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hood or no hood down jacket
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Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
hood or no hood down jacket on 01/13/2010 09:14:36 MST Print View

I'm looking to buy a new down jacket and am thinking I would like one with a hood.

I currently have a Marmot down jacket without a hood. Under my Marmot goretex shell, it doesn't see the light of day unless it is colder than -10F. Way too warm and heavy for most of my uses.

I have been eyeing the Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka and I like the idea of a hood. Any reason I would not want a hood?

It's use would be for around town in most MN winter weather as well as backpacking trips where I would not expect to see temps go below 0F. It would also be used as supplemental insulation for my sleeping bag system.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: hood or no hood down jacket on 01/13/2010 10:28:44 MST Print View

hoods are a very efficient way to warm your head. if you like the hood, you should buy the parka. i have seen and played with the parka you are referring to and it is very nice. i don't think you would be disappointed with that purchase.
personally i don't like wearing hoods because they don't move with my body as well as a hat. but that's just my preference. which is why i have stayed with my patagonia down sweater.

just my .02

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: hood or no hood down jacket on 01/13/2010 10:42:20 MST Print View

Yeah, hoods have their pluses and minuses. On the positive side, as Jeremy said, hoods are extremely efficient and add more warmth than a hat. On the other hand, they cut down on the peripheral vision. Personally, I own a Cocoon Hoody, which has a hood. I use it over a (hoodless) sweater in the winter. I also wear a hat (which I use in the summer and winter). The hat and hood go together well, leaving me with lots of options.

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
Re: hood or no hood down jacket on 01/13/2010 10:43:59 MST Print View

I don't personally have any expierence with the MB Alpine Light Down Parka but from what I have read on this forum it is not sufficient for temps that low. I have been eyeing that jacket myself.

I don't like a hood for anything that will be worn while actually on the move except a rain jacket of course. Its kinda hard not to use the hood of the insulated jacket while I am using the hood of my rain jacket.

If the jacket is only worn around camp or during breaks than I think a hood is invaluable and definitely worth the extra weight.


joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
Re: Re: hood or no hood down jacket on 01/13/2010 10:57:12 MST Print View

Hoods don't get lost or blown off on windy summits either. I like the way hoods create that seal between your head and neck, much warmer in my opinion. I wouldn't be too worried about the hood being able to move with your head when you're sitting around in camp.

Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
Re: hood or no hood down jacket? on 01/13/2010 11:05:29 MST Print View

I would only wear the down jacket / parka around camp and as part of my sleep system.

I find that as long as I'm moving my layering systems doesn't need this kind of insulation. Combinations of the gear listed below keeps me warm down to about -10F (including windchill) as long as I am moving.

Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 - Lightweight Merino Wool
Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 S/S Shirt
Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 - Midweight Merino Wool
Montbell UL Thermawrap Vest
Mountain Hardwear Quark Rain Jacket

The down jacket / parka would go over this system with the rain jacket going over everything. Not sure if the Rain Jacket will fit over and if not, I will need to resort to my Marmot Goretex ski jacket.

FWIW, My bottom layering system is
Smartwool Men's Midweight Bottom
Smartwool Synergy Pants
BPL Cocoon Pro 60 Side Zip Pants

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
I had to make the same decision on 01/13/2010 11:44:32 MST Print View

My decision was directed by other gear choices. I have a Hennessy tarp that doubles as a rain cape. That dictates a brimmed hat to keep rain from running down my neck. A brimmed hat leaves my ears exposed. A hood under the hat would work, but that would result in double coverage so I use an ear band.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: hood or no hood down jacket? on 01/13/2010 13:16:33 MST Print View

Jeremy: For the system you listed, I would definitely get a hood on the jacket. Since the jacket goes over everything, it is worn when you really want to be warm. In that case, a hood is really nice. I use a similar system for winter day trips (around freezing), minus the vest: synthetic T-shirt, fleece, hat, shell and hooded jacket. On the way up, the jacket stays in the pack. Once I stop for a break, though, on goes the hooded jacket. I often ski down like that too.

I know some folks believe a hat and a hood are redundant, but I really like having both. If I'm exercising in temperatures a bit above freezing, I can get by with a hat and T-Shirt. I can stretch that some more with a sweater. Then, when it gets really cold, on goes the hooded jacket (I keep the hat on, underneath the hood).

Ralph McNall
(rumps) - F

Locale: SF Bay
Alpine Light on 01/13/2010 18:50:54 MST Print View

I got the Montbell Alpine Light Parka about a year ago and I've loved it. If there's a chance of temperatures being below 50 I bring it along. I rarely use it as an active piece but it's great in the morning until I get going and get my body heat pumping, then I pull it out on stops to make sure I don't get cold. At night with a light wool base layer I'm good sitting around camp down to 20 or so. The hood was a must for me and I leave the hat at home unless it is real winter camping. I don't know how well this will go down to 0 for you, but it has become one of my favorite pieces of gear.

