We were intrigued by the Amazon Essentials Lightweight Water-Resistant insulated jacket. Its super low price and raving online reviews turned our heads; surprise, surprise, it earns our Best Buy Award! Retailing for ~150% less than other insulated contenders out there, it's a steal of a deal. Plus, its performance is up to snuff. It offers some of the best weather resistance we've seen and packs away to the size of a Nalgene bottle. The midweight construction will provide warmth throughout most of the year and can easily layer under a shell for super cold weather. Unfortunately, it's not incredibly breathable, and the seam construction looks a bit cheap. Aside from that, it's one of the best value insulated jackets that we've had the pleasure of testing.
Amazon Essentials Lightweight Water-Resistant - Women's Review
Cons: Less durable construction, not breathable
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Amazon Essentials Insulated Jacket surprised us with its level of performance! We were skeptics of the positive reviews and had to give it a go; it turns out this baffed jacket offers impeccable weather resistance, warmth — all in a packable, lightweight construction. It wins our Best Buy Award for a price and performance that simply can't be beaten by any competitor on the market.
To be honest, we are surprised to be raving about the warmth of this inexpensive jacket. We thought it wouldn't offer the insulation needed to take on the cold weather (as most inexpensive coats don't), but we were wrong. This jacket features 100% polyester insulation in a baffled design that captures air and provides optimal heat.
This is a jacket we'd recommend to wear on its own through the spring, fall, and the cooler nights of summer; pair it with a t-shirt or base layer. Through the winter, we'd recommend layering it with a base layer, fleece, and a shell if the weather gets really cold.
We wore it when temperatures dipped below freezing and found ourselves a bit shivery, but okay when standing still. Given that it's made of 100% polyester, expect it to be insulating when wet. If you live in the coldest parts of the country, know this midweight jacket won't keep you warm through the double negative digits, but it'll act as a good mid-layer during those times.
Weight & Compression
Not only is this low priced jacket warm, but it's also packable. We ordered a size small. It weighs in at 12.75 ounces (less than a pound) and packs into the stuff sack it comes with. This packable nature adds to its technical applications, meaning it can be easily used for hiking and/or backpacking during the summer.
We tested it on a backpacking trip, and it easily fit inside of our pack, taking up very little room amongst our other gear. While this isn't the lightest jacket out there, it feels like it's hardly on when we wear it, and we don't really notice it in our packs. It performs similarly to other higher priced baffled contenders.
Comfort & Coziness
The baffled design offers a hi-lofty feel that you can nuzzle into, especially when the weather is cold outside.
We appreciate the full hood, larger hand warming pockets, and the other features that make this contender feel cozy. It doesn't have a fur-lined hoods or adjustable pulls on the hood or hem; the design is simple, lofty, and cozy to wear all day long. We feel comfortable wearing this hiking as well as wearing it into town.
The elasticized cuffs are simple and they tay put. The pockets offer plenty of space to fit a gloved hand, a phone, or a snack. We love the larger internal pockets that make stashing objects like headlamps inside the jacket very easy.
What we wish for is a chest pocket, either on the inside or outside, so we can have storage when wearing a hip belt for a backpack. Overall, this jacket is simple and comfortable but doesn't have any stand-out features in this category.
Wowzers! We're surprised by the performance once again, especially for such a low priced jacket. We wore it during our shower tests and while taking on windy walks with some precipitation. The exterior fabrics wick away moisture well without absorbing it. It performed amongst our top performers in this metric, earning it a high score in this category. This is a jacket we wouldn't be afraid to be wearing while being caught in the rain or wind.
While the fabrics are relatively lofty and thin, the face fabrics are quite protective. During our windstorm tests, we stood outside in windy mountain weather. With a thin base layer on, it did a good job of cutting the wind. The baffles are thicker, which provides more protection, and thus, warmth.
In our water tests, we put this jacket in the shower and sprayed it down for over a minute. We were astounded to see the water continually roll off the fabric for the full minute. We checked to see if any water had absorbed and pooled in the fabrics. Some of the baffles were indeed saturated, but for the most part, it all drained out. Crazy!
We also checked to see if the water penetrated to the interior of the jacket. In this case, the baffles and insulation are thicker, providing more protection. Both the interior and pockets were dry! Again - given the lower price of this jacket, we thought for sure it would fail this test, but we were wrong. While it's far from waterproof, it'll provide you the protection you need in an unsightly or unpredicted storm.
Like most jackets that are warm and incredibly weather-resistant, this one isn't very breathable. We tested it while hiking on a backpacking trip and had to take the jacket off after just a few minutes of hiking uphill. Basically, as soon as we broke a sweat, we had to unzip or stash it away in your backpack. It's not very breathable, but it does feature a lot of other highlights that make it worth the while.
Style & Fit
If you're a fan of baffled coats, you'll like this one. Outdoorsy in nature, it can be worn from the trail to the bar. It is offered in many color options, but you should read online reviews about the "actual" color before purchasing as some look different than advertised. The fit is a little bit wonky and feels a bit small, so make sure you size up.
Our main tester is 5'6 and 145 pounds with a medium, athletic build, and wide shoulders. This jacket felt nice and roomy through the arms and torso, making it quite easy to layer. However, across the chest and in the armpits, she felt that it was quite tight.
We checked the online reviews, and several women mention the fit feeling small. If you're on the fence between two sizes, we'd recommend sizing up unless you like a tighter fit. It's of medium length in both the arms and torso. If you're taller, you might find it a bit short. We like the fit and look of this jacket, earning it a good score in this category.
Bomber! You're not going to find a better deal anywhere. To be honest, we were a bit worried about the quality and performance of this jacket. When we inspect the craftsmanship, we see the stitching is shorter than other higher priced contenders.
However, the performance is on par with those same contenders — at a price that's 150% less than other retails prices. We didn't have any issues in our three month testing period. This Best Buy winner simply can't be beaten when it comes to value. If you're pinching pennies but need a warm and stylish jacket that'll perform, the price is worth it.
The Amazon Essentials Lightweight Water-Resistant surprised us with its excellent performance across the metrics, except for breathability. While its craftsmanship certainly isn't up to snuff when it competes with the best options on the market, the price is 150% less than what you'd pay for most insulated jackets. It's cute, warm, and offers bomber weather protection. Just size up if you're on the fence for sizing.
— Amber King