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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Adidas Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes
Adidas Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost Jacket (men's)
Initial Report: December 27, 2014
March 13, 2015: Field Report
Front view of the Adidas Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost Jacket
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy biking, hunting, fishing, canoeing/kayaking and most other outdoor activities, but backpacking is my favorite pastime. I enjoy hiking with friends and family or solo. I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.
Before I start I must say, tracking down the information on this particular jacket (I will call it the Frost jacket) was not easy except for the fact that I have the information printed on the hang tags. Someone interested in the jacket would have to rely on information found on sites selling the jacket or reviews such as this since it is not listed on the Adidas website. There is an almost identical version called the Hiking Climaheat Frost and a similar ladies jacket called the Swift Climaheat Frost but neither use the synthetic/down blend insulation. However, the Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost Jacket clearly uses Primaloft Down Blend. The information on various hang tags state "Ultimate hybrid of 40% PRIMALOFT ultra-fine fibers and 60% water-repellent down". In another place I found "Warm as 650 fill down, water resistant, breathable, lightweight, superior softness". On another card simply titled Climaheat it stated "Our warmest ever. Climaheat technology is designed to mimic the hollow fibers of a polar bear's fur by trapping heat and drying faster". With that said, the Frost jacket appears to be a nice warm jacket for the active winter outdoorsman. I say active because one advantage stated is that it dries faster. It is also a know fact that synthetic insulation performs better than traditional down when wet. The use of synthetic insulation along with hydrophobic down just means this jacket should handle getting wet, whether from sweat, outside dampness or even rain.
The Frost has two insulated hand warmer pockets on the front and each can be zipped closed. These pockets are big enough for several small items such as a compact camera or cell phone and my hands but I would have preferred a chest pocket for my phone so that the pockets could be left empty for my hands alone. Not that it is a problem, I just prefer my hands be in empty pockets. The waist has a draw cord on each side but they are located so far to the side that at first I found them hard to adjust since they seemed to require both hands to manipulate. After fooling with them I soon discovered that I could just pull the small tab at the end of the loop and they would tighten right up. I am ample waisted enough (I wear 38 x 30 jeans) that I will not need to be drawing it up much if at all.
The Frost insulation is not all that thick and the baffles are sewn through. I measured baffles on the front, back and down the sleeves and they all averaged right around 3.5 inches (9 cm) wide. The sleeves are just about the perfect length, coming down to my top knuckle if I pull them all the way down. However, when wearing the jacket they don't feel long at all and allow me to reach without them seeming too short. The sleeve ends feature some pretty tight elastic which keeps them from wanting to hang past my wrist but if I pull them past my wrist I can make a fist and keep my hand inside the sleeve. For the record, I think my arms are about average length for someone my size. This rear view shows the sleeve length and the hood toggle.
The Frost hood is fully insulated and pretty big. It can be cinched down around my face using a draw cord located on the back. I'm more used to draw cords being located on the front but this one is easy enough to adjust. It adjust like the draw cords at the waist but I basically poke a finger though the loop and pull. Loosening it back up is hard to describe but it is no problem either. There is a stiff foldable flap located on the front of the hood, similar to a ball cap visor. When worn loose it is fine extended but when I cinch the hood tight it covers my eyes. However, by folding it straight up I can see again. I can also wear the hood over a ball cap and cinch it tight and still see.
Rear view of the Adidas Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost Jacket
I found a peel-off sticker (image on the left) on the inside of the jacket with an illustration of a temperature of -30 C (-22 F) and a scale below it going from -40 C to 0 C (-40 F to 32 F) but the red was showing -30 to 0 C (-22 F to 32 F). Below that is a drawing of three figures, one standing, one walking and one running. The guy walking is in the red. Since running and standing are not anything alike and they were both in the white I am guessing this means the jacket is supposed to be good to -30 C (-22 F) if walking, but might be too warm for running and too cool for standing still. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I would want a heavier jacket if I were walking in -30 C (-22 F) temperatures. Of course I seriously doubt I have an opportunity to see if I would be OK in temperatures this cold so I will just see how cold and under what conditions I find the jacket comfortable. So far I've had it on in temperatures as cool as 37 F (3 C) and it felt great.
