It’s tough to find a decent jacket aimed at high output aerobic activities in cool to cold weather. It’s even more difficult to find one that doesn’t use synthetic insulation. Enter the Smartwool Propulsion 60 jacket. The Propulsion jacket is stylish and functional but it uses a proprietary insulation called SmartLoft to keep the wearer insulated. How does it stack up with other insulated activewear? Read on to find out.
Smartwool has been making great wool garments for years – but they recently started making jackets with the SmartLoft insulation. Smartloft uses wool in place of what would normally be synthetic insulation. It maintains the warmth-when-wet and thermoregulatory properties of wool while creating more warmth for the weight than a similarly weighted wool fabric. It’s also compressible like synthetic insulation.
The Propulsion 60 is the lightest weight jacket Smartwool offers. It’s more of a light sweater with an insulated front vest attached. Meaning, most of the jacket is actually NTS 250 weight merino wool with a polyester fabric vest with baffles of SmartLoft wool insulation in them. Smartwool adds a DWR finish to the vest portion to keep moisture out but the rest of the jacket is supremely breathable so heat can dump out and wind can come in.
The jacket is great for layering under a wind jacket or hard shell for skiing and snowboarding or other cold weather activities. We have used it for winter fat bike rides as well. It would be at home on a cool day trail run of city biking. We found ourselves reaching for it on a night out as well. The Propulsion jacket is sharp looking and somewhat form fitting.
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