The North Face Kilowatt Jacket is easily the best activewear jacket I’ve ever owned. Then again, it’s the only true activewear jacket I’ve ever owned, so that might not be all that helpful. Instead of meaningless comparisons, let’s instead focus on the pros and cons of this jacket, and if it’s really worth the $130 price tag.
I’ll start by noting that I didn’t pay retail for this jacket, and if you’re looking to buy one now you can actually get a better deal than I did (see below). I snagged a size medium during one of REI’s first end-of-season sales this spring for about $90 after tax. I’m 6 foot, 180 pounds. The medium is slim fitting on me, which is exactly what I wanted in a jacket like this, although I could likely easily rock a size large (they only had mediums left on sale, so I have never actually tried on a large). The Kilowatt Jacket is part of the North Face Mountain Athletics line, which basically means it’s made for working out.
Since purchasing the jacket about two months ago I’ve worn it pretty much daily. It’s perfect for the wet, cool spring weather common here in East Tennessee, and it’s versatile enough to work for my daily routine that flip flops from active to sedentary to active to sedentary (yay, office life!). I use it for pretty much everything, from exercising (mostly running), commuting to work by bike (4-5 days a week), lounging in the office on dress-down days (which, honestly, is pretty much everyday for me), and walking the dog. No, the jacket isn’t exactly business casual, but it is nice enough to bum around the newsroom, and I’ve had anyone refuse to talk with me or make any off-handed comments about my attire being less-than professional.
To me, the $90 I spent on this thing has been well worth it, although it’s not perfect. Here’s what I’ve learned over the past few months: