Have you ever heard of Free Country outerwear?
To be honest, I hadn’t until recently. That doesn’t mean much. If I had a nickel for everything I haven’t heard about……oh, never mind. You know the rest.
Anyway, Free Country has been around since 1990 and sells in chain stores like Kohls, JC Penney, Boscovs, Peebles, and more. Not long ago they asked if they could send me a jacket to review, and I told them sure; send me something really, really warm. I get cold pretty easily, so for me, the warmer, the better.
Here’s what they sent: their Spire 3-in-1, a system jacket:
It features a zip out liner, which you can wear separately, if you like:
I’m a big purple fan, so I like that. But purple with aqua? I’m not so sure. But that’s just me; everyone’s taste is different. That said, the fit is good. I’m 5’1″ 110 lbs, and the jacket wasn’t too tight or too loose, too long or too short. The sleeves were the right length, too.
Yes, the jacket is warm. I wore it out skiing on a cold day and stayed pretty comfortable. All the same, there were a few things that kept me from falling in love. First, there are no underarm zippers, which are a great way to regulate body temperature if you get too warm. This is kind of a deal breaker for me. Second, there aren’t enough pockets, and I always have a lot of crap. Although the exterior has two hand pockets and one chest pocket, there are no pockets on the interior of the outer shell or the zip-in liner. Yes, the liner has two exterior hand pockets, but you can’t reach them when the liner’s in place. And since they don’t zip shut, I’m concerned that things could fall out. Third and finally, there’s no inner powder skirt, which can help keep the snow out, and body heat in.
My guess is that the lack of these features helps keep the price down. On the company’s website, the jacket is priced at $110., down from $160. Free Country seems to run a lot of specials, too, so they’re not as expensive as a lot of companies out there. And for a lot of people, that’s a big plus.
So what’d you think, Ski Diva?
Free Country’s Spire 3-in-1 is a good value for someone who skis occasionally and wants a jacket that 1) doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, 2) is very warm, and 3) has an inner liner that can be worn by itself (two jackets in one!). If the surfeit of pockets or pit zips doesn’t bother you, then go for it. You’ll be fine.