Voormi - Drift Jacket
Product/Item Name: Drift Jacket
Price (as tested): $249
The Voormi Drift Jacket is a piece that I have been wearing for over a year now. It has a great athletic fit and even if you are between sizes it has a comfy stretch to it. The front zipper is a solid and smooth YKK with a storm flap to ensure that a cold breeze doesn’t ruin your day. The collar looks great when unzipped because of the color on the inside of the jacket. Then when the colder temperatures creep up the collar has a cover at the top so that you never risk pinching your neck in the zipper. There are three pockets, one internal chest pocket and two on the lower front. If you wear a waist belt on your pack the belt will cover the pockets. I do not generally wear a waist belt so it has never been a negative factor for me. Some people avoid wool because they feel it is “itchy” with the blend that Voormi has put together I can say that I have never felt that. The finish on the outside of the jacket is smooth and gives a durable soft shell feel. From a style perspective it is a very unique looking jacket. It has Voormi’s signature mountain style “V” on the back and right wrist. There is no velcro for the wrist closure but it is not needed due to the stretch of the jacket.
The first thing you notice about the jacket when you pick it up is the weight, it is heavier than I expected which is not a bad thing. All too often mid layers are praised for the “lightweight” factor, however I find if a piece is so lightweight it affects the durability and I never use it. For example, Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer Jacket which comes in at an impressive 7 ounces. While the lightweight factor is impressive and certainly key for someone who is looking to save on weight, you need to consider how fragile it is. I will take durability over lightweight any day of the week, because while lightweight is nice I want something that I can get down and dirty with without worrying about having to compromise.
The Drift Jacket can absolutely take a beating as it has shown almost no visible wear thus far. This comes from Voormi’s “Surface hardened wool” that I should also mention is all made and produced in the USA. Last winter I took it on a short backpacking trip where the temperature dropped to around freezing. Wearing just a simple cotton t-shirt and the jacket I was comfortable and warm. To build upon that, when the temperatures drop to around -15 (Fahrenheit) or lower, it is a great piece to accompany a cold weather system. I will often wear a tech-t / wool base layer / Voormi Drift Jacket / hard shell, and that system has never failed me no matter how cold the conditions. I took the jacket up Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts in the middle of January. The temperatures at the top were around -20 with winds around 40mph. The jacket kept me warm and performed exactly how I wanted with full range of motion / mobility.
What are the best uses for this jacket? This jacket has become my go to piece because of how versatile it is. I can wear it when heading up a 4,000ft summit in NH, to and from work, or even grabbing a stack of firewood in the middle of winter. The single best thing about the jacket is how well it breathes. The merino / polyester blend lets you dump heat when you are on the move and by adding a base layer or hard shell you can easily make it a 3 season addition to your gear closet.
So where does the jacket fall short? Its weight is the biggest factor, especially if you are looking to use it on a lengthy backpacking trip where space is limited. It does not compress for long trips like down (natural or synthetic) does, however it is extremely durable so there is a definite trade off. Another aspect I noticed was the finish on the inside of the jacket. There is a small internal chest pocket. Unlike most jackets in the same price range the pocket seemed to be an afterthought due to the fact that it is not stitched in. The pocket is too small for anything I would ever put in and I have never used it. If I was to get nitpicky I would also say that the sleeves are fairly narrow. If you want to wear a baselayer or long sleeve underneath you will need to work for it, or have thumb holes in the base layer so that you can slip the jacket on without your sleeves getting bunched up.
At the end of the day this is a great, high end piece, made from merino wool that is hand crafted in America. I have personally had a lot of communication with the company through phone calls and email. This is a company that was born from people who love the mountains and outdoors. They use and test their own products in a wide range of environments. Not only do I love the jacket, I enjoy supporting people with the same passion that that I have for adventure and the outdoors. As active as I am I can safely say that this jacket is worth the money. If you want something that will perform when needed, look good, and is downright comfortable go buy this piece.
About Jay - I grew up in the good old days where kids played outside all day. I have always loved the outdoors and since college have been working in one of two fields - Fitness & The Outdoors. I am currently a Crossfit coach out of Crossfit Simsbury in CT. Due to my love of the outdoors I make sure that we take yearly trips to the mountains of New England for weekend backpacking trips, skiing, ice climbing etc. We also like to participate in endurance events, adventure races and fitness competitions. Needless to say, I live a very active and outdoors lifestyle. Looking forward to contributing to the rogue community so if there is any piece of gear or apparel you want info on let me know, I will be more than happy to try it out, put it through the ringer and let you know what I think.