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Updated Mont-Bell UL Down Jacket
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Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Updated Mont-Bell UL Down Jacket on 09/02/2009 14:56:44 MDT Print View

I just noticed when I went to Mont-Bell's website that their popular UL Down Inner Jacket said "new" in the corner of the picture. The jacket looks the same to me, but the weight went up from 6.9oz in a medium to 7.3oz in a medium. It still has 2oz of 800 fill down.

This is the first I have heard of a change in this jacket that is so popular here (I have one too). Could this fall into the trend of many UL manufactures making things heavier?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Interesting on 09/02/2009 15:02:49 MDT Print View

Hmm....I'll have to check this out. I was on the Montbell site 2 days ago and the weight was 6.9oz. I wonder if the parka was updated too.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Updates on 09/02/2009 15:13:36 MDT Print View

Montbell currently has both the old and new versions of the jacket and parka on their site. Cosemetically, the baffles now angle up instead of being totally horizontal.

The price of the jacket went up $5 to $150. The weight went up 0.4oz to 7.3oz and it has 0.1oz more down.

The parka went up from 7.5oz to 9.0oz and the down went from 2.1oz to 2.5oz.

The only info on the other differences is:

"Updated with a softer, quieter, less shiny face fabric the UL Down garments offer the same function and versatility without the “techie” look".

The color black has been dropped.

Montbell also added a new down jacket, the U.L. Tec Down jkt, which has more down (2.9oz vs. 2.0oz) but it weighs 11.3oz.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Differences on 09/02/2009 15:44:11 MDT Print View

The new versions also have the 100 wash rated DWR which is nice. I think these new jkts have actually already been listed in some online stores for a bit because I've seen these jkts with the new baffle look when I was shopping online in the past few days.

I like the new DWR, less shiny fabric and 0.1oz extra down. This is probably worth a 0.4oz penalty. What I dont understand is why the parka gains 1.5oz. It has 0.4oz extra down, but there's still another 1.1oz to be accounted for.

Edited by dandydan on 09/02/2009 20:20:18 MDT.

Patrick Young
(lightingboy) - F

Locale: Southwest
UL Parka on 09/02/2009 16:40:23 MDT Print View

Parka adds an adjustable waist and hood.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Differences on 09/02/2009 17:13:55 MDT Print View

Oddly the womens UL Down Inner Jacket adds .1 oz down and drops in weight from 6.3 oz to 6.1 oz.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Parka on 09/02/2009 17:18:08 MDT Print View


Edited by dandydan on 09/02/2009 20:20:53 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Differences on 09/02/2009 17:38:40 MDT Print View

I wonder if they've changed the sizing on their US line of jackets (once again). When they launched the "new" line a couple of years ago, they sized everything down one size from what it was previously (so the jackets appeared to gain a zipper and hand-warmer pockets without gaining weight). Maybe they've decided to restore their original sizing??

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
US on 09/02/2009 18:57:31 MDT Print View

That was my thought. It does say US int he title so maybe that explains the sizing and weight.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Parka on 09/02/2009 19:13:42 MDT Print View

The parka got an extra 0.4oz of down, but I don't see any explanation for the other 1.1oz.

The hem and hood on the parka is now adjustable, which is a good thing IMO. The extra weight must come from the cords and cord locks. I'm sure they haven't changed the sizing -- too confusing for customers. (Yes, they did it once, but that was to bring the sizing more in line with standard US sizes. And they did it across the entire line of garments, not just a few of them.)

Edited by ashleyb on 09/02/2009 19:14:21 MDT.

Chris Wilson
(kinkbmxco) - F
new fit on 09/02/2009 19:24:33 MDT Print View

I actually purchased a Montbell Alpinelite from e-omc a couple weeks ago. I originally was look at the UL Down Inner but was persuaded to get the warmer of the two. In any event, speaking with one of the employees there, he told me that they were in fact changing the fit of the UL down inner line. Apparently people weren't crazy about the "athletic fit" so they are going to make the them a littler looser to allow for additional layering. That just what I heard.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: new fit on 09/02/2009 19:39:30 MDT Print View

Apparently people weren't crazy about the "athletic fit" so they are going to make the them a littler looser to allow for additional layering.

Nooooooo! I hope not! There is no way I would call the down inner jacket fit "athletic". In my mind it is already loose fitting. It fits tightly around the arms, but around the torso I find there is too much room already (which is why I would like the adjustable hem).

I find that Patagonia and Icebreaker both have an athletic fit which is quite a bit slimmer than Montbell jackets.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: new fit on 09/02/2009 19:42:56 MDT Print View

"Apparently people weren't crazy about the "athletic fit" so they are going to make the them a littler looser to allow for additional layering. That just what I heard."

Well, people certainly weren't happy with the downsizing of the jackets just to give them more features at "the same weight". Still, it would be a lot less confusing if they gave us actual garment measurements instead of just XS,S,M,L,XL AND XXL. It even explicitly says sizes are based on body measurements, NOT actual garment size. I want to know garment size so I can buy based on my personal layering needs etc...

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: new fit on 09/02/2009 19:48:18 MDT Print View

It even explicitly says sizes are based on body measurements, NOT actual garment size.

Almost all manufacturers do it that way don't they? Agree that it makes it more difficult to guess for layering though.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Parka Changes on 09/02/2009 20:41:53 MDT Print View

I'm home from work now, so I can pick over the details a bit more. Here's all the info on the jkt/parka changes that I can find.

1) The description has been changed slightly to add the word 'style' in:

"The challenge: create the lightest and warmest insulation layer possible, without compromising on fit, features, or style."

