Variant Jacket

by Dana Davis Tuesday, December 13th 2011

The Variant Jacket has been one of our most popular jackets of the season. With synthetic insulation sewn into the front panels and Power Stretch fleece on the back, sides and arms, it falls into the Synthetic Insulation category that Charles discussed a couple weeks ago. It’s available for both men and women.

We asked Summit Hut owner, Dana Davis, and our Speedway Store Manager, Traci, to give us their impressions of the jacket thus far.

Dana

Variant Jacket
My family and I went horseback riding for a couple hours Thanksgiving Day weekend and it was the perfect piece to wear!

At a first glance this jacket might look a little funky (it is a hybrid of Power Stretch fleece and a lightly insulated vest) but I like the look and I like the performance and versatility even better.

The Variant is a great weight and warmth for many parts of the country but seems to be ideal for the slightly chilly winter days (and evenings) in Tucson. The black Power Stretch sleeves truly conform to a body in motion in addition to accommodating many different body types. I have broad shoulders, long arms, and a narrower waist; it is hard for me to get a slimmer fit without feeling confined and uncomfortable- the Variant is perfect. There is also enough stretch in the sleeves to wear it comfortably over another long sleeve item. The vest portion is great for adding extra warmth over your core but without adding bulk. I think this will be a great layering piece for under a shell for skiing and other snowy activities and yet also a great standalone jacket to take to the movie theater.

I recently took this jacket with me when I traveled to the Osprey Packs facilities in Vietnam. It turned out to be a great travel jacket (lightweight, compact and versatile) even though I never actually wore it when I was outdoors. It was warm and rainy in Vietnam and I never wore more than short sleeves with my Effusion jacket. When did I actually wear it? For more than 20 hours straight when traveling (each way) on the sufficiently cooled airplanes and airports! It was comfy, stretchy, a good weight and I was “out like a light” on all flights!

Variant Jacket

I was disappointed to have not used it hiking and biking in Vietnam so I have been anxious to put it to the test back here in Arizona. Unfortunately up until recently the weather has been fairly warm the last couple months and while the nights have been chilly, I have not used it for more than a brisk walk during the day. I did take it out a short night run and while it was perfect for the first 10 minutes it felt too warm shortly after. For me this will be my “go to” jacket on warmer fall and winter days and a good layering piece for cold weather sports. I love that in addition to being a outerwear jacket that I can also wear it indoors in lieu of a sweater as well.

Traci

I have accumulated a few jackets over the years, which seems to be a common occurrence in Tucson. Is it hot, hotter, rainy or cold? And then when you add hiking, running, biking, running errands around town, or overall outdoor activities to the mix the decisions become a little tougher on a jacket. I want something can cover the spectrum of all my needs.

Variant Jacket

I took the Variant Jacket up Mount Wrightson. I wanted something insulated but that was light and packable. I started at the trailhead at 6 am and had a brisk breeze coming off the mountain. The insulation in the front of the piece is outstanding. It gives you the option of having some insulation without adding a ton of bulk to the jacket. As we continued to hike steadily uphill, the stretch in the Polartec sleeves was great because the Variant jacket moves with you during your activity. The thumb holes are a nice addition for the piece. Especially since I opted to not bring gloves, they gave a bit more protection on my hands. After some hiking I did shed the layer, and packed it down into my pack.  When we hit the saddle, we stopped for a snack and I pulled my jacket out so I didn’t get a chill while resting. I could feel a slight breeze coming through the Polartec, but the extra insulation in the front made the difference. I truly appreciated how the jacket was able to be packed down and I didn’t have to worry about it.

I find myself grabbing this piece because of the technical and fashion aspect of the jacket.

Gear

Comments (1) -

12/13/2011 5:14:08 PM #

This jacket also works perfectly as a layer under a motorcycle style jacket for adventure touring or just staying warm around town. The chest is insulated and lofty where there is room and form fitting in the arms where a tight sleeved outer jacket will constrict any thicker insulated mid-layers like fleeces or downs. I'd be surprised if BMW doesn't copy this concept of a jacket and make it a $250 piece next year ($100 for the Motorrad text).

Nick

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The Authors

Dave BakerDave Baker

I'm Dave Baker, founder of Summit Hut, an independent outdoor retailer based in Tucson, Arizona since 1969. As an experienced and passionate hiker, climber and backpacker, my blog is intended to be an informative and interesting look into the outdoors and the outdoor industry.

Dana Davis

Dana Davis

I’m Dana Davis, co-owner of the Summit Hut. I mostly enjoy hiking and road biking though I often do other things to keep it interesting (mountaineering, motorcycling, backpacking, climbing, you name it!) My biggest challenge is sometimes finding the balance between career, family, and fun but it’s working out so far!

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

I'm Dan Davis, after retiring from the National Park Service as a Ranger and manager, I worked for the Summit Hut until 2009, then retired for good (maybe). I'm now spending my time traveling around the southwest writing and working on my nature and fine art photography business.

Emily Gindlesparger

Emily Gindlesparger

I’m Emily Gindlesparger, a member of the Summit Hut floor staff. Since moving here from the Midwest, I’ve been taking advantage of all possible adventures in Arizona: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, caving and trail running; I’m always excited to see what’s next!

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