At a Glance
Men’s jackets with iPod integration.
We’ve covered a good number of garments with built-in iPod controls — “iPod apparel,” if you will. Of those, JanSport has generally offered the best of the lot, and the new Power Jacket and Power Hoodie are the best yet. Both jackets are made of a stretchy, water-resistant outer shell (polyester/nylon/Elastane) with fleece lining, and provide a snug, active fit and attractive designs. The main difference between the two garments is that the Power Jacket has a zip-up collar while the Power Hoodie has a fleece-lined hood. Their hand pockets are also slightly different; the Jacket features vertical-zippered pockets, whereas the Hoodie’s pockets are the non-zippered style traditionally found on hoodies.
Both jackets feature a Velcro-closure pocket on the inside left side; your dockable iPod goes in this pocket and connects to a dock-connector cable and a standard headphone miniplug. Although there isn’t much protection for your iPod from the inside, your iPod is shielded from the outside by the jacket’s own exterior, which is, again, water-resistant and somewhat padded. Near the chest, also on the interior left side, is another pocket containing a small, plastic module that connects to the jacket’s built-in controls and also provides a headphone jack. You plug your headphones into this jack; an elastic loop near the neck of the jacket keeps your headphone cable from hanging down in front. (You can also store excess cable in the chest pocket.)
Finally, on the front of the jacket, on the left chest next to the jacket’s front zipper, is JanSport’s LiveWire control panel. The five-button pad — Forward, Back, Volume Up, Volume Down, and Play/Pause — lets you control your iPod without having to take it out of the pocket. The buttons are easy to press, and because they’re physical buttons — rather than the touch-sensitive controls used by some other iPod apparel — you don’t have to worry about accidentally pressing them or having to fiddle with “lock” modes. You can even use them with gloves on.
Although these jackets aren’t warm enough for extreme-cold conditions, they’re perfect for cooler weather, and are comfortable enough for active wear. The control pad works well and is in a convenient location, and unlike JanSport’s earlier attempts at iPod jackets, which held your iPod in a bulky-looking chest pocket, the Power Jacket and Power Hoodie put your iPod in a comfortable waist pocket. As iPod-controlling garments go, JanSport got the design right here.–Dan Frakes