I HEARD ABOUT the MegaWarm through the digital grapevine. “The World’s Warmest Jacket,” reads the company’s claim. According to LifeLabs, a material science company founded in fall 2021, the jacket “has the highest CLO rating [the level of insulation a clothing can provide] of any jacket in existence (9.25).”
Part of LifeLabs’ larger portfolio, the WarmLife collection uses “less than a paper clip’s worth of aluminum to reflect 100% of your radiant body heat back onto your skin, with 30% less material than similar items for a higher warmth-to-weight ratio.” The jacket positions itself against Canada Goose’s Snow Mantra Parka — made for the literal tundra. LifeLabs says the MegaWarm is 38% warmer. As a Canada Goose owner myself, my interest was piqued.
I receive this jacket in the kind of drawstring pouch that might contain a sleeping bag, the jacket unfurling in a plush spread. The fit falls somewhere between utilitarian and avant-garde. A lack of seaming gives it a minimal, futuristic feel, and the light charcoal color — more akin to silver’s matte, self-assured sister — adds a cool factor. I marvel at the strategically placed hidden chest pockets. There are also the swaths of soft-brushed jersey at high-touch points like the pockets and front collar just where your chin hits. A unique detail is the subtle elastic band around the mid to lower butt region to hold in body warmth.
Strolling through the 35-degree chill, I feel absolutely cocooned by the shape and sheer volume.
Exploring these features in front of my living room mirror, I quickly overheat and unzip in a flush. The next day, I take it out for a spin to see how the warmth factor performs against the elements. Strolling through the 35-degree chill, I feel absolutely cocooned by the shape and sheer volume. Though relatively light, its puff is deliciously pillowy, like walking in a down comforter. Picking up the pace to a brisk stroll, I feel a prickle of sweat on my back and have to pull the garment down like a shawl for a few paces to aerate. I imagine this piece as ideal for low-30s to below-freezing temperatures.
I google “meat lockers NYC” to see where I might locate a colder test environment (I quickly discover that meat lockers are kept between a tepid 34 to 38 degrees and give up on that endeavor). On another morning, I spy a bit of drizzle and swan-dive outdoors for the chance to field-test in another climate. The waterproof factor holds up: Drops do not soak through but rather bead and roll off, with the garment staying light and dry.
I bring the jacket out during the holidays, and it becomes an object of curiosity. It’s also just so goddamn puffy it’s hard not to notice. “Do they have it in men’s?” my mother asks, wanting to purchase it for my father (they do). On another day, I see a friend, and she reaches out instinctively to squeeze the plush arm, commenting, “This looks like the warmest coat in the world.”
While it’s still yet to hit below freezing in New York, I’ve never been giddier for a brutal, bone-chilling winter night to truly put my MegaWarm to the test. In fact, I feel something other than sheer dread toward February’s inching, icy fingers. That alone is enough to make me love this thing.
Sophie Mancini Writer
Sophie Mancini is an editor at Departures. Born and raised in New York City, she holds a degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and has a background as a writer in brand and editorial.
Ahonen & Lamberg Illustrator
Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.