As cold days come to Colorado and Utah, I’ve got a new Go-To jacket. It’s the Alpha Air from LL Bean. As comfortable as your favorite high school hoodie and as warm as a ski jacket, it’s better than either because it stretches and insulates during these variable, frosty days.
“Stretches?” you ask.
Yep. The Alpha Air is a stretchy soft-shell with 100 gram Polartec insulation. That makes it warm, breathable, and versatile. I’ve worn it while clearing trail, running dogs, tossing hay, and working with horses. Thrillingly, it’s not a dog- and horse-hair magnet (like so many jackets are). It also shed dew, branches, and leaves while I was clearing trail, and it refused to snag or rip. Hooray.
Think of it as a hearty, Irish wool sweater without the itch, weight, and without the hair, hay, and burr magnetism. Oh, and no dry cleaning bill, either. Machine wash and dry.
The Alpha Air is blissfully free of bells and whistles. There are three useful and well-placed pockets: one zippered chest pocket for your phone and perhaps a billfold, and two for warming your hands or zipping in your keys. That’s it. Perfect.
Thankfully, the hood is not detachable which makes for less clutter around your neck and shoulder. And why would you want to take the hood off anyway? As they say in Maine (and everywhere else I’ve lived): “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.”
With hunting season coming up, I chose the nicely bright blue. But there are black/grey and red/pink varieties, too. Check it out here.