Ortovox Piz Bianco

For cold days in the mountains, this wool-insulated jacket is an excellent alternative to down

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Price: $349

Sizes: S-XXL

Weight: 530 grams

Materials: Outer: 100-percent nylon micro ripstop. Inner: 88-percent virgin wool insulation, 12-percent polylactide.

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Until I wore the Ortovox Piz Bianco, a jacket insulated with Swisswool, I didn’t think anything could compare with the warmth of a classic down coat. I stand corrected. Packed with a homogenous layer of fair-trade Swiss virgin wool—sustainably grown at mountain farms in the Alps—the Piz Bianco is just as warm and cozy as a midweight puffy down, but has a more streamlined fit. It also packs down easily into a pack, is completely windproof, water-resistant, and feels awesome over a T-shirt. It also looks good, and since it comes from sheep cared for by mountains farmers—as opposed to most down which is harvested from geese that have been inhumanely fattened simply for their foie gras—it makes me feel a little better about what I choose to wear. When I tell my friends that it’s not down, they touch and pull the jacket as if I were telling a joke. But this jacket is anything but.

Skiing Hot: Insulated by virgin wool, this jacket is ideal for most midwinter forays.

Skiing Not: Probably not big enough if you’re going on an expedition to Antarctica.