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Cheap Down Jackets Any Good?....
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dav rt
(dr150) - F
Cheap Down Jackets Any Good?.... on 03/07/2009 14:27:34 MST Print View

My interest is in a "stationary" jacket that gives enough warmth down to say ~0-20F standing outside for 3-4 hours with medium base layer/100 weight fleece.

I'm specifically looking at the Cabelas Down Jacket (650 fill power, 7 oz fill), LL Bean (650, 6.1 oz fill), and Eddie Bauer Yukon jacket [700, 7.7(!!) oz fill].

All these jackets are on sale/closeout.

My only concern is with the advertised reliability and actual fill weight and quality of the goose down and shell. Reviews seem to be good on the Cabelas/LL Bean website. The INSULATION level (700x7.7 large) on the EB seems to be amazing for $39.99....higher than the Montbell Alpine Down jacket (800x6oz).

I'm also looking at the Cloudveil Enclosure Hooded jacket which has 200g of Primaloft and Mammut Stratus Hooded jacket (240g synthetic fill)......Would these jackets compete in warmth with a good down jacket?

Any advice on the above options would be great.

Edited by dr150 on 03/07/2009 14:36:10 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Cheap Down Jackets on 03/07/2009 16:39:00 MST Print View

I'm sorry that I don't have an experience with these particular jackets but here's a thought. Before you spend even that much I'd check goodwill. I have a 20 oz down jacket that only cost $5.
If you're going to be truly stationary for 3-4 hours that sounds a bit light. In my 20 oz jacket and fleece I was cold sitting for an evening at about 20 degrees.
Good luck.


Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Cheap Down Jackets Any Good?...." on 03/07/2009 16:55:27 MST Print View

Yes, Luke is right. I've seen really nice duck down jackets at thrift stores for $20-$40. In fact I used to own one but I grew out of it. Don't buy it if it looks like it doesn't have any loft left.

All the jackets I've seen at Goodwill have been relativily heavy but they might be worth it if you're on a budget.

hope this helps


Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Cheap Down Jackets Any Good?.... on 03/07/2009 18:05:16 MST Print View

Hi David,
No experience with your selections, but I am a fan of cheap warm jackets! Those may keep you warm at 20F but I will say that I'm not sure there is enough insulation in there to keep you warm at 0F. I definitely wear something with more insulation at those temps (10-15 oz of high fill), so just make sure you can get away with it. Of course, everyone is different...

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Cheap Down Jackets Any Good?.... on 03/07/2009 22:30:33 MST Print View


I tested a size XL of an earlier version of the Cablea’s Down Jacket in my lab. It cost approximately $50 on close-out, about this time of the year but a few years back. It is the 1.1 oz nylon shelled version with a nylon hood that rolled into the collar. It weighs 24.8 oz (XL). The size XL is comparable to size L in most other jackets. The jacket length only comes to waist height. It has sewn through construction, and a maximum loft of 1.5”. There was no effective DWR on the outer fabric. Cabela’s didn’t list the fill amount. Where did you find the fill amount for this year’s model?

Since the Montbell Alpine Down Jacket is one of the jackets you are considering, I will provide the warmth relative to that jacket. The 24.8 oz Cabela’s tested 75% warmer than the 17.8 oz XL Montbell Alpine Down Jacket. My test results indicate that it is filled with a down density significantly above the minimum 650 density to achieve 1 ½” loft. I just looked at their Web site for this year’s model and it has 68 reviews with the average being 4.4/5. This would match my subjective assessment of the jacket.

Of the jackets I have tested, the best in class for warmth comparable to the Cabela’s Down Jacket, was achieved by the New Balance Fugu down jacket. Although listed as size large, it has the same approximate torso dimensions as the XL Cabela’s Down Jacket. In addition, the New Balance Fugu has extended coverage to cover the seat area and an excellent DWR for a weight of 14.4 oz. The New Balance Fugu tested the same in warmth as the Cabela’s Down Jacket but at ½ the weight of the Cabela’s.

Based on my tests, I would expect that other vendor's down jackets, with specifications similar to the older model Cabela’s, should satisfy your warmth criteria and $ criteria. The weight penalty will be approximately 2x that of a comparable warmth jacket designed for UL backpacking.

Regarding your second question, neither the Cloudveil Enclosure Hooded jacket (200g of Primaloft One) or Mammut Stratus Hooded jacket (240g synthetic fill) will compete in warmth with a good down jacket. Primaloft One is close to the best possible synthetic insulation available. My lab tests have shown that, after quilting in a garment, Primaloft One as well as most of the other synthetic insulations achieve, on average, approximately ½ of the insulation vendor’s specified clo value. The vendors spec for 200g Primaloft One is 5.04 clo. Most garments, built with that insulation, will average approximately 2.5 clo. By contrast, the Cabela’s down jacket, I tested, had more than double this insulation value.

Edited by richard295 on 03/08/2009 10:31:14 MDT.

Huzefa Siamwala
Re: Re: Cheap Down Jackets Any Good?.... on 03/07/2009 23:48:36 MST Print View

Very interesting info., Richard.

I think that makes PL sport the best synthetic insulation for outerwear. Since quilting requirement is 2sqft, seam stabilization technique is sufficient. This allows 200g PL sport to achieve is potential of 4.74 clo.

Unlike Climashield, it compresses better, is softer, drapes well, and its siliconized fibers are more water resistant making Sport the best choice for clothing.

Edited by huzefa on 03/07/2009 23:50:02 MST.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Cheap Down Jackets Any Good?.... on 03/08/2009 11:01:23 MDT Print View


I tested the OR Neoplume, which uses Primaloft Sport insulation. It tested with a similar "synthetic below specification ratio".

I need to test the insulation of garments before they are constructed and then test them after construction using various assembly options. I don't anticipate getting around to this task until much later in the year. Until then it is an unsolved mystery for me.

Huzefa Siamwala
PL Sport on 03/08/2009 14:47:03 MDT Print View

keep us posted, Richard. I really wonder why bpl used PG delta in cocoon. there is an article online where Ryan explains his choice of PG over pl1 but he doesnt mention any testing of prototype of sport.

Edited by huzefa on 03/08/2009 14:52:54 MDT.

David Loome
(DavidLoome) - F

Locale: American Southwest
cabelas=awesome on 08/20/2009 18:27:33 MDT Print View

I have the Cabelas jacket. Weighs 17 oz. in size small. Nice and puffy, works great, love it.

Not as light for it's warmth as a WM or soemthing, but this jacket is an OUTSTANDING value. I saw a North Face down jacket at a local outfitter with nearly identical specs, (shell fabric, down fill power, zipper, weight) going for $160.