So here’s a well-known brand by the name of Lole. What may not be as well known is that they are Canadian, and they just so happen to specialize in “technical outerwear”! In other words, clothing meant for the outdoors! What better than a Canadian company to understand our unique requirements, if not challenges, for great outdoor clothing. In this post, we will take an in-depth look at a very specific product, none other than the Lole Titan Insulated Jacket.
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Lole Titan Insulated Jacket
A technical, soft shell jacket with a 0 to -10°C temperature rating. Windproof, water-repellent and multi-season.
Multiple features for outdoor activities
The first thing to look for when considering any piece of outerwear is when and where you will wear it. With a heat level rating of 0° to -10°C, we have a fairly good idea of when to use this jacket: spring and fall, with even a little overlap into winter with some smart layering.
But things are a bit more complicated than that. Everyone “feels” temperature differently, and these ratings are generally more like guidelines. I lean on the colder side and would comfortably wear a -10° coat on a +5° day. Or perhaps even a +10 day, like today when we took these photos of the jacket. Just don’t make fun of the blogger doubling as a model:)
All it takes on a warmer day is a simple swap to a t-shirt versus a sweatshirt, and the jacket’s seasons are easily extendable in the other direction. Often what starts as a cold morning will have you sweating by afternoon, only to be cold again by evening. The beauty of technical outwear and dressing for the outdoors in general is the skill and ability to know when and how to layer up or down as needed. This jacket is so light, soft and non-bulky, it easily becomes an integral part of a well layered and well suited system for the outdoors or travel.
Probably the second biggest consideration is materials. Some people hate synthetics or vice versa when it comes to natural fabrics. Pure wool, in my opinion, is very itchy. While super warm, toss some wind into the mix and wool will blow right through. Perhaps it’s why multiple materials or blends, so to speak, are so popular today.
Let’s always remember throughout the review that we are talking about “technical outerwear” and, while we generally like to look good, we have to tick off several boxes if we truly intend to use this product outdoors, Ie. In the elements, which can mean everything from sunshine to rain or snow.
Lole advertises a wool blend shell. In actuality, the shell is 79% polyester, 11% wool and 10% acrylic. So yes, there is some wool in it, and it masterfully pulls off the look and feel. These percentages also make perfect sense which we will address right now.
Polyester may not sound luxurious or fancy, but it is found in several technical garments, and for good reason. Polyester has come a long way over the years and is the type of fabric that can wick moisture away from the body and remain breathable – all while repelling water on the outside. Synthetics also dry faster, which is exactly what we need in an outdoor garment.
If you are old enough, you might recall the yellow ducky suits we wore back in the day (like the 80’s) as the go to rain coat. If not, you might have a good laugh from pictures of mom and dad in those silly things. They absolutely worked great at keeping water out. But they also kept water in! We would be soaked sooner or later, and it would be from our own sweat. It boggles my mind how lucky we are today to have clothing like the Titan Jacket. Normal looking clothing that can keep us dry on a rainy day!
Before moving on, one last point is that it’s the outer shell that takes an absolute beating, so it has to be durable. From rubbing the armrests in a car to snagging everything in the bush, it’s your first line of defence from the elements. Durability happens to be a hallmark of Lole products and I keep reminding myself not to worry as I trudge through the woods in such a soft jacket.
Here’s where this jacket gets really interesting!
Lole’s website reads:
- Filled with Repreve® synthetic recycled polyester insulation
- This jacket insulation used 14 plastic bottles in its manufacturing – 14 bottles that will never see a landfill
And the tag reads: “100% down-like polyester fibrefill”.
It is so cool to be able to take plastic bottles and re-purpose them into fabric, especially something soft and compressible enough that it can be compared to down. We will cover sustainable practices at the end of the post, but let’s focus on the fill and its actual function: which in simple terms is there to keep you warm!
Natural Versus Synthetic
Natural down is fantastic as fill but if it gets wet, it loses its insulating capabilities. To complicate that, it takes FOREVER to dry in a dryer let alone while you wear it. Natural down also tends to eventually poke through the lining over time and this can be quite itchy. Lastly, it comes with a very steep price tag! Lole is definitely on trend here and you’ll see synthetic fill dominate in technical products. That’s because it’s getting as good, if not better than natural fabrics for many applications.
