In order for an insulated jacket to, well, insulate you from the cold, it needs to be able to be sealed at the neck.
I have been told by numerous reps from many of the top outdoor companies something I have stuck to, but didn't this time because this jacket looks so damn good. They said to never, ever, purchase a non hooded jacket if that same model also comes in a hooded form, especially if that jacket is made in China. The reason being is that more often than not, when the jackets are sewn up, the hooded and non hooded jackets are made side by side, and the ones that will receive a hood simply get one added. That means the collar will be oversized for the non hooded jackets, it's simply quicker and easier for the factory to do it this way. Unfortunately this jacket seems to have suffered the same fate.
The collar on this jacket can be pulled 3.5 inches from my neck without stretching it. I do not have a chicken neck, in fact, most collars are snug on me. I have a 16.5" neck roughly. The collar of this jacket, at the base, zipper to zipper laid flat is a whopping 23.5 inches. That's 8 inches larger than a standard size L neck.
Take a look at the pictures and videos of the models wearing it and you can plainly see how ridiculously large the collar is.
Another issue is the sizing. I tried on about 3 or 4 jackets in size L, the same in XL and the same in XXL. The body felt pretty much the same between them all, the difference being how much stretch the waist hem gave and how long the sleeves were. Perhaps my local REI simply got a bad batch of jackets that were made on a Friday afternoon and they used the same abdomens for different sized hems and sleeves..
Anyway, I did buy the "largest large" they had, but it wasn't until a while later that I said to myself, man, this thing is not warm at all, and then I realized how abnormally large the collar was.
This sucks, I really really really wanted to love this thing, it looks so damn good. If this was $50 like the house brand jacket, then fine, but it's nearly 5 times the price.
Since it's made in China I will give Kuhl the benefit of the doubt, perhaps this new jacket, on it's initial run was not made properly. Guys, on the next run, have the factory producing these rework the collar, a piece of insulating clothing needs to insulate, if there is enough room around the collar to drive a school bus through you can use all the down on earth and the jacket will still be cold. Feel free to send me a jacket from the new batch.
I knew I shoulda got the Kollusion or Interceptr instead.
PS More softshell material on the upper back and the outside of the upper arms would be great.
PPS More down, at nearly a pound, this thing provides about the same insulation as a 100wt fleece sweater, but then again it's probably just the loose and open collar.