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When I think of the warmest winter jacket, it’s a completely anecdotal and random judgment based on which parka or down jacket looks the most like a mountain expedition sleeping bag. But it turns out there’s actually a scientific rating known as CLO that measures how insulated a material is, or in other words, how much heat it holds. And by that standard, a brand called LifeLabs has just created one of the warmest jackets out there today – meet MegaWarm.
As for the aforementioned CLO metric, the higher the note, the hotter something is; LifeLabs’ MegaWarm design has a rating of 9.25. To put it into perspective against other popular winter coats, The North Face’s Summit AMK Jacket has a rating of 6.06, Canada Goose Jackets are at 6.7 and Arc’teryx Jackets are at 7. .91, according to data shared by LifeLabs.
The MegaWarm Jacket is made with the company’s own fabric technology which is designed to “help diffuse body heat and allow the outer garment to maintain a higher CLO value with a lower total garment weight”, according to Scott Mellin, CEO of LifeLabs.. Essentially, you’ll get maximum warmth with lighter insulation, less material, and less bulk.
I live in New York, where it’s been around 30 degrees Fahrenheit for the past few days. So when the brand offered to test the MegaWarm jacket for myself, I was eager to try it out – and it was a lifesaver. I am notoriously hostile to puffer jackets and down coats; although I understand that they are practical, I feel like the Michelin man or George Costanza wearing Goretex. With other puffers I’ve tried, relative warmth is compromised by an inability to move the arms or be mobile – but that’s not the case with this one. Despite its warmth, the MegaWarm is also somewhat of the lightest jacket (in terms of weight) that I own, which also makes it packable and easy to pack.
Because the jacket is designed with the aim of being the warmest in the world, it is not intended for everyday wear in temperate climates. As someone who runs in the warm, I found myself sweating in the MegaWarm if the temperature wasn’t cold enough for me to wear it – but if you live in a cold, freezing climate, play mountain sports, or spend your winters in the mountains – chalets are for you.
While recently wearing the jacket on a freezing night in New York, I became very aware of the poor insulation of the rest of my clothing. My chest and arms were warm and comfortable, while my legs felt like they were going to freeze and break. The feel of this winter coat is hard to express properly, but the best I can do is describe it as a light, mobile blanket. It’s like a comforting hug.
The $699 price tag certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s actually a bit more affordable than some of its aforementioned competitors. If you are a mountaineer or just someone who is cold, consider getting the warmest jacket in the world.