I hunt in some pretty rugged terrain and the temperatures can vary significantly. Whether I am hunting mule deer or quail, it is easy to be in thick brush while simultaneously dealing with high winds and cold temperatures. Most down jacket are very warm, but the face fabric is very thin and delicate. Additionally, when you are doing upland hunting, you are already wearing a vest so a cumbersome jacket is out of the question. I found the solution to these issues in the Eddie Bauer Sport Shop Field Jacket.
The Sport Shop Field Jacket is a variation of their very popular Microtherm Jacket, but it has been updated and altered to meet the needs of the hunter, especially the upland hunter. Features such as reinforced shoulders and arms, durable Cordura face fabric, fleece inner liner around the neck, and MicroTherm quilted channels make this a very warm, very durable, very versatile jacket.
It is no mystery that the Eddie Bauer Sport Shop Field Jacket is a quality piece – it won the 2012 Field and Stream Best of the Best Award. It is also recognized by Men’s Journal as “ideal for layering against the elements.” This jacket is effective as an outerwear piece, but it can also be used as an insulation layer if needed.
The synthetic insulation is 700-fill of Eddie Bauer’s proprietary Stormdown insulation. Stormdown is a water-repellent synthetic down that is able to maintain its warmth rating even when wet. Traditional down loses its effectiveness once it gets wet, but Stormdown eliminates this issue. It is important to note though that this technology is hardly unique to Eddie Bauer. Kuiu uses Toray’s SuperDown, First Lite has their own synthetic down, and pretty much everyone else who is respected in the outdoor industry has a water-resistant synthetic down available in their products.
Thanks to the updated features on this jacket, it is very comfortable to wear. The classic fit leaves a little extra material around your torso, so if you like an athletic, tapered fit, this might not be a good fit for you. The face fabric is a bit noisy, but if you are hunting birds it doesn’t matter. This is not a jacket for spot and stalk archery hunting, but then again that isn’t what this jacket was made for.
This jacket is very light (less than one pound) and very warm (rated down to -10 F with moderate activity; 45 degrees no activity). If you want a lightweight, warm, versatile hunting/casual insulation layer that can also be worn as outerwear, give the Eddie Bauer Sport Shop Field Jacket a hard look. There is also a vest option available too. The jacket is regularly priced $229, but it is often on sale for %20-%40 off depending on the time of year. At the time of this writing (Christmas Eve, 2015) the jacket was sale priced at $160.30 through the Eddie Bauer website.