fully insulated with an adjustable wire brim and is fit to cover a helmet. Two mesh pockets on the inside provide a space for wet gloves or other items and two high pockets on the outside remain accessible while wearing a pack or climbing harness.
So if you foresee wet and cold conditions in your future for the next couple months, check out the Floodlight Jacket by Outdoor Research.