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KUHL Spyfire Hoody - Women's Review

A very stylish jacket that will go from crag to cafe with ease
KUHL Spyfire Hoody - Women's
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $279 List
Pros:  Stylish, warm, durable
Cons:  Heavier for the warmth, less mountain-ready features and adjustments
Manufacturer:   KÜHL
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 23, 2020
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Warmth - 30% 5
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Compressibility - 20% 5
  • Features - 15% 4
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Water Resistance - 5% 4

Our Verdict

The Spyfire is a huge hit. It's stylish and has thoughtful and fun accents. It features high-quality 800 fill down and is a cozy jacket that's very sharp looking. The Spyfire quickly became our go-to for cool fall days in the Pacific Northwest. It earned many compliments, was easy to dress up, and kept up with the quickly changing and temperamental weather. It's not our first choice for your backpacking or climbing adventures, but it will certainly fill that role in a pinch.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $279 List$339.00 at Feathered Friends$324.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$265.30 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$375 List
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Pros Stylish, warm, durableVery warm for the weight, highly compressible, durable, versatile, comfortableIncredibly light, compact, warm for its size and weight, packs into its own pocket, recycledLightweight, well placed synthetic insulation, versatileVersatile, comfortable, warm for the weight
Cons Heavier for the warmth, less mountain-ready features and adjustmentsLess stylish, harder to layer underneath a hardshell jacketNo way to cinch the hood, lighter materials are more fragileLess durable than some models, expensiveLess water resistant, difficult to stuff into stow pocket but includes stuff sack
Bottom Line An excellent blend of style and function, but it's more of an urban jacket that can stand up to moderate mountain useWe loved it for its warmth-to-weight, comfort, and excellent versatilityAn excellent insulating layer or standalone jacket for mild temperatures and for those that value light weightAn incredibly well-made and versatile down jacket, light enough for layering or useful alone in milder, less rugged conditionsWe enjoyed it on a variety of adventures; it is well made and warm for the weight
Rating Categories KUHL Spyfire Hoody - Women's Feathered Friends Eos - Wome... Ghost Whisperer Down Hoody 2 Cerium LT Hoody Summit L3 Hoody
Warmth (30%)
5
8
6
7
8
Weight (20%)
4
7
9
6
6
Compressibility (20%)
5
9
9
9
7
Features (15%)
4
5
6
6
6
Durability (10%)
8
8
6
7
7
Water Resistance (5%)
4
5
6
8
5
Specs KUHL Spyfire Hoody... Feathered Friends... Ghost Whisperer... Cerium LT Hoody Summit L3 Hoody
Down Fill 800 fill goose down 900+ fill goose down 800 fill goose down 850 fill down 800 fill ProDown goose down; Responsible Down Standard certified
Main Fabric Microtex 20D nylon Pertex Quantum 7D x 10D recycled ripstop nylon Arato 10D nylon Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon
Measured Weight 14 oz 9.5 oz 8 oz 9.5 oz 11 oz
Pockets 4 2 2 3 4
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stowing option No Stuff sack Packs into hand pocket Yes Stuff sack included, but also packs into handwarmer pocket

Our Analysis and Test Results

The KUHL Spyfire is an excellent down jacket. Don't let its seemingly lower score fool you; this is an excellent down jacket. Our review has turned increasingly competitive, and it just fell a bit behind the curve. It has most of the technical features we'd want, except for the cinching hem at the bottom, which is a critical omission that limits this jacket to less technical adventures. It features high quality 800 fill down and durable 20 denier nylon, and has stylish features, like cool zipper pulls, and a variety of materials that make it feel cozy.

Performance Comparison


The Spyfire is stylish, comfortable, and holds up for light outdoor...
The Spyfire is stylish, comfortable, and holds up for light outdoor use.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Warmth


The Spyfire is not a very warm jacket, and it does not have the same athletic cut as otherwise similar jackets, which means it doesn't function as a midlayer insulating jacket either. This is a standalone down jacket, more city savvy than warm, and best suited to cool climates where you can often dash in to a coffee shop if the weather turns grim, or you're otherwise not committed to long stints in the cold.