The Frost is pretty typical as far as a winter jackets go. It is fairly light, has a nice hood and comes down over my hips a decent amount, especially considering I am long waisted (I find it hard to keep button up shirts tucked in). The similar jackets are listed as DWR treated and I read on one of the seller's pages that this jacket is as well, so while not waterproof, it should handle light rain. As a backpacking jacket it is not what I would consider ultra-light but then again, the shell seems pretty rugged. I have used down jackets with 650 down fill up to jackets with 900 fill down and super light-weight shells and liners. I also have worn work coats with more pedestrian (synthetic) insulation meant to handle just about anything from scraping on tree limbs to barbed wire fences. The Frost is a happy medium between the super light-weight jacket and the work coats. I am pleased with the fit of the jacket and all the zippers work smoothly. The Frost does require special treatment. As a matter of fact, it has to be washed like down. This is OK but I prefer the easy care of full synthetics when it comes to washing a garment.
As I just alluded, the Frost requires certain washing and care methods. I'll just copy what I found on the hang tag which I plan to remove (there are 7 tags with the care instructions in different languages). "MACHINE WASH COLD DELICATE CYCLE/DO NOT BLEACH/TUMBLE DRYLOW/DO NOT IRON/DO NOT DRY CLEAN/USE DOWN DETERGENT ONLY/DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER/WASH SEPERATELY INSIDE OUT/REMOVE PROMPTLY AFTER WASH/ ADVICE: TUMBLE DRY INSIDE OUT WITH 3 TENNIS BALLS/WASH WITH FASTENERS CLOSED/CONTAINS NON-TEXTILE PARTS OF ANIMAL ORIGIN/US A SMALL AMOUNT OF POWDER LAUNDRY DETERGENT/CONTINUE TO TUMBLE DRY UNTIL ALL FILL IS EVENLY FLUFFED AND DISPERSED". That was a lot to remember but I have owned enough down over the years and the care of most follows these or similar instructions. In other words, just treat it like down. I am a little confused by the non-textile parts of animal origin reference. I am guessing they use this tag on some leather jackets they make but can't say for sure.
The XL Frost fits me just about perfectly. I can move freely in the jacket and the light weight helps make it feel comfortable. The hood is a little big on me but this could be beneficial since I can wear an insulated hat under it if it is really cold. The fit around my arms, shoulders, chest and waist is great. It is big enough that I can wear a couple of layers under it but not so loose that it feels baggy. This is important in a winter jacket since a good fit should be more efficient at insulating me. A jacket that is too big risks losing heat by drafts created inside the jacket and one that is too tight would compress the insulation slightly. Of course fit is always an individual thing so just because it fits me very well doesn't mean it will fit another person my weight and height as nicely.
Before closing I will mention one more thing. I have pretty much stopped using a conventional sleeping bag in my hammock. They are just too hard to get in and out of inside my hammock. I now use a half bag which covers just my lower half, sleeping bags designed to walk in, and most recently, various clothing combinations (no sleeping bag at all) depending on the temperature. A good jacket is essential to make this work and a hooded jacket seems to work better than a jacket and insulated cap. I do have to carry more warm clothing than I would normally carry if using a sleeping bag, but the upside is, I have warm things to wear in camp before turning in and the next morning when it is usually the coldest. Anyways, I plan to use the Frost for this and am curious to see how it works out.
Testing Locations and Conditions
During this phase of testing winter arrived in full force. Of course in Alabama, this means there were some rather warm spells mixed in with the cold. I was able to test the jacket during snow and ice events as well as just cold and rainy conditions. All testing was in North East Alabama, mostly while hiking on local trails, but sometimes while just out and about in my yard, at work or a trip to town. The coldest temperature encountered during the test was 6 F (-14 C) but I was headed to work so I was not out in the cold long. I did wear it for about 15 minutes at 14 F (-10 C) while adding air to all four tires on my wife's car. I wore it all night on an overnight camping trip when the temperatures ranged from 51 F (11 C) that evening down to 41 F (5 C) the next morning. However, most of my use came while out hiking local trails in temperatures from around 25 F (-4 C) up to around 50 F (10 C). Any warmer than that was too warm for the jacket and at 50 F (10 C) it was overkill. On February 14th I cut my hand and ended up needing stitches, but I waited too long before going to the emergency room so they applied Steri-Stips. I had to wear a bandage for a week and then keep it dry and pretty immobile for another but I was still able to get out and hike. This coincided with some of the coldest temperatures during the test and the only problem with the bandage was getting the jacket sleeve over it but I managed. I couldn't wear a glove on that hand so I used the left pocket a lot while I had the bandage.
