AMABILIS Primaloft Shirt-Jac review – Soft, warm, AND tough

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CROWDFUNDING REVIEW – Hot on the heels of my recent review of the AMABILIS Responder Lite Tactical Chore Jacket, here’s the review of their other new jacket, the AMABILIS Primaloft Shirt-Jac, the “new puffy,” which as of this writing is still available for backing in the last few days of its Kickstarter campaign. Let’s check it out.

What is it?

“Built for work, play and every day,” the AMABILIS Primaloft Shirt-Jac is “The all-purpose high-performance alternative to the ‘puffy’ jacket.”  It is made from soft, warm, durable fabrics, has a total of 7 pockets (8 if you count an extra one we found; more on this below), and is available in 3 colors.  It is currently being offered through a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign.

Hardware specs

  • Materials:
    • Melange heathered fabric exterior
    • Quilted with 100 grams of premium Primaloft ECO insulation
    • Sherpa fleece-lined neck and shoulder yoke
  • Colors: Graphite Grey, Pacific Blue (reviewed here), and Olive Green
  • Warranty: Warranted to the original owner against manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 1 year
  • Location of Manufacture: China

Background

Seattle, Washington, USA-based AMABILIS is a company that has been providing products that straddle the line between the civilian and service worlds for years.  Their products blend work, tactical, and urban styles into tough, functional looks, each in their own ways, and can function in anything from around the city, to outdoors, camping, farming, and construction, to law enforcement, first responders, and military use.

AMABILIS has successfully completed four previous crowdfunded KICKSTARTER campaigns, including its very successful Responder Tactical Outerwear campaign, which included the Responder Jacket and the Responder Hoodie.

Design and features

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Like the AMABILIS Responder Lite Tactical Chore Jacket, right out of its shipping envelope the AMABILIS Primaloft Shirt-Jac (which I’ll refer to as the Shirt-Jac from here on out for expediency), really impressed me with its soft fabric, warm but lightweight insulation, solid build, and casual but tough style.  In fact, at first glance, I thought the Shirt-Jac resembled a bit of a cross between a lined flannel work shirt/jacket and an urban or mountain “puffy” style coat. (NOTE: My son graciously modeled the jacket for these photos.)

The Shirt-Jac is available in three colors, with this one being the Pacific Blue.  It’s a nicely understated blue and has a bit of denim or faded look to it, which I really like, and I can imagine that the Graphite Grey and Olive Green colors look equally as good.

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AMABILIS has included many subtle but useful features into the Shirt-Jac that I’ll describe throughout this review.  Added to that, the construction is top-shelf: not a single stray thread, not an improperly sewn seam, and everything looks and feels very solid.  Even the many quilted seams were all spot on.

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One of the subtle but useful features of the Shirt-Jac is that the font of the jacket drops down a bit and the rear drops down further.  This has the effect of both providing additional coverage when bending forward, and also giving a bit of additional ability to access front pants pockets.

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I requested and received a size Medium and it fit well, straddling the line between being a slightly oversized, heavy-duty shirt and an appropriately roomy light jacket.  With the Medium, it was a bit roomy but I was very comfortable in just a thin T-shirt, or I could add a mid-weight base layer for extra warmth if needed, like the green hoodie I’m seen wearing in the photo at the top of the review page.  Also, you may have noticed that the quilting stops in the upper back and shoulder area.  More on this below.

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The Shirt-Jac has no zipper but instead utilizes several snaps.  Snaps give versatility: snapping a few of them provides a way to partially close the jacket quickly if speed is of the essence, or if added ventilation is desired.  Additionally, if you carry a firearm, leaving the bottom few snaps open can aid in quicker access to your weapon.  Finally, if nature calls, you can just unsnap the bottom few snaps and this helps with efficiency in this activity.  With it fully snapped, the Shirt-Jac provides good protection from the elements, better than I’d have expected in a jacket without a zipper.

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A few words on the fabric, zippers, and buttons.  The Shirt-Jac’s exterior is Melange heathered fabric, which is soft to the touch.  Its insulation layer is quilted with 100 grams of premium Primaloft ECO insulation, and the neck and shoulder yoke are Sherpa fleece-lined.  All of this adds up to fabrics that are soft but tough, and that keep the Shirt-Jac warm in cool to cold temps, while remaining surprisingly cool in warmer temps (living in northeast Indiana, I had the opportunity to test this temperature range over just a few days).  

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The Shirt-Jac’s exterior has a 3M Scotchgard water-repellent finish, and although I didn’t have an opportunity to test this in actual rain, when we were taking these photos, there was a light snowfall, and the snowflakes beaded up on the Shirt-Jac’s exterior like a champ.

