I’ve never written a product review before but when my buddy PJ over at the blog Real Men Drive Mini Vans asked if I’d like to do one for the new Land’s End SnowSystem™ Jacket, I thought it might be a fun project. As this will be my second Chicago winter experience, it occurred to me that adding a real jacket to my winter clothing arsenal would be a solid idea. You see, last year I survived the brutal Chi-town cold with nothing more than a thin wool sweater (that I used to wear playing golf on “cool” San Diego mornings) and a down vest. Brrrrrrrr!
To be honest with you, I’m not a “jacket” guy; I’m one of those morons who actually enjoys the cold, thus the reason for my scant seasonal ensemble. (Last winter I wore shorts until my legs took on the same shade of brilliant white as the snow, which was around late December.) My wife says that I was a bear in a former life and perhaps she’s right (I also like to eat raw fish and berries). In other words, it would have to be a pretty special jacket for me to want to wear it. With my family’s impending road trip, I wanted to put the SnowSystem™ jacket through its paces. After wearing it for more than a month, I have to admit, the SnowSystem™ may have succeeded in converting me to a jacket guy.
The SnowSystem™ jacket is all about versatility and can be your go-to garment for any chilly or downright cold occasion. No need to purchase one lighter jacket for cool, crisp fall mornings and another for really cold winter days. This jacket has you covered as it’s designed to be worn in three different modes: outer shell only (chilly), inner liner only (cold) or with the inner liner and outer shell combo (freezing).
The “outer” jacket, if you will, is a waterproof, breathable shell made with AquaCheck® laminate. What does that all mean? Well, according to Land’s End, it means you’ll stay dry without sweating from the inside. All I can tell you is that I wore it in a driving rain while shoveling, yes shoveling, the millions of fall leaves off the driveway (this is one of my stay-at-home dad duties). The shirt I was wearing under the shell stayed dry as a bone. My pants, well, that’s a different story. The outer shell also has pit vents in case you’re like me and need to remove the excess heat that builds up inside jackets especially during strenuous activities like skiing, boarding and/or evading the Abominable Snowman. The shell also has a zip-off/snap-close powder skirt for those fresh pow-pow runs on the double blacks. Although I didn’t have a chance to try it out for this specific purpose, the design is much like any you would find in a standard ski/snowboard jacket. The hood has a welded visor and can easily be rolled up inside the hood pocket, which is very cool.
Guys (well, most guys) don’t wear purses. Instead, we have pockets and the SnowSystem™ comes with many. I love the MP3 player pocket that has a port for your ear bud cord. This prevents any annoying entanglements and will be utilized often, especially when the fluff starts to fall and I have to bring out the snowblower. There are also mesh pockets for whatever you deem mesh-worthy.
Let’s move on to the inner jacket. Land’s End claims that it’s made from DriOff™-treated polyester with the company’s exclusive PolarThin™ insulation for warmth. What the hell that all means I haven’t a clue but I can attest to the fact that this jacket keeps you warm without the bulk. Personally I hate the Michelin Man-look that is common with many winter jackets but the SnowSystem™ has a low profile that keeps you looking svelte. I had my wife, who is the complete opposite of me, meaning she wears a coat unless it’s 90 or above, wear the inner jacket during four cold evenings in the Nevada desert. Although ideally she would’ve worn it under a full-length sable, she was warm enough.
During our road trip, we spent several days in the Rocky Mountain town of Denver. The day before our arrival, Denver got dumped with two feet of white powder. I wore both jackets separately (for me the temp never justified the combo) and was very comfortable in both instances. When I experimented with the inner/outer jacket combo I started to sweat like a liar on the witness stand so I wouldn’t be surprised if the -10° to 15° Fahrenheit window Land’s End claims is accurate.
Now for brass tax. The jacket retails for $169.50 which I realize in this economy can cause some sticker shock. However, let’s put it into perspective. You’re really getting three jackets in one that could certainly serve all of your outerwear needs, including as your boarding and/or skiing jacket. Also, I took a look at comparable jackets from name-brand competitors and you’re looking at spending another $100 or more. Bottom line, the Land’s End SnowSystem™ is a solid jacket that won’t disappoint and could actually impress. If you’re in the market for a new jacket I wouldn’t make the final purchase without giving this one a look.
FREE SHIPPING (Offer ends Nov. 16 at 11:59 PM CST): Use promo code EXTRA10 and Pin# 9209 during checkout for free shipping.