Rugged looks don’t have to mean cold stares – or shivers down your spine in the face of winter winds. Active Junky’s pulled, zip and buttoned dozens of wool-fiber options this season. Three top the charts for standout insulation and peer plaudits. And don’t forget to sign up for Active Junky for exclusive deals and cashback on your gear purchases.
Obermeyer ½ Zip Zurich: Heritage with relevance
Think classic lines followed by table-groaning steins. With the most prost of any sweater we’ve worn lately, Zurich pulls on and zips up for relaxed warmth even if there’s no Matterhorn in site. Active Junky favored the piece for roomier fit to accommodate beefier baselayers on colder days. With a looser weave, this piece needs an outer layer for windier conditions. Know that company founder Klaus Obermeyer stills has a twinkle in his 96-year-old eyes with a commitment to quality and timeless style passed on to the next generations. Even if Euro isn’t your thing, Zurich takes the hill for outstanding value and generous sizing.
Best For: Dreaming big dreams, from toasty fireside to chilly bergschrund
Woolpower Full Zip Jacket 600: Get your Nordic on
Active Junky’s been eye-to-spindle with this jacket in the making, touring the brand’s wool-obsessed Ostersund, Sweden factory from nose to tail. This full-zip style is a standout among many compelling pieces in the line with plump 70% Merino 30% polyamide yarn to muster warmth beyond the 600 weight. A double-layer collar came into play in late fall in Jamtland, Sweden and back in Colorado when the snow fell. Non-itch wool, knit in a circular pattern, defied stretching even as thumbhole cuffs added dexterity to durable elastic cuffs. A longer rear hem means taller men won’t be left wanting; Machine washable 22.5 micron wool keeps coming back for more as the exterior becomes more fuzzy by design.
Best For: Daily wear, expedition-worthy performance on longer fall and winter trips
Check out the Woolpower Full Zip Jacket 600 >
Edgevale North Coast Shirt Jacket: Even better than it looks
This stretchy piece shows – and goes – like few we’ve worn. Our biggest challenge? Finding one in the midst of rabid demand for the Oakland-made wonder. Water and wind resistant, North Coast sheds errant porter and sleet with stealth softshell technology. Faced by 50% poly, 30% wool and 20% acrylic, the jacket layers a breathable membrane between outer style and buttery inner fleece. Buttons actually work to make chest pockets functional and the taped front placket work from top to bottom. Active Junky testers continue to accumulate admiring compliments and undercurrents of envy with North Coast. No worries as Edgevale’s laboring diligently to make enough to go around.
Best For: Cooler weather, inside and outdoor wear with a wool-blend tee underneat