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The Responder Lite’s gunmetal grey color metal buttons are large, about the diameter of a quarter, and their size makes it easier to snap and unsnap them, even with gloves on.  AMABILISPrimaloftShirt Jac 10While the AMABILIS logo is present in a few locations on the Shirt-Jac, it has wisely not been made so large or prominently so as to be obnoxious, as seen photo above showing the subdued AMABILIS logo on the lower edge of the left chest pocket.

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In addition to this simple heat-pressed tag located on the inside back, the Shirt-Jac also includes a loop for hanging the jacket. While a hanging loop like this seems like an obvious feature, I’m always surprised when a jacket doesn’t include this as AMABILIS wisely did.  The loop even matches the exterior fabric.

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As mentioned above, the neck and shoulder yoke areas are Sherpa fleece-lined, as seen in the photo above.  This is a thick layer of chunky fleece fabric that feels like the fur of an actual sheep.  It helps to not only keep your upper back and shoulders extra warm but provides some additional padding if you are wearing a pack or messenger bag.

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The Responder Lite has snap cuffs that are designed in such a way that if you need additional wrist clearance, you can just unsnap them, but they stay essentially closed on their own.   Leaving the left cuff unsnapped allows me to wear my Garmin fenix 3 HR GPS watch, which is quite large, without it getting hung up, but I can quickly snap it closed again if needed.

Next, let’s get into the Shirt-Jac’s pockets (pun fully intended), of which the jacked is supposed to have a total of seven, but while investigating the Shirt-Jac’s features, my son and I seemed to have found a total of nine pockets.

Pockets 1 and 2 – Magnetic flap chest pockets

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The Shirt-Jack has both left and right chest pockets on its front which are mirror images of each other.

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These two chest pockets have another unique feature, which is two pairs of magnets sewn into each pocket and flap.  I really like this feature.  No buttons or snaps to fumble with, no loud Velcro that eventually breaks down.  Just grab and lift the flap, then let it drop and it secures itself automatically.  These left and right chest pockets will accommodate large wallets, all but the largest-sized smartphones,  and many other items.

Pockets 3 and 4 – Front hand-warmer pockets

AMABILISPrimaloftShirt Jac 16The next two pockets are the oversized zippered lower handwarmer pockets, which function perfectly as their name indicates, with plenty of hand room inside.

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These two pockets, like the other pairs of pockets described above, are mirror images of each other.  They include wide openings and, although they don’t have any type of closure, they are deep enough that most times won’t fall out easily.

Pockets 5, 6, 7, (8 & 9) – Internal pockets

The AMABILIS Primaloft Shirt-Jac’s Kickstarter campaign site indicates that the Shirt-Jac has 7 pockets.  However, upon careful inspection, my son and found what we consider to be two extra pockets.

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The Shirt-Jac’s interior pockets are located on both the left and right sides near the bottom of the jacket.

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Let’s take a look at the interior pockets on the right side first.

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The main interior pocket is a large, open pocket that can accommodate items of many different sizes.

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Because of the way the right exterior handwarmer pocket is stitched into the jacket, it forms a sort of divider of the interior pocket.  This results in a large, roughly square-shaped pocket and a long, narrow pocket next to it.  This long, narrow pocket can hold things like pens, a knife, a flashlight, or similar items.

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The left interior pockets are mirror images of ones on the interior right side, but with a smaller zipper pocket added.

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The zipper pocket’s size allows it to hold a wallet, keys, a small smartphone, or similarly-sized items.  The zipper is a YKK brand, known to be arguably the toughest in the industry, and with an added length of nylon cord attached to the zipper pull to aid in gripping it (which helps when wearing gloves), and it’s also orange for higher visibility.

What I like

  • Tough, durable, high-end materials
  • Soft and warm
  • High-quality construction
  • Style allows it to be worn in a variety of situations
  • Loaded with discreetly placed pockets and other useful features

What I’d change

  • Maybe add one more zippered pocket

Final thoughts

Like the AMABILIS Responder Lite Tactical Chore Jacket, the AMABILIS Primaloft Shirt-Jac impressed me from the moment I removed it from the package.  I like that is blurs the line between casual urban, rugged outdoors, and tough work styles, and its materials and construction are top-notch. Its Melange heathered fabric exterior is soft and water-repellant, and its Primaloft ECO insulation quilted lining and Sherpa fleece-lined neck and shoulder area keep you warm all over.  The Shirt-Jac’s fit allows freedom of movement whether alone or paired with a hoodie or other base layer.  It also has several pockets (two of which have magnetic closures!) for holding your gear and other small but useful features.  The AMABILIS Primaloft Shirt-Jac is worth a look if you are tired of the same old insulated flannel or “puffy” jackets and like the idea of a “new puffy” jacket that blurs the lines between urban, work, and outdoor styles, is durable yet soft and warm is loaded with pockets to carry your gear. 

Price: $154 Kickstarter campaign pledge as of this writing (see link below)
Where to buy: AMABILIS Primaloft Shirt-Jac Kickstarter Campaign
Source: The sample of this product was provided by AMABILIS.

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