By CHELSEY MAGNESS
It is a weekday morning and sub-freezing in Oregon. Under my parka I wear nothing but a bra and a thin base. Thus is an average day testing equipment for GearJunkie, and this week’s lab subject is a jacket from Loki LLC, a company known for its “shape-changing” outerwear.
Named after a Scandinavian god, Loki is a small company in Grand Junction, Colo., that has long existed outside the outerwear norm. The god Loki, according to the company, is a shape-shifter who “changes his own appearance to suit his needs.” The company follows that mantra in some ways, with its jackets and parkas containing obscured extra features like cuffs that fold out to convert into mittens and hoods with hidden neck gaiters that can be wielded to protect in wind and (bonus!) give a unique “alpine ninja” look.
My test this month of the women’s Stockholm Jacket, an insulated knee-length that costs $279, included a month of winter wear, short hikes, and nighttime bike rides to the store in the dark chill of a December in Oregon.
The verdict? This parka, which the company cites as the “ultimate in warmth,” is indeed too warm for many winter dwellers! In all but extreme climates, the long, Primaloft-stuffed parka will be absolute overkill.
This is all to say the Stockholm is a smashing success. It is equipped for an extreme blizzard or below-zero days. It means business — there are built-in mittens that unfold from the cuffs. A stowaway face shield is a toasty addition in wind and snow. The parka’s detachable rim of fake fur on the hood seals the deal.
In short, the jacket keeps every part of your body warm except from your knees on down. Quite an accomplishment. And as a bonus, it looks great, too. The jacket works well as an around-town piece. I recently wore it on a Friday night art walk in Bend, and I fit right in with all the other women wearing longer warm coats with their skirts and dresses on.
Negatives? The sleeves run long to accommodate the hidden mittens. I did not mind, as the cuffs slightly (and warmly) covered my hands when I hiked without mittens on, though some women might gripe about the long arms. The jacket weighs about 2 pounds — light enough, but not “hardshell light.” It blocks wind but is not 100% waterproof — a DWR treatment allows water to bead on the rip-stop nylon when new, but this is not a do-all outdoors piece you will use when it sleets in spring, as one example. The Stockholm is best for high alpine, winter sun, and polar days — cold and dry winter at its worst.
But its good points far outweigh the question marks with this parka. Additional niceties include an interior MP3 pocket, soft hand pockets for glove-less warmth, and a quilted fabric face that makes for a semi-fitted look.
I am an active girl most days, but like anyone I run errands and hit the town. This winter either way, all dressed up or down to business outdoors in the cold, the Stockholm really has had me covered quite nearly almost from head to toe.
—Chelsey Magness is a reporter for GearJunkie.com and a member of our adventure-racing squad, Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers. She is based in Bend, Ore.