The L.L.Bean PrimaLoft Packaway jacket is a light weight, highly compressible mid layer garment that challenges fleece for year round usability and comfort, but can it replace it? Let’s see how it holds up.
About the jacket
The Packaway is built from light weight rip-stop nylon, with a thin layer of PrimaLoft One synthetic insulation. The Packaway has a tall collar, two zippered hand pockets, one zippered chest pocket, and an internal Packaway pocket for compression and self storage. Drawcord hems are included, with a slightly stretchy set of wrist cuffs to keep wind from blowing inside. The jacket comes in several colors, and retails for around $109.
What I liked
Absolute comfort is always a priority with a jacket, and the Packaway doesn’t disappoint. It’s built from silky smooth rip-stop nylon that feels great against the skin, and glides under other layers, which prevents friction and bunching. A mildly athletic fit keeps it close to the body, while preventing drafts without being bulky.
Surprisingly warm, the Packaway kept me quite very happy down to around 40 degrees, and even into the low 30’s when active. The thin layer of Primaloft provides warmth, but not so much that it causes excessive body heat buildup when moving.
The light weight, compressible design of the Packaway makes it easy to stuff inside a pack, and it takes up absolute minimal room inside. The jacket takes up far less space, for less weight, and provides more warmth than any comparable fleece that I’ve tested.
Mild weather resistance shook off short bursts of rain and did a good job of stunting frigid blasts of wind.
The jacket looks great, and looks at home on the trail or around town, which is a definite plus. It emanates an aesthetic of solid performance and quality, but while still being modest and down to earth.
The choice to use Primaloft One means the jacket will still provide warmth when saturated with water after a surprise rain. The synthetic build retains it’s loft and thus insulative properties no matter what condition the jacket is in. This makes the jacket an excellent choice for wet and humid conditions.
The jacket has held up great, resisting thorns, dogs, brush, rock, and holiday shopping.
What I didn’t like
For a thick chested, small guy like myself I have to pay close attention to chest and shoulder room. I found the jacket to get a little tight along the shoulders when working above my head.
Light weight materials means thin materials, which make take a little TLC if you want it to last for many years.
It’s more expensive that many fleece layers that provide similar warmth.
Fleece has long been the go-to mid layer for hikers and backpackers for many years and it’s about time something stepped up to the plate to challenge it’s dominance. The packaway is thinner, lighter, more compressible, and more comfortable, which makes for a solid insulating garment that’s hard to beat.
The Packaway looks great, fits great, and has held up to a variety of conditions including rain, ice, and wind, and looks dapper while doing it. It’s usable year round, takes up minimal pack space, and never stops performing. If you don’t mind paying a premium for quality, this is the way to go.
The highest of Recommendations
Big Thanks to L.L.Bean for supplying this jacket and making my review possible.