Gear Test: EMS Ice Down Jacket

Jim Darroch from EMS contacted me last summer about testing a few items, and I said that I’d be happy to.  They sent me several items for free, and in return, I do review with no obligation to be glowing or positive.   I received the items late summer, and since they were winter pieces I had to wait until I had field tested them enough in the right conditions to justify a fair and honest review.  The reason for the long wait on this last piece was that as a down jacket, it has to be pretty cold for me to wear it!

EMS Women's Ice Down Jacket.  Picture from EMS' website.

EMS Women’s Ice Down Jacket. Picture from EMS’ website.

The EMS Ice Down Jacket is a 650-fill down jacket that looks good enough to wear around town, but packs down small enough to take along hiking as a jacket to wear for longer breaks on really cold days.  The jacket has an added bonus of an attached down-filled hood, which is perfect for windy conditions.

This down coat packs into it’s own pocket, which is nice to save space in a backpack, but it also makes a nice spare pillow for travel.   I like the size of this one, even though it’s finished dimensions are larger than my other puffy all packed up.  The down isn’t so compressed and it isn’t a fight to get it into the pocket and zipped.

EMS jacket on the right.  Although it packs a bit bigger, it can still be compressed a bit more to conserve space in a pack.

Other brand name jacket is on the left, EMS jacket is on the right. Although it packs a bit bigger, it can still be compressed a bit more to conserve space in a pack.

I’ve worn this jacket in single digit temperatures and it is really warm.  For the most part, I don’t think I could hike in this jacket at all – it is too warm for strenuous workouts.  I have also worn this casually on very cold days (below zero) on errands around town, and find the styling isn’t too outdoorsy/athletic.  The fit is a little more roomy and not as body conscious as my other puffy, but this works well for adding layers underneath the jacket.

Because this is down, there is some shedding of feathers here and there, but that’s happened with any down jacket I’ve owned.  As with all down items, as long it is kept nice and dry and it will be nice and warm.   Overall, a nice jacket, and worth having for those really cold conditions whether around town or on the mountain.


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