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Hands-on Gear Review
REI Co-op Hoodie Review
Cons: Thin and not very warm, lacks features for keeping out the cold
Bottom line: A great steal for the right person, not really suitable as a technical mid- or outer layer.
The REI Co-op Down Hoodie is far and away the most affordable jacket in this review with a stunning price tag of $119, half the cost of the next lowest, and about one-fifth the cost of the most expensive! The question then becomes, even at this low cost, is it worth purchasing? We would have to say that yes, this jacket is worth considering because of its exceptionally low price, but would also warn that compared to the more expensive competition in this review, it does not stack up very well. This jacket is not really suitable for technical use, but is functional as an around town layer for mild cold. It's very thin 650 fill-power down construction means it isn't very warm, but for the right person is worth trying on.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Men's Down Jackets of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
This review is designed to be a comparison review, meaning that we judge each individual product based upon how it compares to the other products in the review. By this standard, the REI Co-op Down Hoodie ranks as the second lowest scorer in our review, and is not really a product you should consider buying. For those who want a technically performing warmth layer to help you accomplish your cold weather outdoor dreams, we recommend you stop reading now and look instead at one of our award winning down jackets, like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded or the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody. Enough said.
However, there is another type of user who should strongly consider trying on this jacket. For those of you who have found your way to this review simply looking for a down jacket to keep you warm during the winter, whether that means while shoveling snow, walking to school and back, fighting off the cold on lunch break, going to the kid's game on the weekend, or whatever you need to do while it is winter and cold, then you could save yourself a whole lot of money by purchasing this down jacket instead of one of the far more expensive jackets in this review that cost so much because they are designed for a different kind of user. Read on to see if this jacket suits you.
On the comparative scale, the REI Co-op Down Hoodie scored a four out of 10 and was the least warm jacket in this review. It is filled with 650 fill-power down, which means that in order to be really warm, it would need a lot of down. Down of this degree simply doesn't loft (and therefore trap warmth) as well as does higher fill-power down. The only problem is that for some reason this jacket isn't super full of down. It is the thinnest jacket that we tested. For comparison, the Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody also featured only 650 fill-power down, but it used more of it and was a significantly warmer (and slightly heavier) jacket.
Another complaint is that it doesn't have draw cords at the waist or around the hood to help tighten down the fit. This becomes an issue in the wind, when there is no way to keep the cold air from blowing up into this jacket. These are very big problems, and not ones that should be taken lightly. If you are interested in this jacket, then make sure you have the chance to return it if it simply doesn't prove to be warm enough.
This jacket weighed 12.0 ounces for a men's size large, one of the lowest weights in the review, and second only to the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded. This doesn't surprise us since it doesn't have a ton of insulation that weighs a lot, and also doesn't have many features that weigh anything. The eight out of 10 points we awarded it for weight was one of the highest scores it received, a relative strength for this jacket. That said, we would rather it weigh a little bit more, as long as that weight was added down insulation.
The Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating applied to the outside of this jacket is simply sub-par, well below the level of that found on the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody or the Western Mountaineering Flash XR. While some water beaded up and successfully shed off, there was plenty that was absorbed straight into the face fabric itself. Also lacking in hydrophobic down, this is a jacket that you will want to rely on only if you are confident that it is not going to get wet.
The REI Co-op Down Hoodie compressed very well into its left-hand pocket, comparable to the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer. The only jacket in the review that stuffed down smaller and easier was the Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody. This is a relative strength of this jacket, and makes it easy to travel with. Nine out of 10 points.
The Co-op Down Hoodie is designed with more of an urban look than a mountain look, lacking all the logos and technical features that often define high end outdoor clothing. In our opinion, that is a very good thing. Because we think this jacket is more useful as an urban layer, it's better that it looks like it. The color scheme is monochromatic, simple, and not flashy, similar to the Arc'teryx Thorium SV. The fit was a bit baggy, with long sleeves, and is certainly capable of accommodating people of a variety of body types.
Like the Western Mountaineering Flash XR, this jacket has virtually no features to speak of. We did like the inclusion of the internal stash pocket for warmly stowing hats and gloves, but wish that it had two instead of only one. Why not? Also although it has two zippered hand pockets, it has no chest pockets either internal or external. As we mentioned above, the lack of hem draw cord is a bit egregious, and we also wish the hood had some method of cinching it tight. The wrist cuffs are pretty wide, don't tighten, and are recessed into the sleeves a bit, a feature we think is designed mostly for looks. As the worst of the bunch, we can only award four out of 10 points.
If the above comments didn't dissuade you and the price tag still has you interested, we can tell you that this jacket is best worn around town, as an urban layer for cold weather. It will serve as a warmth layer for moderate cold, but not extreme cold, because it simply doesn't have enough down insulation. It is thin enough that something could be layered over the top of it.
REI sells this jacket on their website for only $119. This is shockingly cheap for a down jacket, but know that you get what you pay for. You get lower quality down, a thin layer of insulation, and few features, meaning that this jacket will only serve you up to a certain point. However, if it seems to be exactly what you need, then it presents a really great value.
The REI Co-op Down Hoodie ranks near the bottom of this comparative review and doesn't live up to expectations of a very low cost technical layer. However, if you choose to simply ditch the expectations, then this is a good option for the price.
— Andy Wellman
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