EMS Expedition Primaloft Sweater

Waterproof: Water resistant Windproof: Wind resistant
Hood: Yes Adjustable Hood: None
Cinch Cords: Dual Hem Insulation: Synthetic
Cuffs: Velcro & Elastic Pit Zips: Yes
Napoleon Pocket: No Handwarmer Pockets: 2
Sleeve Pockets: None Zipper Type: Storm Flaps
Inner Pockets: 1 Seams: None
Weight: 19 oz. Stowable: No
Chin Abrasion Guard: Yes MSRP: $99

Fabrics utilized: Primaloft

Manufacturer's Website


      A bit of an older jacket, The EMS Expedition Sweater has been discontinued, in favor of either the Ascent Belay Jacket or the Heater SYNC Jacket.

      It appears, though, that the Expedition Sweater had the best of both worlds: an athletic fit, superb pit zips, and a hood.  This jacket is excellent for cold days with a chance of rain or snow, and with the pit zips and removable hood, is also suitable for a wide range of weather conditions.


      The Expedition Sweater has three pockets: two exterior handwarmer pockets, and one larger, interior pocket, which serves as the stow pocket for the whole jacket, and incidentally, a security pocket for valuables.  The two handwarmers are integrated into the jacket so that there’s only a thin layer of nylon between your hands and the elements.  Ideally, the hands would be behind the insulation, closer to the core, to aid in thermal retention, but they’re all right. 


      The main front zipper has a good long fabric zipper pull, and has a draft flap on the interior to keep the elements out.  The rest of the zippers, including those of the pit zips, also have long zipper pulls, which make for very convenient accessibility to the pockets and zips. 

The Hood

      The hood is extremely simple.  It is removable, via a YKK zipper behind the collar, but beyond that, there’s no adjustment whatsoever, which could prove problematic in windy conditions. 

Body Adjustment

      The hem is adjusted with dual cinchcord cord locks. 


      The cuffs are part Velcro, part elastic, making for easy adjustment.  The jacket can be stowed in its own interior pocket.  The real treasure here, though, is the pit zips, some of the best I’ve ever seen implemented in a jacket.  They are two-way, which means they can be accessed from either end.  They extend from about the elbows to the end of the ribs.  They’re extremely easy to access and operate, due to long zipper pulls. They are protected from inclement weather by small nylon flaps on either side of the zippers’ teeth, as well as interior storm flaps.  Kudos to EMS for nearly flawless core venting execution. 


      This is a stellar shell, but there are some small design flaws.  The torso fit me well, but the sleeves and torso length are a little too short.  I’m 5'10", and I had the medium.  If I were to upgrade to a large, the torso and hood would probably be too big.  Another issue is the hood and shoulders:  there are seams running along the tops of both, which will cut down on water resistance.  The fact that the hood has no adjustment is also a problem; it can’t be cinched down, and wouldn’t perform very well on a windy day.  It does, however, behave well under a hardshell with an adjustable hood, helping to keep your head warm. 


      On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is a long-sleeved T-shirt, and 10 an expedition-quality mountaineering suit, I’d rate the Expedition Sweater a 7.  Primaloft is fairly warm, and insulates even when wet. 


      No.  It doesn’t help that neither the hood nor the shoulders are seamless at the tops.  But, a solid DWR and a nylon shell, combined with Primaloft’s wet weather insulative properties, help to keep you warm and dry for quite some time. 


      One of the better fitting jackets I’ve owned, if a little short in the torso and arms, the EMS Expedition Sweater is a great addition to any outerwear collection.  It has plenty of features, including excellent two-way pit zips, a zip-off hood, and the ability to fit it in its own pocket.  It’s hampered by some fit issues, and some poorly placed seams, but the features, packability, and warmth are enough to make up for the drawbacks.

The Verdict: 7/10


Interested in this jacket?  You might also be interested in these hooded, insulated jackets:


Outdoor Research Chaos Jacket


Windstopper and Primaloft Sport.  Fun!  Retail:  $240.


Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor PL Jacket


Not windproof, but a substantial amount of Primaloft One, so it hardly matters.  Retail:  $190.


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