Because winter is coming.
As a proud resident of prime lake-effect snow country, I know a thing or two about winter: namely, that it’s cold in this part of the country, and winter is our longest season with snow often covering the ground for a solid five months or more. I’d like to consider myself a connoisseur of winter wear, happily layering myself up in scenes reminiscent of A Christmas Story:
In my quest to collect snug base layers, sweaters and warm fleecy things, Noble Outfitters’ new Evolution Insulated Jacket immediately caught my eye: not only is this thing designed for winter wear, it’s full of unique features that are designed specifically for equestrian wear. Trust me, a habitual child of the winter, when I say that this is a must-have piece of outerwear for the season.
- 100% polyester with water-repellent finish
- 100% waterproof, fully seam-sealed and breathable
- 120-gram polyester insulated lining for added warmth
- Dual action hand pockets accessible from the side and top
- Detachable 3-panel adjustable hood
- YKK two-way front zipper covered by snaps
- Knit storm cuffs
- Detachable pommel cover
- Back vent and hidden storm flaps
The take-home message: this jacket is totally waterproof and insulated, meaning that it packs the protective punch of a heavy-duty winter coat but wears like a much lighter jacket, which is essentially everything I’m looking for both when working around the barn and out for a ride.
While the lightweight feel of this jacket combined with the heavy-hitting waterproofing and insulated fill are the most important basics, it’s the Evolution’s additional features that really set it apart, and also indicate that this is definitely a jacket designed for equestrians by equestrians. Here are my favorites:
Seriously, where have these been all my life? How did I survive without a fitted cuff that prevented those icy winter breezes from shooting straight up my arm and into my core? Gone are the days of frantically trying to pull my sleeves down over my wrists to make sure they overlap with my gloves, because these storm cuffs have got that base covered.
Realistically, I’m going to leave the hood attached all the time since it’s either snowing, blowing or some combination for most of the winter, but it’s good to know I have options. Here’s a weird confession, but I have a really big noggin, so finding a hood that actually covers my whole head (plus a brim for rain!) is a great feature. Not only does the hood actually do its job …
… but you can also seriously batten down the hatches for particularly cold or nasty conditions. Did I mention that the collar is fleece-lined, so it’s soft and warm against your face?
Pommel cover and storm flaps
This feature is marketed to protect your seat during rainy rides, but I also see it as a nice additional feature to prevent drafts blowing up the front of your coat while you’re riding: jackets with two-way zippers are great for riding as you can open up the bottom to give your hips some room, but with the downside that you’re opening up a good place to catch a chilly breeze. This detachable flap helps block that wind gap. The storm flaps in the back can be unsnapped for a little more room over your hips in the saddle, but don’t give up any exposure.
Pockets … so many pockets
One of my biggest complaints with a lot of coats is that the stuff you cram into your pockets tends to fall out while you’re riding. That isn’t a problem with the Evolution, as both the side and front pockets are deep and roomy and either zip (side) or snap (front).
To get a custom fitted look as well as snug up the coat to keep your core warm, the Evolution includes a drawstring at the waist for a flattering silhouette. While I’m not typically one to worry too much about whether or not I look “trendy” when running errands before or after barn time, the Evolution is quite flattering and it’s already my go-to winter jacket for quick trips in the snow.
The bottom line: the Noble Outfitters Evolution Insulated Jacket allows you to dress smarter rather than harder, doing the job of a heavy-duty winter coat without the bulk of layers upon layers. While there’s plenty of room underneath to add a fleece and some “smart” base layers when winter comes to stay, the Evolution is the only outer layer I’ll need this season.
Go Noble Outfitters, and go riding!