The Spyfire, left, is not the warmest jacket, so better suited to...
The Spyfire, left, is not the warmest jacket, so better suited to milder climates.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Weight


Due to some of the fashion features, like fun zipper pulls, the Spyfire is heavier than some of the more minimally focused jackets. While it isn't our first choice for light and fast adventures in the mountains, it's awesome.

We do appreciate that KUHL uses high-quality 800 fill down; it makes the jacket feel light on your shoulders. The durable 20 denier nylon is an excellent addition that adds to the durability and will look great for many seasons to come. The adjustable toggles on the hood are also metal, adding weight, and the zipper has an extra-long pull tab with a decorative metal logo piece.

Compressibility


This jacket uses highly compressible 800 fill down.. KUHL also used more durable 20D nylon and softshell materials in the back and armpits, which allows for improved range of movement. However, all of this adds up to a less compressible jacket overall. There isn't a stow pocket or stuff sack to put the jacket into, which limits its versatility for technical climbing adventures.

Kuhl didn't waste time trying to make us think this is a lightweight...
Kuhl didn't waste time trying to make us think this is a lightweight backcountry savvy jacket; they stayed true to what is a more casual use down jacket. Therefore, there's no need for a stowable pocket or stuff sack. That said, it was relatively compressible due to high quality 800 fill down.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Features


KUHL put careful thought into the features they built into this jacket. While it isn't the first jacket we'd wear for rugged outdoor use, it's an excellent lifestyle jacket for those who spend a lot of time walking, hiking, and commuting, and thus are outside a lot, but not scratching around on rocks or ice or backpacking, where every ounce of weight in your pack matters.

We loved this hood. The brim is firm yet supple and the cinching...
We loved this hood. The brim is firm yet supple and the cinching toggles look great.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

We love the Spyfire's hood. It has a soft visor that keeps light rain and snow off your face, and two adjustable toggles to achieve a good fit. You can even wear the hood over a climbing helmet.

Have we mentioned we love chest pockets?
Have we mentioned we love chest pockets?
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

We love pockets, and this jacket has lots of them. Especially chest pockets. You'll find an excellent internal chest pocket, which is a good spot for essential papers or credit cards, as they're safely stashed away. This also provides resilience against light rail or pickpockets. The Spyfire has the two standard hand pockets, but it also has an external zippered pocket on the left arm, which is ideal for light, small, or flat objects. Skiers might like this for their electronic RFID ski passes.

This jacket does not have an adjustable drawcord at the bottom hem, which is a pretty big bummer; this dramatically reduces its "mountain-readiness" because you cannot cinch the bottom tighter to seal out cold drafts. This also makes it harder to adjust the fit to a range of body types.

The lack of a drawcord at the hem to cinch is tight was a real...
The lack of a drawcord at the hem to cinch is tight was a real bummer. If this doesn't fit you perfectly in the hips, you might get some cold drafts.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Durability


The Spyfire has a lot of features designed to improve its durability, from softshell shoulders to an extra 20D nylon ripstop top sheet covering the front baffles. We appreciated these details. The Spyfire was tidy and neat during the whole testing period, whereas last year, there were a few issues with loose threads and fabric, which made it look a little sloppy after a short amount of time.

We liked the stylish baffle design on the Spyfire.
We liked the stylish baffle design on the Spyfire.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Water Resistance


The Spyfire performed decently in the light rain around Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. The softshell shoulders with durable water repellent (DWR) finish allowed us to brush off the water before we raced indoors. The hood also added to our comfort in precipitation; we could nestle inside this jacket and race indoors through the occasional downpour, and a light shake would be all we needed to get dry again. We still recommend having a good rain or hardshell jacket for those seriously rainy days, as repeatedly getting a down jacket wet can reduce its life in the long term. The Spyfire is popular in the notoriously rainy Pacific Northwest and sheds enough water to perform well around town.

Value


The Spyfire is a great deal. It looks sleek, is durable and warm, and is light enough for various adventures. It's not the most mountain-ready jacket in this review, but it will hold up for many types of adventures, making it a good value.

Conclusion


The Kuhl Spyfire is an excellent down jacket for rugged urban environments. It's stylish and durable, but a little heavier and bulkier than a true ultralight backpacker would like. It's well made and looks good despite regular, daily use.

The Spyfire is a favorite among many of our testers for its sleek...
The Spyfire is a favorite among many of our testers for its sleek look and comfort.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Lyra Pierotti