Jansport Orb JacketPosted By Mark on Jan 4 '08
|Cinch Cords:||Hem||Insulation:||Down, 550 Fill Power|
|Cuffs:||Velcro & Elastic||Pit Zips:||No|
|Napoleon Pocket:||No||Handwarmer Pockets:||2|
|Sleeve Pockets:||1||Zipper Type:||Storm Flaps|
|Chin Abrasion Guard:||Yes||MSRP:||$115|
Materials used: nylon, duck down
There are plenty of synthetic insulations out there that perform better than down in terms of compressibility and loft retention, but for sheer warmth, it’s very difficult to beat down, the best natural insulator. And since down has a tendency to lose loft when it gets wet, it’s helpful to have a down jacket that comes with a solid water-resistant nylon or polyester outer shell. The Jansport Orb Jacket has just that, but it doesn’t stop there; the jacket also features seamless shoulders, and a lot of pockets, great for the outdoorsman on a budget.
The Orb has been blessed with six, count ‘em six, pockets: three interior, and three exterior. The three interior pockets consist of two lower ones, and then one upper, Napoleon-style pocket, on the left. The two lower ones are pretty basic, with no fasteners, just nylon flaps over the pockets. The upper, Napoleon interior pocket is sideways, with a circle of Velcro to help keep things in. The two exterior pockets are zippered, and have a nice tricot lining. They feature good sized storm flaps, and are positioned behind the insulation, always a good move. The final pocket is a rather small one, located on the upper left sleeve. It can’t fit much more than an iPod or cell phone, but I’m a sucker for sleeve pockets, so it’s pretty cool.
The zippers are all excellent; the main front one has a long rubbery plastic pull attached to the metal, for easy access, and is backed by a full length storm flap, which also has the chin abrasion guard at the top. The rest of the zippers have just fabric and metal pulls, but they’re just as easy to manipulate.
The hem is adjusted by means of just one cinchcord cord lock, on the right side of the jacket; which is kind of disappointing.
The jacket is filled with 550-fill power down. The entire down-filled collar is lined with the same tricot as the chin abrasion guard and the main handwarmer pockets. The jacket is media-enabled; that is, its right interior pocket can hold an mp3 player, and the headphone cable can be run through a flap of fabric near the collar, for convenience.
Not too many. There is an issue I’ve had with several leaked feathers; I find that a bit annoying, but I think the majority of down jackets, at least entry-level down jackets, suffer from this. The single cord lock for the hem is a bit disappointing; it would’ve been nice to have dual cord locks at the hem. Finally, I noticed that the interior Napoleon pocket had a little bit of stitching come loose; but I rarely use interior pockets, so it’s not a huge deal.
On a scale of 1-10, where a long-sleeved T-shirt is a 1, and an expedition-quality mountaineering suit is a 10, I’d rate the Orb an 8. The nylon shell is really wind-resistant, if not windproof, and it’s hard to argue with down, for superior warmth retention in cold conditions.
No. The seamless shoulders and water-resistant nylon shell are a good addition to a down jacket, and I’ve never really tested the jacket in rain too much, but it’ll keep you dry for quite a while.
When you absolutely have to stay warm, down is the best solution. The Orb has some quirks, like leaky feathers, and a single cord lock for hem adjustment, but you can find it for a *lot* less than its retail, and it’s a great jacket for cold, dry weather.
The Verdict: 7/10