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Functional Fashion: Kühl Introduces Its First Down Jacket

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[leadin]Kühl, a company best known for their rugged mountain pants, has jumped into the down jacket world with the stylish and functional Spyfire Hoody.[/leadin]


For the last 6 weeks, I have tested this jacket constantly. From hiking trails to walking the city streets, it has served me well through the coldest months of Minnesota winter. I’ve also tested it as insulation in conjunction with a shell while snowboarding in temps down to five degrees, and while winter camping.

A handful of features — reinforced shoulders, body-mapped insulation, and lay-flat hood — make the Spyfire unique and add to its urban chic.

I respect Kühl for not simply adding another basic puffy to the mix. Instead, for its first jacket, it sought to develop a technical piece that drips with style.

Spyfire Hoody Jacket Review

It has what you’d expect in a down hooded jacket: 800-fill goose down (from geese not live plucked or force fed, according to the company), tear resistant 20-D nylon fabric, durable water repellent finish, and an adjustable hood. And priced at $260 for both the men’s and women’s versions, the Spyfire is on par with other brands with these high-end specs.

Softshell Reinforced Shoulders: Tired of treating their down garments so delicately, Kühl added a rugged softshell fabric to the shoulders that could withstand sharp ski edges, backpack straps, and more. It’s a smart move that adds both a functional and fashionable aspect of the jacket.

A look at the reinforced shoulders, different sized down baffles, and the lay-flat hood.

Body-Mapped Insulation: Different sized baffles ensure that the goose down regulates temperature and doesn’t restrict movement. Smaller baffles are found on the sides and hood of the jacket making it easy to layer under a shell if needed. The body mapping worked well; the jacket kept me warm day-to-day and I rarely overheated while wearing it.

Note that the Spyfire keeps you warm, but it’s not designed as a stand-alone parka. Like most insulation, it should be paired with a shell for backcountry performance and better weather protection.

Early season MN climbing

Underarm Venting: Knit fabric panels in the underarm help dump heat during physical activity like hiking and climbing.

Lay-Flat Hood: Sometimes you don’t know something is needed until you discover it—this is one of those things. It’s a unique feature not found on many jackets, though it should be. The five-panel hood design makes it lay flat and is just plain comfy, especially if you need to don a shell on top.

In our tests, a climbing helmet fits snugly under the hood if needed.

Looks Awesome: It has a puffy meets leather biker jacket vibe that is reminiscent of an outdoorsy Ryan Gosling — in a good way. With my other puffy jackets, people just comment on how warm I look. In this one, they tell me that I look nice, too, which is an added bonus.

Downside: My only gripe with this jacket is the small zippers. The hand, chest, and sleeve pocket zippers are all too small to be used with gloves.

jacket zipper

Solid, Good Looking Jacket

I love that the Spyfire travels seamlessly from the crag to the coffee shop. At 14.2oz (men’s small) it’s kept me warm hiking, snowboarding, and living this winter in below freezing temps, as well as camping and climbing in warmer climes.

As Kühl’s first jacket, I’m very impressed. Compared to other jackets out there it’s a solid everyday option that can handle most of what winter will throw your way.

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