Case and point, a friend of mine has a property in the woods that’s normally a half hour drive down a lonesome, narrow trail. This leads to a cabin nestled in 200 acres of solitude. We went in one early December day by truck, only to find at least 20 down trees along the way that had to be moved out of our way. 3-4 hours later, SOAKING wet on a rain/snow mix day, we arrived to a frozen cabin very wet and very cold! So we hung our clothes near the woodstove to dry. You just don’t have that option with natural down! The outdoors can be full of unknown surprises and the Titan gives me that much more confidence out there.
This is 100% nylon and quite standard. Let’s move on.
Titan Jacket Features
The Titan Jacket zips with YKK zippers – which are known internationally to be the gold standard. It’s not the 1800’s and no one has time for buttons. Zippers are simply faster and far more convenient.
Zipping alone will suffice on most days with this jacket. Lole has ingeniously offset the zipper on the fabric, which automatically provides an inner flap to keep the wind and rain out. As convenient as zippers are, wind will blow right through them without this cool feature.
If that isn’t enough, there’s also a second flap. This time, an outer flap that generally sits nice and flat but can be further secured in place with snap buttons. I can confirm first hand this system works, and it works very well!!! It should guarantee comfort on those super nasty days.
Here is a really underrated feature of this jacket. The collar comes up nice and high and seals the wind and water off your neck. If you have ever bumped a tree and had cold water or snow land on the back of your neck (and slither down your back!) you’ll know exactly what I mean. I really appreciate the high collar here and find it rests squarely on the back of my neck while protecting it from the sides as well. This eliminates the need for a scarf and let’s face it, who wants to wear that during this season?
The jacket is advertised as water-repellent. I can confirm that and it holds up well for quite some time. That’s not to say it won’t soak through on a torrential kind of day but I’m not about to test that either. Common sense dictates you’ll want dedicated, “waterproof” rain gear on those crazy days.
Do be warned that to a degree, the fabric will always be just fabric. In other words, Lole did their part in the materials department and they probably weaved things really tight – leaving little gaps in the fibres of the outer shell. Water repellency ultimately then comes from treating that fabric with a spray that seals the water out. This wears off over time, generally through washing and the warning here is in the form of being prepared to re-treat it at some point. The sprays are found in outdoor stores and they work great.
This is the final advertised feature we really must cover. A good technical jacket (no matter how thin or thick) should and can be windproof, as is the case here! DO NOT settle for anything less otherwise, you are simply buying a fashion product!
At the very start of this post, we talked about temperature ratings in consideration of the actual intended use of this jacket. That is to be comfortable outdoors for hours on end, regardless of what the weather feels like doing. It’s ironic to close the features section with windproofing because it has a direct correlation to temperature!
It does not matter what kind of fill any jacket has if the wind blows through it! The wind itself will make you cold and to make matters worse, air moving through an insulator wreaks havoc on its R-value! You’ll end up getting a double hit in the cold department.
I can confirm the wind has no effect on this jacket and it works brilliantly to no end.
Comfort, Fit and Finish
The Titan Jacket feels very thin and light for something that’s rated to -10 degrees. That’s a good thing! It’s also nice and soft and provides ample range of motion and comfort. I’m not uncomfortable in the car, nor hiking the woods and I can crouch down or bend over at will without even realizing I’m wearing a jacket. That softness means it’s also quiet and I can sneak up on wildlife for that perfect photograph.
In terms of fit, it leans towards the fashion side more than a bit. It’s quite fitted which is also a good thing! Outwear can be big and bulky and this jacket fills a niche where you can wear it in the woods on a hike and then head right into the office and blend in. It will even look great on a night out while keeping you warm. Usually, clothing that works well outdoors never looks nowhere near as good as this jacket. But then again, that’s part of Lole’s style.
