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2005 Lightweight Down Jackets Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
2005 Lightweight Down Jackets Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview on 12/20/2005 22:41:51 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

2005 Lightweight Down Jackets Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Skaha Plus va va voom on 12/20/2005 22:58:11 MST Print View

The Skaha Plus will be part of my 2006 Nunatak aquisition quota. Make that the only item I'll be able to afford to get from Nunatak next year.

Truly a case of getting what you pay for.

Jonathan Marshall

Locale: Bay Area
Moonstone Lucid on 12/21/2005 13:07:31 MST Print View

How does the Moonstone Lucid down sweater ($160, 11 oz) compare in terms of loft and other performance characteristics?

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Include DIY kits... on 12/22/2005 10:16:20 MST Print View

Next time you do a round-up have your DIY boys build one of the kits over at and include them. I'd like to see them compared head-to-head with the commercial gear.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
MoonStone Lucid on 12/22/2005 10:20:14 MST Print View

Jonathan -

We did not have a Moonstone Lucid to include in our review summary, so I can't make any direct statement about its loft or performance. We will try to look at the Lucid in the next few months, including a review and measurements statistics.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: DIY kits on 12/22/2005 10:22:35 MST Print View

That's a good idea. It would be nice to see how a DIY garment built by a moderately skilled person compares with the commercial products. We'll consider that in future review summaries.

Thomas McDonald, MD
(mc1donald) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
more jackets for consideration on 02/13/2006 00:30:26 MST Print View

in reviewing what's out there for under $200 and under 1 lb, I've also come the jackets listed below. Has anyone had any experience with any of them? Ryan Jordan's blog commented favourably on the Cloudveil.
--Montbell Alpine down jacket: "box" construction, 6oz of 725 down; no hood; 15 oz
--Cloudveil Bivouac jacket- hooded; sewn-thru; 650-fill, 15 oz
--Moonstone Lucid jacket: 800-fill; sewn-thru, no hood; 10.5 oz;
--OR Trance sweater: sewn-thru; 700-fill; no hood; 15.4 oz.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: more jackets for consideration on 02/13/2006 01:32:37 MST Print View

Own a size medium Montbell Alpine Down jacket. Purchased it just to have a nice looking warm jacket for non-active winter pursuits: birding - day and night. Features, fit, and finish are exceptional. This jacket is so very warm. Winter has been warm this year, but some wee hours in December had sub +5 deg F mornings. Jacket kept me very warm with no activity. Forget about using it for anything that gets the blood pumping - it would cause a great deal of sweating, IMHO.

My only complaint about the jacket (and I knew this going in) is that it lacks a hood. Any garment with this much insulation should really be a parka with a hood, or a shorter length hooded-jacket. I don't ski, so maybe that is an application for a very well-insulted hoodless jacket. It might have an application for Alpine (not Nordic) sking - though it might be too warm for some downhill ski areas.

The only other thing to mention is that you'll look like a Pillsbury Pop'n Fresh Doughboy or a Stay-Puff Marshmellow man wearing this thing. It is very "poo-fy". Figure that it has almost as much down as in a WM Highlite short sleeping bag (7oz vs 6oz for the jacket), but it's all in just a jacket's dimensions. The down really lofts in this thing. And while only 6oz of down, for example, the sleeves' outer diameter rivals my 25yr old Eddie Bauer Kara Koram parka (supposedly good to -40deg F, double-layer offset box quilt - used infrequently over the years, so down is still pretty clean and lofts well, almost like new).

Edited by pj on 02/13/2006 01:34:47 MST.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Lightweight Down Jackets on 02/13/2006 13:18:57 MST Print View

I have owned the Montbell UL Inner Jacket for a while now and have used it down to about 25 degrees and been fairly warm with an Icebreaker wool 190 long sleeve shirt under it and my dragonfly windshirt on top. Recently, I also purchased at a steep discount the matching Montbell UL vest with a placket front with snaps about 10 inches down the front. By combining these two items at a total weight of 12.72 oz (size Large), I have created a very warm dual layer parka that has kept me warm sitting around a high Sierra Camp at about 20 degrees. I have not had it lower but could easily imagine it keeping me warm into the teens. Throw a Raindrop top over that and I know it would keep me warm in any three season conditions. This system also provides sleeping and warmth flexiblity. Anyone else tried the vest/jacket combination?

Thomas McDonald, MD
(mc1donald) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Lightweight Down Jackets on 02/14/2006 00:41:54 MST Print View

I too have the Montbell UL Inner Jacket but with the Thermawrap vest. Under my shell, etc, fine at rest into the mid-20's for me. And if colder, I've added my Driclime jacket as a middle layer. Probably not as warm as the down/down combo!

If I could have a "do over" now ($'s aside), I might lean toward a light down vest + the new UL Thermawrap jacket...

(drewstricklin) - F
Re: Re: more jackets for consideration on 12/15/2006 21:09:57 MST Print View

I also have a Montbell Alpine Down. It uses box construction so no cold spots, and as mentioned by PJ, the loft is pretty ridiculous. Would certainly benefit from a hood, and at 15 oz. isn't the lightest around. I'll admit to coveting the Nunatek, but my wallet is one area in which I don't mind carrying a little extra weight. I get Montbell's Japanese prices here in Hong Kong and at $120 there's not much to complain about. God knows there are enough tailors around this place so a snap on hood may just be $20 and a bit of effort away. I compared it to the Golite and it was significantly loftier and only an ounce heavier. Even at $170 back in the States, I'm not sure there's anything in the review much better. Not $155 better anyway. The box construction does give the jacket a flat surface that doesn't help the marshmallow look any. I bought one for my rather petite girlfriend as well, and she was a tad underwhelmed by its fashion potential. Her reaction: "Well, I can wear it in America, I guess. Everyone's fat there."

Edited by drewstricklin on 12/15/2006 21:14:33 MST.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Skaha Plus va va voom on 12/16/2006 07:40:57 MST Print View

My work took me up to the Methow River, a mere 30 miles from the Twisp area where I inadvertly found myself wandering around looking for Nunatek,[they are not listed in the local phonebook]. A quick trip to the local library and a moment with their computer yielded phone number and address, which caused a driveby forcing my cellphone to dial which led to a physical googling of products whilst chatting up Tom which forced my checkbook to be released from lockdown. A flurry of measurements occured and the wheels of industry were set in motion for a Skaha Plus. There is nothing like a handcrafted product from beautiful intelligent people. When a cold snap hit soon after Tom called telling me he would personally deliver it to me via succesion of bakeries south. I assured him I would never ever wear this for work and didn't have a trip planned so he mailed it to me instead. Of course I haven't taking it off since well except to convince my spouse it was lingerie, big puffy beautiful lingerie... but that is another story I shan't tell here.