- Buyer's Guide
Huckberry and Lululemon Team Up for the Perfect Hybrid Jacket
Getting up close and cozy with the Navigation Down Jacket…
Lululemon. A brand who are traditionally synonymous with yoga pants, soccer moms, and city folk. Their products are comfort-focused, designed for exercise, and instantly recognizable by a small circular logo. They make excellent products. I’ve owned a few pairs of their sweatpants, and they are some of my go-to’s for coaching or running. However, that is where my exploration into Lululemon has stopped. Most of my exercise involves trees in their natural habitat and form, rather than on the floor of yoga or dance studios. However, more recently, Lululemon have begun to expand into the outdoor realm.
Last year they partnered with Wilderness to create a small, well-received hiking collection. This year, they’re making a further push into the outdoors with their new insulated down range. Our friends at Huckberry live for the outside (their motto is “See you out there!”) and they certainly have their whole hand on the pulse when it comes to merging fashion and function. It seems only natural that the two have partnered to create another excellent Huckberry exclusive. We tested out the new Navigation Down Jacket.
Aesthetically, this is a damn good-looking jacket. If you’ve had the time (or inclination) to read any of my other reviews regarding apparel, you’ll know I love understated, clean style. Huckberry and Lululemon have achieved that here with a tasteful “Grey Sage” colorway which is perfectly at home in the mountain wilderness or the concrete jungle. It really is a beautifully muted palette that can assimilate anywhere you may take it.
The logos are muted and almost clandestine. You’ll find a perfectly placed Huckberry reflective tree on the rear of the neck, and Lululemon’s circular insignia on the rear hem, in a matching sage color, so it is only seen if you are really looking for it. I love that, nothing on the chest, nothing on the arm, just the basics. While I have no problem recommending products that I like, it is nice not to feel like a billboard, an issue I have with some other outdoor jackets.
There is subtle reflective detailing on the sleeve hem, which means you can wear this around the clock, with a little extra peace of mind. I have been through my fair share of lightweight down jackets, and often, one of the issues I run into is the shiny exterior! It isn’t a huge issue when you’re halfway up a peak. But personally when in town, or headed to dinner, the matte exterior really comes into its own. You can enjoy dinner without screaming “LOOK AT ME, I EXERCISE OUTSIDE!” Huckberry are experts at the crossover game, and the aesthetic choices made here place the Navigation Down Jacket with one arm in town and the other on the trails.
I found the cut to be just right for me. I often size up to an XL in winter jackets particularly, so I have room for layering if I need it. However, the trade-off is that sometimes with the extra space you can end up becoming a sail. I’m happy to say that this isn’t the case here. It is fitted, but not skin tight. The XL works for me with just a polo, or with the extra space to throw a hoodie or sweater in on the brutal days.
That said, I haven’t found myself needing to do that yet! Filled with 700-fill power goose down (RDS certified, 85/15 down to feather ratio) it has proven to be a great insulator. I have used this in the teens (Fahrenheit) while hiking and did not feel cold at all. When more static, I found it plenty warm in the twenties and thirties over a shirt. Like most outdoor brands, Lululemon have come up with their own baffling system. Their ThermoChannel™ construction keeps all the necessary feathers in the right places where you need warmth most. This is designed to be an active jacket, and I haven’t seen any feathers poking out yet!
The stretch nylon and elastane outer shell moves with you and provides a good level of wind and water resistance. It handled snow without any issues, but I wouldn’t trust it in a downpour. Like most down jackets, this isn’t going to survive being abused in the same way a waxed canvas jacket might. But it will fend off the odd low-hanging branch and twig, as well as the rigors of backpack wearing. I didn’t have any concerns while using it. Weight-wise, it is light. Not ultralightweight like you might find in a mountaineering piece. But lightweight enough that you can bring it with you wherever you go without a second thought.
When it comes to features, it’s pretty straightforward! Two zippered hand pockets with hidden cinch inside, a two-way zip (yes!), and a zippered internal chest pocket with the mantra “BREATHE. REPEAT” printed on the zipper. It’s big enough to fit a phone or a wallet, but not much more. Then again, the idea is that you don’t need much more on a lightweight jacket like this. Although, I do feel as though they missed a trick by not including a stuff sack or pillow pocket; I really find that a useful feature.
This is the type of jacket that is an insurance piece. I can imagine it becoming a pre/post gym jacket for some, a “live in my car just in case” for others, and an “I’m not taking this off” for many. This isn’t the jacket I would take with me on a serious fourteener, or overnight backpacking. But it is a piece I would turn to after a day on the slopes, or in the water, a relaxed weekend hike, a beer garden trip, dinner with friends, or any other multitude of situations you may find yourself in. In some ways it is niche but in others a one-size-fits-all solution. I found it to be a great “hybrid”.
That’s where I think the Navigation Down Jacket actually excels over other down options I have, it is more of a shapeshifter. It isn’t the fanciest jacket I own, nor is it the most performance-centric or warmest. However, for the days that are in between dressed-up sartorial elegance, high output performance, and end-of-the-world snowstorms, it is a truly useful jacket. It just so happens that a good percentage of my days live in that in-between twilight space.
If you’re battling Nor’easters on the eastern seaboard (or any other tundra!), this isn’t going to become your one and only winter jacket. But it will become an excellent mid-layer and transition piece. If you live on the west coast (or any other milder habitat!) and want to beat the chill without looking like a member of the Arctic expeditionary force, this is a great option. The Navigation Down Jacket fits a gap that I didn’t know was there until I tried it. For many, this is a great addition to their plethora of jackets, if not a replacement for the whole quiver.