On a particularly chilly South Texas day a few weeks ago, I realized that I was woefully unprepared for cold weather riding this winter! Obviously we’re more known for our heat waves than our cold fronts, but that really just means that I find myself with an inadequate supply of warm layers to ride in on those days when the temperature dips. I have an older Ariat puffy coat that I bought on a huge sale at Rolex several years ago, and while I love it, it does lack a few qualities that I’d prefer in a riding jacket. The front pockets are small, not big enough to hold a current iPhone, the sleeves are a bit tight and the whole thing is a little bulky overall. It’s also purple, which I love and is most of the reason that I bought it, but it does demand a certain… neutrality of the rest of your clothes!
So with that said, I decided to go on the hunt for a new riding jacket! I looked through a number of options, but I ultimately decided on this navy Ariat coat based on it’s design and the positive reviews it had garnered.
My favorite thing about this coat might be the abundance of pockets that don’t add any bulk to the silhouette while it’s worn. The two front vertical pockets are obvious, but what isn’t completely obvious from a photo are the pockets behind those pockets! As someone who finds herself with her hands in her pockets fairly often, I was delighted when I realized this upon trying the jacket on. The front pockets are plenty big enough to hold a phone, some horse cookies or a mane pulling comb (you know, the usual), but the position is a little awkward to put your hands in. There is a fifth (!) pocket on the chest, to the left of the main zipper which is also big enough to fit a large phone. Usually I find that these pockets are too small to actually be of use for anything, but I love to keep my phone (iPhone XR for size reference) in this pocket while I’m riding or working in the barn so I can listen to music or podcasts on my phone without having to use headphones. The best part about all these pockets is that you can actually use them to keep things in, and they’re deep enough that it doesn’t make your whole jacket bulky and lumpy.
Another awesome feature of this jacket is the vents in the back to make it equally comfortable on the ground and in the saddle. You can keep them zipped while you’re on your feet to keep the jacket fitted, and unzipped while you’re riding to give you a little extra flexibility and range of motion.
Lastly, this jacket is seriously warm without sacrificing a low profile. It absolutely does not feel bulky or puffy but it keeps me perfectly comfortable with only a single layer underneath. If you live somewhere where it actually gets cold, unlike our version of Texas cold, you might add a few more layers underneath, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the performance of this jacket.
There are only two things that I would consider changing about this jacket. First, the vertical front pockets do stick out a bit from the design of the jacket as a whole. They don’t continue the same quilted pattern, so they aren’t as seamless as I’d prefer. The second is that the collar seems to fall in between a regular collar and one where you’d expect it to have a hidden hood that could be rolled out. It’s pretty tall, and while not overly bulky, I wish it was all the way one or the other.
Overall, I’m thrilled with this jacket and can wholeheartedly recommend it, whether you’re still looking for a last minute winter wardrobe addition for this year, or want to get a jump on next year by snagging it on sale!