The National Geographic Beluga jacket is built for the most coldest of weather. With a robust, water-repellent exterior, adaptable design and a utility approach, the high-performance duck down jacket is an outstanding winter choice for modern adventurers. The design is highly functional with strategically placed pockets, lined with superb, interior warmth. As a result, the National Geographic Beluga is a worthwhile addition to your winter wardrobe to beat the harsh outdoors.
Part of National Geographic’s utility jacket line for the FW19 collection, the Beluga is available in three colours: Obsidian Charcoal, Taupe Beige and Carbon Black. With a superior fill power of 800 comprised of duck down and feathers at 80:20 ratio, the Nat Geo Beluga is both stylish as it is highly-insulating for the coldest temperatures. I’ve into my technical aesthetics as a baseline they are functional and practical. Integrated into the Beluga, the result is something that feels very refined and quality within every inch, inside and out.
When it comes to wet weather, the National Geographic Beluga is water-repellent, enough to withstand fairly heavy rain for a short period of time. Water droplets tend to brush off without a fuss, though a sustained period of heavy rain and it’ll absorb and weigh the Beluga down. Despite that, you won’t actually feel it seep through due to it’s thick, airy frame.
The style over last season’s Beluga is much more refined this season, with cleaner lines, overlapping material to hide away zippers and quick-access pockets scattered throughout, though organised and considered. After wearing the Beluga down jacket in weather consistently below zero degrees (-5 to -10 degree celsius territory), I’ve come to find it’s an extraordinarily built winter jacket that satisfies both warmth and stylistic demands.
When it comes to utility, the Beluga has it all. The outer material is robust, solid and rugged, reassuring in confidence to withstand harsh weather. It feels of a really high-quality compared to softer outer shells. Little elasticity or play; a very striking overall. A variety of zipper pockets can be found everywhere, with some hidden from plain sight. My personal opinion is that the Obsidian Charcoal is the most attractive and a nice balance between the rest of the colours. The taupe beige suits the arctic ice look, while the black looks stealthy cool. Nonetheless, charcoal is a great balance of the outdoors while ensuring it’s not going to get visibly dirty easily.
There are a four pockets inside the Nat Geo Beluga – two zipped side-access pockets around the chest area, another open pocket on the outer-layer of the left and a wide flap-top pocket towards the bottom. All very usable, offering different levels of security, reach and access. They’re well-built into the utility winter jacket and discreet, showing an excellent attention to details. The arm pocket has been a good spot for my Creative Outlier Gold charging case, while the inside chest pocket ensures my wallet is safe and only reached for when needed.
I’m wearing size 105 (XL) which offers great comfortable fit on the upper body with room to breathe further down. The hood sits nicely on the back of the shoulders and stays there, while the longer coverage towards the bottom protects you from the cold. Clean lines hiding the zip pull really add to the tactical, technical aesthetic, but that’s not to say the zippers aren’t worth writing about – they are smooth, rugged and solid in the hand thanks to long zip pulls to grab onto. The main zipper feels the best, with heavy-duty zip and track that simply glides.
I like to button up the top and leave the rest unzipped, protecting my neck from the cold while allowing me to move easier and let my body breathe. The inside is efficiently warm thanks to superior fill power using duck down mixed with with duck feather blend. The interior lining is nice to look at with a reflective upper. The general wear of the National Geographic Beluga looks and feels very premium overall. A looker among the crowd that’s for sure.
Convertible Design That Adapts
The jacket is adaptable as the weather changes. An example is the hooded fur which snaps and unzips easily along the inside. The faux fur is an acrylic kind and is most useful in very cold, snowy weather, though I tend to go without it most of the time due to preference. It doesn’t irritate or itch when worn however, transforming the look of the Beluga with added warmth to go with it.
You can even unzip the whole hood off too, leaving just the jacket for a lighter footprint on a warmer day. The hood is warm and generous inside, using covering the back of my head when not in use. A detailed tab on the pull acts as a ‘reach’ you can pull down yourself to bring it further back.
National Geographic detailing is minimal, not invasive and appealing to the eye – more subtle than other Nat Geo models and other brands which is to my liking. They tend to blend into the design which enhances the overall appeal of the jacket, though if you prefer to go without, surprisingly you can remove the arm detail. This time around, I’m quite happy to keep them all present.
Superior Storage and Utility
When zipped up, you see nothing but clean lines. It’s a single zipper with two buttons at the top of the collar and large velcro strips right to the bottom. I find them easy to secure and hold well if you use the zipper or not. The jacket covers most of my thighs, so I would have liked a dual-zipper design to customise the fit from the top and bottom for added breathability. The front chest pockets are ideal to warm and rest your hands, or through the slip-in pockets below when I’m walking.
The slip-in pockets are nicely done as they are separate from the main compartment, which is accessed from the top-flap. You can thus keep your hands warm with the furry interior polyester lining, without your items getting in the way. The experience is very seamless and feels like it was built around my natural tendencies in how I would work my way around the Beluga. Everything just falls into place.
As for size, the National Geographic Beluga is quite big and weighty due to it’s high fill power and use of rugged materials, but at the same time doesn’t look bulky. There are certainly more than enough pockets to store your phone, wallet, earphones, keys and even a small tablet if you dare to, but it means you can ditch a backpack as a result. But what if you do want to wear a backpack? That’s also no trouble either. I wore my Victorinox slim daypack over the Beluga and was absolutely fine. A little adjustment on the shoulder straps but very comfortable; no direct pressure on my back so I can go about my day like usual.
Uncompromised Style and Warmth
I absolutely love the design of the National Geographic Beluga. In my opinion, they are the most striking and attractive down jackets in their winter collection. Despite it’s footprint, walking around with the Beluga never felt bulky or cumbersome in any way. Features like the rear flap that unbuttons for unrestricted leg motion, or the cinch cords inside to tighten down the body for a sleeker, tailored fit are welcome and really useful to have. The National Geographic Beluga jacket is liberating to wear while at the same time, rewardingly warm in the bitter cold and chilling winds.
I always wanted a down jacket that didn’t sacrifice design, practicality to walk around in or utility to place my hands, store my wallet, gloves and little bits to trade-off for warm. I knew there was something out there that would not compromise in those areas and I’ve gotten very close to that with the Beluga. In reality, there’s not much National Geographic have done wrong here, if at all.
If you’re looking for a highly competent winter jacket that is practical to wear, functional to work with and most importantly, keeps you warm in the extreme kind of cold, ice or snow, then look no further. The Nat Geo Beluga is an outstanding winter down jacket is every bit worth the pricetag and an investment that will last for many years.
National Geographic Beluga
If you're looking for a highly competent winter jacket that is practical to wear, functional to work with and most importantly, keeps you warm in the extreme kind of cold, ice or snow, then look no further. The Nat Geo Beluga is an outstanding winter down jacket is every bit worth the pricetag and an investment that will last for many years.