The Claim: Eddie Bauer invented quilted down jackets, but the brand lost the core outdoor audience decades ago. Enter First Ascent, its collection of gear developed by alpine guides. The MicroTherm Down Shirt claims to be ultimate lightweight insulation layer for the high country.
The Test: As winter kicked off in fits and starts, the Down Shirt was my mid-layer for cold or windy days at Rocky Mountain and East Coast ski resorts. When I went for a hike in the foothills or a mountain bike ride, I packed this to stay warm after I stopped moving.
The Verdict: Because of the Down Shirt, I'm like a cartoon character: I wear the same thing every day. Why? I'm 5-11, and it's a challenge to find form-fitting clothes with hems and cuffs that stay where they're supposed to no matter how I move. This layer solves that riddle, thanks to a close fit and stretch panels at the hips, armpits, and shoulders to accommodate every stretch and reach. It looks and feels good—and it performs. Narrow channels allocate 800-fill goose down evenly around my core, adding warmth whether I'm in our drafty office or on an exposed chairlift. Plus, it packs down to the size of a thick paperback using an interior pocket, perfect travel-pillow size for the car, train, or plane taking you to the mountains. $169; eddiebauer.com —Olivia Dwyer