Mountain Khakis is often a brand to which we turn for tough, traditionally inspired outerwear that is above all else, functional. The Wyoming-based company excels at taking boots-on-the-ground work wear and reinterpret it for guys who may like to be outdoors, but don’t necessarily have tough outdoor jobs. At the same time, Mountain Khakis’ pants, jackets, and gear can still easily take a ton of abuse and look only better.
With cold weather finally racing throughout the country, we wanted to give you something of an OTC Valentine’s Day post. It’s the result of a happy surprise in the form of the Swagger Jacket. Admittedly, it’s an unfortunate name that does not inspire one to think of classic, outdoors style, walks in the wood, or warming up by a bonfire.
But, silly name aside, this updated barn coat – lightweight, comfortable, and surprisingly toasty – is our idea of a perfect his-and-hers present. These are not matching “couples” coats – we would never even do that as a joke. Rather, they are two independent takes on a similar design theme that play to the strengths of both menswear and womenswear. The result is two winter jackets you can wear with your loved one and not look the slightest bit cheesy.
To the contrary, you will probably look as though you are strolling to your mountain retreat in Woodstock, Vermont.
We have been testing both the men’s and ladies’ models for several weeks and while our guys are well aware of Mountain Khakis quality and build, the ladies were actually taken aback by how much they like the coat. The initial assumption, that it would simply be a women’s take on a men’s jacket, was quickly replaced by an genuine appreciation of how this “outdoorsy” everyday coat was given a true feminine design all its own.
The male and female versions of the Swagger jacket do have a common design theme, quilted stitch pattern, and button accents. Beyond that, however, the ladies’ version is styled more like a riding or paddock jacket: shorter body, shirt-tail “saddle” hem, open hacking pockets, and more shaped silhouette. Where the men’s version has snap buttons over the zipper, the ladies’ model employs working buttons offset with a contrasting tape detail. The same is true for the hand-warmer pockets. These elements soften the style and reference a more gentrified look.
Both jackets are crafted with a quilted, durable water repellent exterior and get their unexpected heat retention from Primaloft Silver, a synthetic down alternative developed for the U.S. Army. Its unique properties provide superior warmth and compression, which simply means that these trim coats keep you as warm as a typical puffy ski jacket.
The ultimate test for anything we review here at OTC is a simple one. Do you reach for the jacket, bag, khakis, jeans, or whatever it is we are reviewing more than for something else? Does the item become a go-to staple without you really think about it?
In this case, the answer from both our guys and (for some, to their surprise) gals, was a resounding “yes.”