As a staple of winter, synthetic insulated softshell jackets are like a Swiss Army knife and serve as a go-to all season long. Comfortable and stylish enough for an evening out yet also capable enough for backcountry use, warmth and weather protection are key attributes. Jack Wolfskin’s JWP Atmos Jacket is their take on a versatile synthetic insulated softshell jacket for all-around use and it has a lot to appreciate.
Jack Wolfskin JWP Atmos Jacket Features:
- Flex Shield recycled polyester outer fabric
- Water and wind resistant
- Variable Microguard Stretch insulation (60 g/m² in body and 40 g/m² in sleeves)
- Packable in it’s own pocket (left hand)
- Fixed hood
- Standard cut and fit
- Weight: 390 grams (medium, actual)
Since the 1980’s Jack Wolfskin has been delivering high-quality outdoor gear and apparel to enthusiasts everywhere. With German roots, everything they make is engineered at the highest levels to ensure the best performance on the market. Upon arrival, the JWP Atmos Jacket was impressive and on par with what I’d expect from Jack Wolfskin’s entry into this category.
Getting to know the JWP Atmos started with cold nighttime dog walks as I sorted out the fit and function of the jacket. Since it features synthetic insulation, there’s no worry about the fill migrating with use. No, the body-mapped insulation will stay put and offers body-mapped insulation with more warmth in the core vs. sleeves.
Like all jackets that are in for review, the honeymoon phase only lasts a short time before it’s time to see just what it’s made of. Right now, my go-to way to push the limits of the JWP Atmos has been a snowy or cold trail run or hike. Understanding how well a jacket breathes when pushed hard is always a great test. So, off I’ve gone into the foothills in search of snow-covered or frozen trails.
With a midweight base layer, I’ve been pleased with the overall performance of the JWP Atmos. It maintains warmth very well from a cold start and regulates perspiration admirably. Certainly, near the end of a 45-min run, the back panel will become a little saturated, but it never gets soggy and wet. It’s about what I would expect from a modern, insulated softshell jacket. I would not have any hesitation rocking this jacket for a backcountry ski tour or snowshoe session.
I do love that the hem and sleeve cuffs are just elastic. So, no velcro or bungee toggles to keep things in place. Mostly, this is a good thing. On the sleeve cuffs, this is an absolute win and makes for a really comfortable cuff that’s compatible with a wide variety of light and midweight gloves. With that, it’s so refreshing to have a long sleeve length and an elastic cuff that maintains sleeve coverage through all my usual activities — so nice. The simple, elastic hem is also a nice feature, but it won’t replace the typical bungee hem to seal out a cold breeze. No question, things can get a little drafty.
So, with that, let’s talk further about wind protection. Yes, the hem will allow wind to make it’s way underneath, but the front zipper (even though it’s backed), is also to blame. The fabric itself is pretty good, but you will notice airflow penetrating the face fabric as well.
As far as weather protection, it’s adequate for minor rain or snow. It does feature a light DWR treatment to shed water and snow, but don’t count on it if the weather turns south in earnest. But, that’s almost always the case with any softshell, so don’t expect hardshell performance.
I absolutely prefer hooded jackets for many reasons and the hood here is a nice one. It’s streamlined enough to not flop around in the wind and/or blow into your line-of-vision. And, it moves with you to keep your peripheral vision clear when you’re in head-swivel mode. It has just enough extra room for a beanie or running cap. I’ll add that it is snug enough that you do need to unzip just slightly to put it on. That’s a good sign since a stiff wind won’t blow it back off.
There are a few items that are surprisingly off with the JWP Atmos and they have to do with pockets. The biggest mistake is with the hand warmer pockets (and it’s almost a rookie-type mistake). The insulation layer of the jacket sits behind the pockets. So, all you have is the outer fabric protecting and, theoretically, warming your hands. It simply does not work. When I put my hands in the pockets, it’s only slightly warmer than having them out in the cold air. Pockets should always enter behind the insulation layer so your hands can stay… well… warm. The other pocket issue is a lack of a chest pocket. I’d sure like an outside or inside chest pocket.
Note on Fit: I’m 5’11” and 170 lbs. and went with the size medium. You can see it isn’t an athletic cut, but it’s not oversized and provides full coverage.
- Excellent overall coverage (sleeve and hem length)
- Streamlined hood doesn’t blow off in the wind
- Simple sleeve cuffs are compatible with all sorts of gloves
- Proper sleeve length ensures coverage
- Zipper pulls are quite simple and easy to pull
- Breathes on par with other similar jackets
- Those pockets are cold without insulation on the front
- Hem allows cold wind to enter
- DWR treatment could be stronger
- Watch out for the zipper pulls in the washer/dryer (they tend to fall off)
The Bottom Line: Jack Wolfskin JWP Atmos Jacket
The Jack Wolfskin JWP Atmos Jacket has a lot going for it and is a quality find. It is very versatile and warm for expected temperatures (30-50 degrees). It does breathe really well and I love the extra sleeve length with elastic cuffs that are very compatible with gloves. Those icebox hand warmer pockets are a bummer though — you can’t have it all.
Buy Now: Available from Jack Wolfskin