Is Aerogel in L.L. Bean’s Packaway Jacket the World’s Best Lightweight Insulation?

November 25, 2019
packaway jacket
Courtesy of NASA via Flickr Commons and L.L. BeanL.L. Bean’s new Packaway Jacket contains aerogel—a nearly weightless material engineered for NASA by Peter Tsou—as an insulation.

Aerogel is a nearly weightless super-insulator, used by NASA in satellites and other space technology. A commercial version, Primaloft Gold Aerogel, first hit the outdoor gear market in 2017 as a synthetic and ultra-warm insulation. L.L.Bean had exclusive rights to use it during its first year of release, notably in the company’s Packaway Jacket ($169, hooded $189; llbean.com), although now it is commonly used by many outdoor brands. This season L.L. Bean is offering an upgraded version that includes a waterproof outer shell, multiple fleece-lined pockets, and a longer length for more coverage.


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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.