Day hiking with the Adidas Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost Jacket
Field Test Results
I have been impressed with the performance of the Adidas Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost Jacket. It kept me warm on several cold and windy hikes and even kept mild drizzle at bay on a few occasions. I will say that on several hikes when temperatures were in the mid 20s (around - 4 C) I got hot while wearing the jacket. It was even soaked on the inside after one hike when I was tromping uphill through some deep snow. More on that later. The only time I actually felt cold coming through the jacket was when I was out adding the air to the tires at 14 F (-10 C) or while stopped at a gas station getting gas on cold windy days. In other words, I had to be relatively still and the wind had to be blowing hard for me to feel any cold.
I wore the jacket while doing a one-night trip on January 19th. It had been very cold the previous week so I was glad to see some warmer temperatures. I hiked about 4 miles (6 km) total with a pack weight of around 25 lb (11 kg). The temperatures ranged from 51 F (11 C) that evening down to 41 F (5 C) the next morning. I stayed on relatively flat trails during the hike but still worked up a pretty good sweat before reaching my campsite for the night. I did not wear the jacket while hiking to my campsite, however, my shirt did get pretty damp, especially at the back where my pack pressed against it. I managed to dry off while hanging my hammock and resting a few hours before turning in for the night. I started the night with just the Frost jacket over a mid weight thermal shirt but later took the jacket off long enough to add a sweater-like jacket that had a hood. It had cooled down to about 45 F (7 C) when I woke up around 1 AM and I wasn't really cold but decided to add the extra layer. This kept me warm the rest of the night. I also had on some insulated pants over sweat pants. For my feet I had on wool socks and some synthetic booties. I used the stock pad that is sold for my double bottom Hennessy Deep Jungle Hammock. It is similar to a windshield reflector. I was a little surprised that I was able to sleep very comfortable with clothing that was not much heavier than my 20 F (-7 C) synthetic sleeping bag.
Using the Adidas Terrex Swift Climaheat Frost Jacket for hammock sleeping
On February 25th we had a pretty big snow event for our area. Grant Alabama got 11.5 inches (29 cm) officially. Anyways, I wore the Frost jacket for several hours that afternoon while out taking pictures of the snow. There was about 4 inches (10 cm) on the ground when I first ventured out and about 6 inches (15 cm) when I came back inside. I was not hiking hard and the temperature was around 28 F (-2 C). It snowed pretty hard most of the time and I ended up walking about a mile (1.6 km) while out taking pictures around the neighborhood and down at the bluff. The jacket got slightly damp on the inside but the outside shed the snow and stayed dry. It was keeping my body heat inside the jacket enough that the snow did not melt when it hit it and slid harmlessly of the jacket.
The next morning I got up and hiked to the holler with my wife and some friends. It had snowed several more inches during the night and was tough sledding...but I stayed warm during the entire hike. As a matter of fact, I got hot while hiking back up the side of the mountain. This was one time that a more compact and stuffable jacket would have been handy. The synthetic/down blend insulation is pretty soft and squishy but the Frost is still a pretty big jacket and is a little big for my day pack, especially since I had my wife's camera and our water in the pack.
Author enjoying a rare Alabama snow
When I got home I took off the jacket, turned it inside out and hung it on a chair in the dining room over a floor heater vent. It dried fast and was dry a few hours later when my wife and I decided to drive up to the school and take some more photos. Here we are enjoying the view down in the valley below the school.
Summary so far
The Frost jacket has been a very nice addition to my winter wardrobe. It has been very comfortable to wear and kept me nice and warm under a wide range of temperatures. I have especially appreciated the fact that even though I have gotten the inside wet with sweat on several occasions, I did not feel cold when I would slow down or stop to rest. I appreciated that I did not have to worry about carrying a rain jacket with me all the time. The DWR fabric really did keep me dry during several mild rains and even a few downpours when the wind was blowing. I also liked being able to put the hood on to keep my head dry along with my upper body. I haven't mentioned the durability of the jacket or any washing but this is because it hasn't been an issue. The fabric seems to resist abrasion as well and dirt and stains and I haven felt the need to wash it. There were a few times that the bulkiness of the Frost was a hindrance but it is still lightweight for the warmth it provides.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for my Long Term Report in approximately two months from now to see how the jacket continues working for me. I would like to thank Adidas and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
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