If you spend much time on crowdfunding sites, you may have noticed something amusing: people simply cannot stop trying to create the perfect jacket. Search for "jacket" on Kickstarter and you'll find no less than (wait for it) 777 projects right now.
I guess it speaks to humanity's drive for constant improvement, and as an editor for a site that documents this very quest, I can't knock it. However, I also find it quite easy to become skeptical that the next jacket is the perfect jacket. That skepticism surfaced again when Wen Times approached me about its Indiegogo launch, the Boreas Jacket, which promises outstanding insulation in a slim profile thanks to NASA tech.
Still, I was intrigued — a quirky launch page with fun GIFs can have that effect — so I decided to give it a try. And I have to say that if you are looking to stock up on a rad jacket for a sweet price — or if you are shivering in, say, Detroit, where the Internet tells me it's snowing — you could do much worse than this $279 release. Here are a few quick testing takeaways.
This observation kinda speaks for itself, but I can add from personal experience that this jacket even looks great on people who are not male models. It is nicely streamlined (less than 24 ounces for a size small) and form-fitting, with a smooth brushed finish and understated lines — interrupted only by some Velcro wrist straps — that emanate casual cool.
It's worth noting that if you order your normal size, there likely won't be much room for too many layers underneath. But as you'll go on to read, you probably won't need them.
Despite its somewhat unassuming appearance, the Boreas jacket boasts a lot of features. First of all, it sneaks in a bunch of handy pockets: two near the waist, two at the chest and two internal ones. There's also an anti-bacterial nano-silver lining, a powder/wind skirt and an adjustable hood with a brim to keep out rain.
Everything is sealed up with sturdy, reliable YKK zippers, and in my limited testing, I've found it lives up to its wind- and water-resistant promises. I have yet to challenge the fireproof claim — maybe at the next mountainside bonfire.
No joke, this jacket is insanely warm. The key ingredient is silica aerogel, researched and developed by NASA to insulate spacesuits. It's only a few millimeters thick and quite light (it's mostly air, after all), enabling heat retention in climates as cold as 40 below. The GIF above shows the jacket being sprayed with hyper-cold liquid nitrogen. After 60 seconds, the built-in, battery-free thermometer indicates an internal temperature of 82 degrees F.
Meanwhile, I've worn this thing out on some chilly New York days and invariably the only problem is being too warm. Which means that when it does get really cold, the Boreas should keep you plenty comfy. And that if Wen Times makes a follow-up edition, the one improvement I'd be looking for is, yes, pit zips.