Form meets function in the attractive and well-made KÜHL Spyfire Down Hoody. This down jacket will be your go-to outer layer for cold weather with its beautiful lines, 800-fill down, and thoughtfully designed hood.
Disclosures: 1. KÜHL generously provided a Sypfire Down Hoody for review purposes. All words and opinions are my own. 2. This post contains affiliate links through which I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you make a purchase. Thank you for your support!
First Impressions of the KÜHL Spyfire Down Hoody
The first thing I noticed about the KÜHL Spyfire Down Hoody is its form-fitting design. There’s no Michelin Man thing going on with this jacket. The Spyfire is extremely flattering and moves with you, without being too snug. At 5’3″, 120 pounds, I am able to wear a base layer and thermal shirt underneath the size small Spyfire hoody, with a bit of room to spare. While the core is constructed with large baffles to hold in lots of heat, the sides and sleeves have smaller baffles to minimize bulk. The sleeves have stretchy cuffs and breathable, stretchy underarm gussets to help with temperature management and movement. I like that the sleeves are on the long side, so when I reach for things (i.e. when scrambling), my arms stay warm.
I have been testing the KÜHL Spyfire Down Hoody for four months: around town and in the mountains, from -9 C to +5 C, on sunny days and foggy / drizzly days. The hoody has held up well and doesn’t seem to molt as many feathers as my other down sweater thanks to the softshell yoke and highly durable 20-denier body fabric. There’s a tradeoff between durability and weight, however; the Spyfire weighs 389 grams (13.7 ounces), 57-85 grams (2-3 ounces) more than the lightest down sweaters, and is a bit bulkier. Since there is no internal pocket to stuff the jacket into, I stuffed it into its hood when I wasn’t wearing it, and found the little bundle compressed quite well in my backpack.
Although the jacket has a DWR coating that makes small water droplets bead and fall off, as with any down jacket, I prefer to layer a windproof/waterproof shell over my down hoody when it’s raining. Keeping the down dry maintains its loft and insulating properties. After four months of frequent use and being shoved in my backpack when not on me, my down hoody still looks great!
Two of my favorite features on the KÜHL Spyfire Down Hoody (besides the cut and thermal body mapping design) are the hood and pockets:
- A 4.5 cm (1.8 in) reinforced brim keeps light snow out of your face, and toggles (two in the front, one at the back) allow you to adjust the insulated hood so it stays on in windy conditions. I use the hood often as it keeps a lot of heat in.
- The Spyfire has two handwarmer pockets, one internal chest pocket, and a left sleeve pocket that would be perfect for holding a ski pass. All pockets have sturdy YKK zippers.
The KÜHL Spyfire Down Hoody is made of Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treated 20-denier MIKROTEX™, a durable nylon fabric, and TuffleX™ softshell material, and filled with 800-fill (Responsible Down Standard Certified) goose down. Responsibly-sourced down is neither force fed nor live plucked, so you can feel good about your purchase.
Why should you choose a down jacket over a synthetic one? Down is a great filling for an insulated jacket as it provides the most warmth for its weight, and is light and highly compressible – if you get high quality, high fill power down (the higher the number, the higher the fill power, insulating ability, and compressibility). 800-fill down provides a lot of warmth for its weight, so it will be warmer and less bulky than a similar jacket that has 600-fill down.
All zippers are high quality YKK zippers. The centre zip is a Metaluxe zipper (looks like metal but is lighter) with an ergonomic KÜHL crest zipper pull. A sturdy baffle prevents material from getting caught in the zipper and a chin guard at the top of the zipper keeps your face comfy.
Stretch panels in the armpits and thinner sleeves allow for a good range of motion, and the reinforced softshell yoke protects the jacket where backpack straps rub on it. The softshell yoke and tough outer material mean the jacket will lose less down and last longer; two important considerations if you don’t like replacing gear every year. Durability comes at the cost of extra weight, but the Spyfire is only one to two ounces heavier than the lightest down sweaters; not a dealbreaker to me.