Possibly the most conveniently available down jacket ever…but is that convenience worth it?

Did you know that convenience store Family Mart, home of delicious, inventive pork buns and seasonal sweets, has a clothing brand called “Convenience Wear?” It’s gotten pretty favorable reviews, and nowadays you can often see people sporting Convenience Wear on the streets of Tokyo. Our own Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun has tried out their underwear and socks and found them to be surprisingly high-performance.

In November this year, Convenience Wear added a down jacket to their collection. Who would have ever thought you’d be able to buy a down jacket at Family Mart? But the better question is…is it any good? P.K. decided to try it out.

The Convenience Down is currently only available at select Family Mart stores in Tokyo, is unisex, and comes in two sizes: medium and large. The only color available is black, and it costs 6,990 yen (US$50).

Family Mart’s official website describes the jacket with:

“Outerwear for men and women. The fabric is made with Komatsu Matare’s top-of-the-line Dantotsu Hassui water repellant techniques . The filling is made with AIR FLAKE by Kurabo Industries, a feather-shaped material made from recycled polyester. The jacket can be hand washed at home and folded up tightly and packed away for compact carrying convenience.”

In other words, it’s not a big and puffy down jacket but rather is in the same category as Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down Jacket. Because of that, P.K. surmised that it would be a good idea to compare the Convenience Wear jacket to Uniqlo’s  Ultra Light Down, considering how popular and effective Uniqlo’s winter wear is.

So P.K. went to a Family Mart in the Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo to purchase the Convenience Down. To his surprise, there was only one left on the rack, so it might already be a hot-ticket item.

P.K. purchased a medium size, but the silhouette looked a bit on the large side. Rather than it being a close-fitting jacket, perhaps they were going for a roomier style? While P.K. was fine with this, he supposed anyone with a smaller stature would likely swim in it.

Upon trying it on, P.K. immediately gave it a passing score in terms of its effectiveness as a down jacket. Though it was overall a pretty light garment, it actually held in heat very well, and it seemed almost impervious to wind. And since it was so light, he thought you could even wear it on crisp days in spring and fall.

▼ Family Mart’s Convenience Down (left) and Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down (right)

On the other hand, the Convenience Down’s silhouette on the body was a little less than stylish by P.K.’s standards,  so he wouldn’t call it a fashionable item of clothing. Of course, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to fit, but P.K. preferred the close fit and look of the Ultra Light Down jacket.

That fit might give Uniqlo the win in terms of heat retention as well, as there’s less room for warm air to escape, and when it came to price, too, the Ultra Light Down is likely the winner, as some versions of it sell for 1,000 yen less than the Convenience Down.

The one clear advantage the Convenience Down has over the Ultra Light Down, though, is that Family Mart is open 24 hours a day. The Convenience Down is a perfectly functional jacket, so there could, for example, be a situation in which you need to buy a down jacket late at night, in which case you would likely be grateful that the Convenience Down exists.

In conclusion, P.K.’s review of the Convenience Down can be summed up in four main points:ま

● The jacket is light and functional, but preferences on the design may vary.
● In terms of price, the Ultra Light Down wins.
● But it might be useful that it’s being sold at Family Mart.
● Just to reiterate, there’s no problem at all with its functionality as a down jacket.

So there you have it. If you find yourself in need of a new down jacket at one in the morning, Family Mart’s got your back. But for other instances, it might just be better to go to Uniqlo, where you’ll probably also find awesome anime T-shirts.

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