The model on Lole’s website is 6′ tall and sporting a medium. I am 6’2″ and always need a large or extra large in order to have the sleeves long enough. At 185 lbs, when I order a large or XL, there’s generally enough room around the waist for 2 people! It’s a lifelong curse of mine that makes things look hideous. That is NOT the case with the Titan jacket, it fits great and I could not be happier!
Lole’s sizing chart is very accurate. A link to it is available from each item page on their website.
If there is any complaint, the cuffs are a little tight which makes taking the coat off more difficult than it should be. For someone with really big hands, it will take some getting used to. The intent is good as it’s probably done on purpose to seal out, you guessed it, wind and water! So we’ll let this slide as a minor issue. The pockets could also be a bit bigger (technically deeper) to provide some more security for the items you carry in them. I would not use the side pockets on an ATV ride in fear of losing things.
Every good blogger knows to keep their posts about the reader. You are not here to learn about me otherwise, it would be an autobiography:) So we educate our readers based on facts and experience. Of course, we add our opinions to a degree, more so with reviews, as you are looking for a report card so to speak of a product. In terms of price, it’s one of those things that needs to be put in context in order to make sense, and that’s a bit more personal.
So what is a fair price for a jacket that keeps you warm and dry, lasts a long time and looks great? I do recall years ago the odd trips to the mall and browsing the Bay for Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren shirts at $80 a pop. We are talking about the Bay, not a boutique and household fashion brands. We are also talking pre-pandemic, pre-shortages and pre-inflationary pricing!! So in context, my humble opinion is the price is insanely fair for a fashionable product that is more importantly quite functional.
The only other way to put a price in perspective is to look at what the actual market determines. And you will be very hard pressed to find a better product from a good and trusted brand at this price. Technical outdoor clothing is generally VERY expensive. The great news today is that Lole is kind enough to give our readers even more value:
Lole and the Environment
Some people don’t care about sustainability, others are outright activists and most people are somewhere in the middle. Now that the review itself is done, let’s cover some of Lole’s brand philosophy on environmental impacts as it’s a hot topic these days – and because things like recycled fabrics are becoming commonplace to the point where we won’t even have a choice on the matter.
As a former Chief Operating Officer of a big corporation, I can tell you firsthand that it’s hard some days just to keep the lights on. And absolutely not, just because a company is big by no means do they deserve to be lumped into that evil corporation status. Generally the bigger the company, the lower the profit margin. That’s because they employ MORE people which in turn means more inefficiencies. These profit margins can go as low as 3%, so think about that. It means you are only a couple of bad decisions away from closing for good… But it also means that 3% can be easily eaten up by even a single green initiative!
If a company can keep the lights on, still employ real people, put out a good product AND have some level of sustainable practices, they are heroes in my books! That brings us to Lole. On their about us page, they have quite the blurb about what they are doing towards sustainability. It covers things like making products last longer so you don’t need to consume so much and goes as far as their yellow label program which is an initiative to get gently used clothing to those in need. So far so good.
Why This Really Matters
Now I bring this all up because in so many cases, one green step forward often means 2 very non-green steps backwards. For example, our family purchased some very expensive outerwear from a big brand we won’t name here but their green or “recycled” fabric ended up falling apart insanely quickly with several holes in the garments, all in the outer shell rendering them useless. This was within months on the types of clothing that should last years! The end result is a quick replacement (and more consumption) which isn’t very green is it? It wasn’t an insolated incident and we don’t buy that brand anymore.
With the Titan Jacket, Lole ingeniously put the recycled stuff into the fill. Even if it becomes a problem, it won’t be a problem because of where it is. That gives me (or you) great confidence in a product that lasts and is genuinely green, or at least as green as it can be. It also means that if sustainability is important to you, you might just have a home with Lole or similar companies that are more genuine in their efforts.
Lole has been remarkably durable in our house and that’s over the course of years. It’s not by accident we chose Lole as an affiliate partner. Links to Lole products from our site do provide a commission to BushLife at no cost to you, in fact, it will cost you less thanks to Lole’s generous promo code they have provided for our readers.
Lole did partially cover the costs of the Titan Jacket we reviewed in this post. They did not provide payment for this post nor are we sponsored by Lole. The review is based on our unbiased opinion.