This piece is less at home in the wild and more attuned to the concrete jungle. For those who require a touch of rugged yet suave style on city street safaris, this hoodless option from 5.11 is a sharp play. We’ve tested the Peninsula Insulator Shirt Jacket through fall all across California, from the Sierras to SoCal beaches, and the thickness of the insulation is definitely on the lighter side (it’s a shirt jacket, not a true insulated jacket, after all). Additionally, it’s the only jacket included that fastens via snapping buttons instead of a zipper.
Style is the obvious frontrunner here. The 5.11 piece looks as if its been built off of a traditional collared leather jacket design, only with more technical materials. The dual color pattern only drives that home: the blue jacket we tested has an offset darker navy patch that cloaks the chest, shoulders, and collar. Additionally, that off-color patch is where the pocket magic happens—four velcro chest pockets make the jacket feel like Steve Irwin’s iconic vest. Plus, there are another two zippered hand pockets that are spacious, warm, and secure. It’s not the warmest jacket of the buyer’s guide by far, however, the boxy fit, while stylish, does allow you add layers underneath if need be.
Generally, when we’re buying a puffy, we want something that can be used in multiple scenarios. While this 5.11 might be considered versatile by some, for us, the lack of zipper ensures that it would be left behind on ski days, serious hikes, etc. Also, the jacket is definitely not as warm as the other jackets in this buyer’s guide—in moderately cold weather, you’d want to leave this at home.
The quick-stash velcro pockets across the chest—easy to use and they do offer a “tactical” element to the jacket.
“I wouldn’t necessarily wear this on a backpacking trip, but for rocking it to work or around town, I like it way more than I thought I would. I expected the pockets would be on the extreme side, but they do come in handy more often than not.”