Edited by rumps on 01/13/2010 18:52:48 MST.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Down Hood on 01/13/2010 19:24:51 MST Print View

The JRB Down Hood readily attaches to any jacket with a stand up collar by adding the free JRB collar mod to the jacket...Collar mod adds 5 grams... hood itself is 2 oz.


Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: hood or no hood down jacket on 01/13/2010 19:30:10 MST Print View

A down (jacket/parka) designed to be worn over everything need hood. If it lacks an insulated hood, it is a glorified midlayer (TNF Nupste) or a true midlayer (e.g. MB ExLight).

Any piece of clothing that is designed to be your exterior-most piece at any time needs a hood. Hoods are simply more efficient than a hat or balaclava ever could be.

I really, really like hoods.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
comparison on 01/13/2010 19:52:07 MST Print View

If you had to choose between the Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka with these specs: Weight (Size M):14.2 oz.
Fill Weight:4.2 oz.

And the Montbell Alpine Down Jacket with these specs: Weight: 16 oz / 460 g (size Large) Down Fill Weight: 6.0 oz

$10.00 price difference; Which would you choose?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: comparison on 01/13/2010 19:58:19 MST Print View

The Nunatak Skaha with hood and pocket.

Oh, sorry, that wasn't one of the choices ;-)

Between the two, the money doesn't factor in for me (like most things I buy). Like others above, I like hoods. I'd take the parka.

But I'd take my Skaha above them both!

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Nunatak on 01/13/2010 20:04:58 MST Print View

As my daughter would say their stuff is NASTY. ( evidently that means it's the best )

Say Doug could you loan me like $200.00? ( so I can afford all that nastiness)

Edited by obxcola on 01/13/2010 20:12:16 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Nunatak on 01/13/2010 20:21:29 MST Print View

"Say Doug could you loan me like $200.00? ( so I can afford all that nastiness)"

Then I'd be nasty!

Paul Stupkin
(samthedog) - F

Locale: Norway
Re: Re: hood or no hood down jacket on 01/14/2010 05:29:27 MST Print View

I agree with Matt Lutz. Considering the weight penalty versus the benefits, I would go with a down jacket with a hood. In fact I just did, I bought the RAB Neutrino Plus. A hood is great and I won't buy another down jacket without one. Considering the number of beanies and balaclavas I have lost, the hood makes financial sense!!


Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: hood or no hood down jacket on 01/14/2010 06:02:48 MST Print View

For Real Cold weather +1 what Matt and Paul said

That said, I just took delivery of a New Balanace Fugu (no hood). But I might not have bought it if I had stumbled on a clearanced Golite Hooded Inferno two days sooner (boo-hoo).

However, what Richard Nisley reported wearing on the recent Antarctic trip affirms another cold weather preference of mine ... a hooded hardshell sized large enough to accommodate the most insulation I'll wear. It'll be baggy and in no way stylish when on the move but it encloses a nice cozy personal micro climate when at rest. That has versatility to be comfortable at a wide range of activity and temperatures simply by varying the insulation under the hardshell.

A hat+neck_gaitor or a balaclava inside that hardshell's hood comes close to the warmth of a hooded jacket.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: hood or no hood down jacket on 01/14/2010 06:23:20 MST Print View

If I were choosing between the MB Alpine Light Down Jacket vs parka, I'd choose the parka, though I chose the jacket last year before I understood how to keep warm in the backcountry.

However, I really like the detachable hood concept. One option is to buy a jacket and then supplement it with a separate down or synthetic balaclava type hood. The con is it's unlikely your hood and jacket will match exactly, but in the wilderness, that shouldn't be a big deal. The pro (for me)is that I can use the hood seperately with my quilt when it's too warm to wear the jacket as part of my sleep system.

Ideally, I'd get a Parka like the Feathered Friends Volant or Frontpoint, or the MB Permafrost Parka that comes with a detachable hood. But for now, I'm leaning towards ditching my Alpine Light Jacket for a NB Fugu and supplementing that with a merion balaclava + my BPL UL 60 balaclava.

If I had to choose between a MB Alpine Light down parka, or a MB Alpine Down jacket, the 1st thing I'd do is sit down and write a letter to MB asking them why, oh why, do you make hooded and non-hooded version of all your jackets except the Alpine Down? Then I'd probably choose the Alpine Down and supplement it with a hood, as I'm finding that my Alpine Light jacket and my MB UL Down Inner parka are not far enough apart in temperature coverage. The first covers me down to 35 or so, the 2nd from 35 down to 15-20, maybe, whereas a heavier jacket could take me from 35 down into the single digits, and layered with the UL parka, to zero.