Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Tracksmith Winter 2022 Reviews: Nor'easter Jacket, NDO Hoodie and Gloves, Prospect Beanie

 Article by Sam Winebaum

Winter and (Tracksmith) New England are synonymous.  

In the last 2 years Tracksmith has really upgraded their rough weather offerings with the NDO (No Days Off), Nor’Easter, and Off Roads Collection. In 2021 I tested the NDO Tights and NDO Jacket as well as the Off Roads Crew and Run Commute Pants. All but the Tights performed magnificently.

For Winter 2022 Tracksmith sent us samples of the Nor’Easter Jacket, NDO Downeaster Hoodie and Gloves, and Prospect Beanie.  I have extensively tested all of them in damp cold New England along the Atlantic Coast and now in the sunny cold mountains of Park City, Utah. Three are big big hits for me and one is a miss. Please read on to find out more. 

Prospect Beanie ($42)

Let's start with the most unexpected surprise, the Prospect Beanie. This very thick but also very light 100% lambswool merino hat had me worried it would be far too warm for running or nordic skiing, my other big winter sport.  I run warm and most often run with a very light Buff beanie or a nordic ski race hat or no hat at all. Tracksmith describes the Prospect as being for the “a warm and cozy topper made for easier days or just taking it easy.”

Maybe style wise but the watch cap style Prospect has proven not only incredibly warm but also never had me overheating or desperate to take it off, even on bright sunny Park City days just below freezing. 

Is it the oh so light very soft but thick lambswool that moves the heat away efficiently through all that thickness? I don’t know but I am truly surprised by the high performance of this watch cap style that is also super cozy to just wear. Definitely a hit!

NDO Downeaster Hoodie ($188)

Don’t rush for the exits seeing the price of this subtly and classically styled hoodie. Made of the same blend of 60% Merino wool and 40 % polypropylene that made the Off Crowds Crew my favorite winter 2021 mid layer for running, hiking and casual wear. The double knit Downeaster is softer, a bit thinner and smoother feeling and looking on the outside and inside. It has a very effective hood and a small side rear zip pocket.

The blend of the two materials is key here. Tracksmith says: "The natural properties of Merino offer warmth, breathability and odor-resistance, while polypropylene improves wicking and insulation. Not only does polypropylene have the lowest thermal conductivity of any fiber, which means it holds onto heat the longest, it’s also hydrophobic, quickly pulling moisture (i.e. sweat) to the surface where it can evaporate, rather than be absorbed into the Merino." 

On the run, the Downeaster has never had me chilly even in light winds all by itself at freezing or somewhat below on the run or nordic skiing. While it absorbs some moisture and got damp at the back, it never felt wet and clammy and had a soft luxurious and strikingly dry feeling against the skin at all times. Not wind resistant per say the dense knit is nonetheless somewhat wind resistant. It dries remarkably quickly. Done my runs and skis it stays on the rest of the day. Always a good sign! 

Done the run, its subtle gray color goes anywhere in style and with class. I really like the white hit of the neck drawstring with a tiny red Tracksmith ring.

Looks aside the drawstring is highly effective in cinching down the hood. No hat required with this hoodie.  The side rear zip pocket holds a phone. I do wish and as often with Tracksmith and especially for winter dim and night focused running there was more reflectivity. There is none here. The fit is true to size and generous 

As with Prospect Beanie another high performing luxuriously comfortable piece of “gear” that after the run fits in everywhere and can serve many uses.  Its highly unusual tuned blend of fibers and resulting, performance, comfort, all around utility, and style can make it a many years companion.

Nor’Easter Jacket ($298)

Very similar in construction, materials and style to the NDO Jacket I tested in 2021 the Downeaster is a touch lighter in weight. As with the Hoodie we have a highly technical fabric here, a Schoeller of Switzerland wind and water resistant softshell with a thin bonded inner Merino layer.  It has 2 deep zip pockets backed on the inside with giant drop in pockets for hat gloves, etc.. There are two thin reflective strips at the back but none at the front, I would like to see some reflectivity there. 

The very similar NDO Jacket ($308) has a big rear reflective sash as well as one on a sleeve.

The Nor’Easter is an all conditions “armor” from wet, damp chilly windy to deep cold and even moderate conditions. It is no light shell, is quite heavy and very substantial in feel with a solid drape that means business.

Remarkably breathable yet warm, the inner merino keeps bare arms from sticking and provides a light and effective layer of insulation. I have worn the Nor’Easter in conditions from near 50F to the teens with never more than a light base or heavier mid layer underneath and was always comfortable, as warm as necessary, and never overheated. The outer soft shell is highly wind resistant and has a very effective Schoeller DWR treatment. 

In the picture above, 1 mile from my house at the exact spot the “Sweet Misery” where Tracksmith shot their winter catalog pics! And below in the cold drizzle with RoadTrailRun contributor Ryan who was wearing the 2021 NDO Jacket. Perfect gear for the day!

Even after close to 45 minutes in light drizzle and damp, water stil beaded to the outer shells of both as shown below.

As with the Hoodie we have a supremely high performing winter and shoulder seasons run and multi sport jacket that can double for everyday wear for many years and that will never go “out of style”.  

NDO Gloves ($48)

Again we have a high performing fabric, a double layer of a stretchy wind resistant material. Cuff magnets lightly secure them together and we have phone screen friendly finger tips.  The feel is soft and stretchy and for most of my runs down into the teens they have provided more than adequate warmth if not quite the breathability I would expect in warmer temps.

I got my usual medium glove size. I am closer to a medium in gloves than small. They are clearly too long making use of the phone friendly tips marginal at best. Priced at $48,  I also don’t think they are a strong value when equally warm if not warmer, leather palmed, more versatile and breathable nordic ski gloves can be had at about the same price.

Shop for Tracksmith HERE

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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Malcolm said...

If not the NDO gloves, what would you recommend.
Thanks malcolm

Brayden said...

What size Nor'easter jacket are you wearing in these pictures? It's been difficult finding sizing reviews. I'm 6 foot, 170lbs and am leaning toward a medium.

Sam Winebaum said...

HI Brayden,
I am wearing medium and it is just right but not as roomy as medium NDO was. I am 5'9 164lbs so for you I might suggest large especially if you are planning on any more substantial layers underneath, rarely needed but to consider
Sam, Editor