Exploring the Washington Coast in KÜHL Firestorm Down Parka

Product Reviews Social Style Trip Reports By Pacific North Wanderers

As we often do, we recently planned a weekend trip to a specific spot, and then we researched other nearby areas of interest. We wanted to go to the coast. There's ample coastline in Washington, and we set our sights on the the Westport area.

The weather called for a mix of wind, snow, hail, rain and slush so we dressed appropriately. Brandon wore his Arktik Jacket, and I pulled on my Firestorm Down Parka. Warm and shielded against the forces of nature, we were ready to go. This was the first real test of my new parka.

A person in KUHL men's hiking clothing walking down a beaten path through a forest
Hitting the trail in KÜHL Firestorm Down Parka

KÜHL Firestorm Down Parka Product Review

Our first stop was a bit outside of Aberdeen at Bottle Beach State Park, a 75-acre, day-use park. Designated by the Audubon Society as an official Washington State Birding Trail, we followed the ADA accessible boardwalks through a slough to the shoreline of Gray’s Harbor. This area is the site of the ghost town, Acosta By the Sea, a terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad.

A mix of snow and hail pelted us the entire length of the path, but it was a peaceful walk.The water resistant fabric on the Firestorm Parka kept me dry, while the down fill kept me warm. Small birds flitted in and out of the underbrush along either side of the trail. It was a great place to stretch our legs and take in some sights.

A snow covered edge of a wooden pedestrian bridge
Snow covers boardwalks at Bottle Beach State Park

Our next stop was Westhaven State Park and Westport Light State Park. In 2016 the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission combined these two parks, but they still exhibit separate signs. The Westhaven portion is girded by a jetty and is popular surfing destination. A high, crumbling dune cliff stands opposite the lapping ocean.

To our delight, each time we’ve visited this beach, it has been decorated generously with sand dollars. As a person who loves to beach comb, this park is a wonder. The wind was brisk, and the precipitation was wetter now, more of a sleet and rain mix. The Firestorm's 5-panel hood saved the day!

We explored a bit, admired the sea oats and moody skies over the ocean and played chase with the ever sneaky waves. My women's outdoor jacket's extended inner cuffs with thumb holes allowed me to have free use of my hands, while still staying warm.

A woman in KUHL women's winter hiking jacket standing on a shore on a cold day, holding sea shells
Extended cuffs with thumb holes keep Stacy's hands warm while she beach combs for sand dollars at Westhaven State Park

It began to rain, so we headed to our vehicle and made our way to the Westport Light side of the park. The weather started to clear a fraction, and the sun peeked out. A paved walkway to a wooden overlook gave us a lovely view of the beach ahead and a squint of the Lighthouse behind us. The clouds were swirling around the partially obscured sun like a Van Gogh painting. It was beautiful but still windy and cold. We took a few photos, then headed to the next park.

A landscape image of a sunny day, full of greens and yellows
Lighthouse at Westport Light State Park

The weather turned nasty. High winds, hail, and snow greeted our arrival at Twin Harbors State Park. We waited in the Jeep for the weather to clear, but it persisted. Knowing we still wanted to get to Grayland State Park, we opted to save a visit here for a nicer day. On to Grayland we went.

Grayland State Park is a beautifully maintained 412-acre park with campsites, yurts, trails and oceanfront. As we drove around the loops to the shoreline trail, the weather cleared. The recent wet weather made most of the forested trail a large puddle. We carefully made our way past the trees and to the shore. What a beautiful view! The sun was peeking through the clouds and reflecting off the water. Surrounding us were tidal pools and marine vegetation. An eagle passed by overhead; this was bliss. We lingered as the sun descended toward the horizon.

A landscape image of a cloudy sky reflecting on a muddy pool of water.
Setting sun reflects off the water at Grayland State Park

Wearing the right gear made all the difference on our trip. Stylish and surprisingly lightweight for a heavy-duty women's jacket, the KÜHL Firestorm Down Parka retails for $499 and didn't disappoint as the versatile outer layer I needed for the unpredictable elements along the coast.

Superior fabrics that are both warm and lightweight, a front zipper that disappears when zipped, extended cuffs, the length that hits below the waist and even the logo detail on the front zipper pull are just a few of the reasons I love my new parka.

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Pacific North Wanderers