If first impressions are the most important then this would have 5 stars. However, since I expect my gear to last, one outing doesn't get it there.
However, on a weekend Pig Hunting trip, me and a friend decided to hike in and stay the night somwhere around Coalinga, CA. I am new to backpaking and the layering I need to keep warm so my previous trips I have been miserable cold or misserable from carrying half the coat closet. I almost fell into this trap again, I was going to leave this and take about 4 other layers, but at the last minute I took all that out and decided I would make it or break it with this alone.
We were hiking all day in high temps and by the time we got back to camp I was soaked with sweat. Before getting too cold I immediately put on my LS Smartwool shirt and this jacket. It breathes nicely so I was not uncomfortable while it was still 60* but I started getting nervous as the temps were steadily falling and all I had was this jacket and hood (no beanie) and my smartwool base. As it cooled off I was slowly zipping up and then the hood went up then cinched the bottom. It wasn't until my legs started getting cold that I looked at our thermometer and it leveled off at about 25* and I was still comfortable. I was thoroughly impressed that I was still warm. This will be my go to for cold temps without doubt. Sorry I am getting long winded I am just stoked on this jacket.
A couple of quick points:
1. With a Smartwool Base I was warm @ 25* (quick add to note that this was sitting around)
2. The provided carry sack is nice but with the use of a quality stuff sack I got it down to about the size of a cantelope melon.
3. The material that lines the collar and hand warmer pockets is amazinly soft.
4. The mesh liner pockets are ampley sized to keep your mittens and beanie close to your body and warm when they are not needed.
The only con that I can think of is that there isn't much of a season for me to need it in Southern California. Actually, I think the only real criticism is the wrist velcro seemed a little weak.