Review: Rohan Pack Ice Jacket

A brief clothing review by Bobulous.


photo: The neck of a black Pack Ice Jacket.

The Pack Ice Jacket is a highly-insulated winter jacket made by Rohan. It's constructed using a polyamide material, and insulated with a PrimaLoft One lining. Rohan rate the jacket as having a Coldguard level of very high (will offer a suitable level of insulation in all but the very coldest conditions), and a Windguard level of total (provide a total, complete barrier to the wind). Rohan report the mass of the jacket as 635 grams. The outer fabric is not a waterproof material, but is treated with Rohan's fifty-wash Durable Water Repellency.


The Pack Ice Jacket is very warm. The insulated lining really does keep heat in, and really does stop the wind stripping you of heat. You can wear the Pack Ice Jacket outside when it's below zero and the wind is howling, and your body will retain its heat.

However, the design of the jacket is very short, so anything below your waistline will not be afforded protection at all. This means you'll be likely to want some insulated legwear to go with this jacket when the weather's really cold, otherwise you'll be keeping your torso toasty warm only to lose that heat through your legs.

Another issue with the jacket being so short is the hand-warmer pockets. These pockets are fleece-lined on one side to keep your hands cosy. But the shortness of the jacket does mean that the thin material at the bottom of the pocket feels cold because the pocket almost manages to poke out under the hem of the jacket. It's almost like there's a draught over your hands. The jacket could do with being just a few centimetres longer. Maybe buying a size slightly bigger than the correct chest measurement would stop you noticing this problem.

Even with the minor heat loss, the hand-warmer pockets really are welcome if you're out in the biting wind and you don't have gloves with you. In fact, wearing the Pack Ice Jacket and a pair of winter trousers will suddenly make you notice how cold your exposed skin is. Your hands (outside of the pockets), neck and face will feel very much outdoors while your lucky torso and legs feel very much indoors. You can save your hands by cramming them into the hand-warmer pockets, but you may decide you need a scarf or an insulated beanie-hat to console your head.

Despite the level of insulation provided, the Pack Ice Jacket display's Rohan's usual lack of bulk or mass, and it feels incredibly light. It also features Rohan's usual array of pockets. The hand-warmer pockets have zips, so you can use them for storage if you don't need them to protect your hands. Inside is a zipped "Comms" pocket for a mobile phone or a portable music player, and a "Stuffpocket" which has a draw-cord and allows plenty of room for a pair of gloves. Do bear in mind that anything bulky stored in the Stuffpocket will make you look asymmetrically obese.

Once the weather gets warm, you'll probably have to stop wearing the Pack Ice Jacket. It traps heat so well that you'll probably get dizzy if you keep it on while moving around in warm conditions. Wearing only a t-shirt below the jacket on a near-zero winter's evening, I was still forced to unzip the jacket half-way after a twenty-minute walk. But I am sensitive to the heat. In cold conditions, though, this is a very welcome garment.


The Pack Ice Jacket is a little shorter than it perhaps ought to be, and this does slightly reduce its ability to trap heat. That aside, the Pack Ice Jacket is light, comfortable, well-equipped with pockets, and will keep your torso and hands cosy even in sub-zero winds. A great piece of winter kit.

See also

If you decide you do need insulated winter trousers, see my review of Rohan's Winter Bags.