This indicates they may have changed the cut of the parka/jkt.

2) The description now reads that it blocks a 'deceptive amount of wind' whereas it used to read 'amazing amount of wind'. This seems trivial

3) Hood and Hem are now adjustable as mentioned (only for parka).

4) New shell fabric that is "softer, quieter, less shiny" and that offers "the same function and versatility without the “techie” look". I'm not sure why they are hating on the 'techie look' but I do like the sound of less shiny.

4) Parka colors are olive green and rust. Black and paprika are gone.

Jacket still available in gunmetal (grey) and royal blue. Black, Paprika, Olive Green and Chestnut colors are gone.

5) New 100 wash rated Polkatex DWR vs. 'standard DWR treatment' for old jkt/parka.

6) Jacket unchanged with 2.0oz of down (I was wrong previously when I said it gained 0.1oz). Parka does gain 0.4oz of down.

7) Jacket gains 0.4oz of weight to 7.3oz. Parka gains 1.6oz of weight to rise to 9.0oz.

8) As observed in photos, the 'Montbell' logo/name is now located on the thigh instead of on the wrist.

9) The elastic edges on the sleeves and hood are now less obvious (and less elastic?)

Here's some pictures (old and then new):

MontBell Parka 2009

MontBell Parka 2010

Edited by dandydan on 09/02/2009 20:44:34 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

U.L. Down Inner Parka vs. WM Flash Jkt on 09/02/2009 20:48:44 MDT Print View

With these updates, the comparison between the U.L. Down inner parka and the Western Mountaineering Flash jkt gets a lot closer.

The Flash still has more down (3oz vs. 2.5oz) but the gap has narrowed considerably. Both garments weigh the same (9oz) but the MontBell has an adjustable hem and hood. The MontBell is also $95 cheaper ($165 vs. $260).

If price isn't an issue, then it comes down to whether you want more down or more adjustability. If price is an issue, then the Montbell is the clear winner.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Ordered on 09/02/2009 20:55:56 MDT Print View

I ordered a olive green parka in medium :)

Edited by dandydan on 09/03/2009 01:15:53 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Royal Blue / Charcoal on 09/03/2009 15:46:12 MDT Print View

There's a bit of a glitch on the Montbell website right now, but the men's parka is also available in a color called 'RB/CB' or 'Royal Blue / Charcoal Black'. The code RB/CB appears when you select a size but no color appears and you can't add it to your cart. I heard back from Montbell that this is indeed another color and it will be available as soon as the website glitch is fixed.

The color is royal blue in the main body and charcoal on the sides & underarms supposedly.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: U.L. Down Inner Parka vs. WM Flash Jkt on 09/03/2009 19:19:01 MDT Print View

Bah! I have last year's model! Great updates, takes care of every critique I have on the jacket.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

MB Down Inner Parka - Review of Updated Parka on 09/11/2009 16:40:07 MDT Print View

I got my Montbell Parka today. It's the newly revised parka in Men's size Medium. Color is Olive Green.

First off, I tried it on. I am 5'11, 160lbs and to my relief the fit is good (I hate ordering expensive clothes online). The length in the sleeves is good. Shoulders fit well and the chest is a bit roomy, but that's probably good because I only have a tee shirt on underneath.

The length of the jacket is just long enough. If you are any taller than me, I would opt for a bigger size. The only area that wasn't perfect was the waist which was a little big (photo 1) but that was easily adjustable with the new waist cinch cord. Here's a photo of the cord without the waist tightened.

MB Down Inner Waist

With the waist cinched, the fit was good. To cinch the waist you can lift up the hem near the main zip and tighten the cords, or you can tighten them by putting your hands in the front pockets and pulling on the bungie cords there. The bungie cords enter the pockets in the inner corner so you can actually tighten/loosen the waist hem without taking your hands out of the pockets. Kind of a neat feature. This is the easiest way to adjust it, but it does mean there is about 4 inches of bungie in each pocket. This probably adds a 0.1oz or so.

Notice how the length is borderline long enough. Some might prefer a longer jacket but this is normally how I wear my jackets so I'm happy with this.
MB Down Inner Back

Two more views:
Close up of Front (MB Down Inner)

MB Down Inner (Front View)

The waist adjustment is definately an appreciated feature, although I would be happy without it IF the waist was tighter. They would need to reduce the circumference of the waist by about 4-5" to fit me nicely without a cinch cord. I would be okay with this jacket as is without the cinch, but it's certainly appreciated.

The hood cinch seems less essential, but perhaps I won't feel that way when I'm caught in really cold weather. The hood fits well without any cinch if I do the zip all the way up. There is an adjustment on the back of the hood that lets you control how much 'beak the hood has. This works well.

As you can see in the second photo of the back of the jacket, there is stretchy triangles of fabric at the wrists. For me, the wrists are not tight enough to start stretching these areas, but someone with larger wrists may find this gives a nice seal.

Now for the exciting much does it weigh? On my scale, the parka without fabric tags removed weighs 242g or 8.52oz. Montbell claims 9oz for size medium, so my parka is about 1/2 oz under spec, which I guess is good.

The supplied stuff sack weighs 7g (0.25oz) and is a good fit. It matches the color of the jacket which is nice. The size of the parka stuffed is slightly bigger than a rolled NeoAir. It seems about as long as a 1L Nalgene, but a bit thinner.

Using a digital caliper, I measured the loft of one of the chest baffles at 1.1" or 28mm....pretty good! This is the loft at the peak height of the baffle. There is a bit of variation between baffles, but the main baffles all seem to be between 3/4" to 1.1".

Edited by dandydan on 09/11/2009 16:46:32 MDT.