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PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review on 01/26/2010 13:10:32 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review on 01/26/2010 15:40:34 MST Print View

I also find the fit of the Minimus pullover to be very good. Less boxy than the Montbell Ex Light, and better for layering than the more athletically cut Skaha. However, for the weight I still prefer the Skaha by a large margin, and since the Skaha is basically a custom piece of gear, you can have it made wider/longer/more or less down etc...to suit layering or body size differences. However both are great bits of gear, and if I lived in the UK, I would definitely buy locally over imported.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review on 01/26/2010 18:30:50 MST Print View

Great review Will. But, I can't imagine why I would ever buy the jacket when I can get the Montbell UL Down Inner Jacket, often on sale. Montbell blows it away in value at just over $100.

Edited by jshann on 01/26/2010 18:31:31 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review on 01/26/2010 18:44:20 MST Print View

"I can't imagine why I would ever buy the jacket when I can get the Montbell UL Down Inner Jacket,"

The PHD is significantly warmer than the MontBell...1.8oz of down versus ~4.5oz for the PHD in size medium.

Edited by retropump on 01/26/2010 18:46:22 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review on 01/26/2010 19:39:06 MST Print View

Will
More puffy jackets..
I liked the idea of the hood in my WM Flash but now I am not so sure.
Good info, as usual.

Is that a Mirage 1p behind you ?
Franco

Julian Thomas
(jtclicker) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review on 01/27/2010 00:49:16 MST Print View

when comparing down jackets you really need to compare like for like, so the quality of down fill in this is as good as it gets - note the 900 fill is EU fill power, not the US version.
I'm also now looking at the flight or flash trousers. for those in the uk,http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk will be stocking these from March onwards

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review on 01/27/2010 01:51:13 MST Print View

> note the 900 fill is EU fill power

Are you sure? I do not now how to convert between the two, so I googled and found a Rab Womens Neutrino Endurance listed as "white goose down with fill power 750 EU 850 US."

I also found a Q&A place that said "you need to make sure you're comparing like with like as EU and US standards differ - for example 750+ EU fill power down is 850+ under the US standard."

If the EU is a smaller number than the US number, then 900 EU would be out-of-sight in US numbers (1,000 or so).

-- Bob

Edited by blean on 01/27/2010 01:52:00 MST.

Julian Thomas
(jtclicker) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review on 01/27/2010 02:06:04 MST Print View

well a quick google showed this..
http://www.upandunder.co.uk/eshop/catalogue/manufacturer.asp?Activity_ID=27&Description_ID=24

This is the ability of the down to loft (ie its ability to resist compression) and the higher the Fill Power value the better the quality of the down. To calculate the Fill Power a set weight of down is compressed by a specific weight and the volume it takes up under this condition measured. The actual measure is a minimum that must be attained by the down so the values have a + figure at the end. There are two measures of fill power to be aware of: European and US. We have stated European measures next to our down clothing and sleeping bags, but here are some comparisons to help you: 560+ European equates to 610+ US, 660+ European equates to 725+ US and 750+ European equates to 850+ US.

and this

http://www.crux.uk.com/en/crux_sleepingbags_polishdown.php

Although the basic method of measuring fill power is consistent, there is no actual universal standard. Most down products are currently rated according to one of two systems, one European (the Lorch Fill Power standard recommended by the Swiss-based International Down and Feather Laboratory) and one American. Both systems measure fill power in cubic inches. The higher the number (i.e. the greater the volume), the greater the ability to trap air.
500–600 EU (530–640 US) Acceptable quality for mid-market products
600–700 EU (640–745 US) Minimum quality for performance products
700–800 EU (745–850 US) Excellent quality, best performance/price ratio
800+ EU (850+ US) Outstanding quality, limited availability, high price

And finally this from PHD
http://www.phdesigns.co.uk/techdown6.php

PHD's Down

PHD have expanded the range of downs we use from two to three with the introduction of our exceptional 900 quality down. All three downs, 700, 800 & 900 are European goose downs, the best of their kind, backed by our own almost fifty years of experience in the trade as well as by our own Lorch test machine....
Remember that our figures are based on the standard Lorch test as approved by the International Down and Feather Bureau. These figures are roughly 4% more conservative than US Federal tests, as quoted by some other manufacturers.

Edited by jtclicker on 01/27/2010 02:37:59 MST.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Amount of down? on 01/27/2010 02:59:05 MST Print View

Where did you get the figure, '4.5 ounces of down' from, Lynn?

Matthew Dunn
(Boddunn) - F

Locale: Kirby Muxloe
VAT on 01/27/2010 07:42:26 MST Print View

A small point; VAT increased back up to 17.5% in January in the UK saving you a whopping 2.5%! That's a saving of £4.65!
Just waiting for my Ultra Down Vest to turn up, can't wait!

Greg Letts
(gletts) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
900 fill on 01/27/2010 07:45:26 MST Print View

looks like a great piece...my understanding is that for down over 800 the birds have undergone a "live pluck". Can't stand for that.

Julian Thomas
(jtclicker) - F
Re: 900 fill on 01/27/2010 07:54:10 MST Print View

from the phd site

In view of the recent concerns raised about the plucking of down from live birds, PHD can reassure its customers categorically that all the downs we use come from dead birds and none of it is live plucked.

Greg Letts
(gletts) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
live pluck on 01/27/2010 08:49:54 MST Print View

good to hear - like the jacket even better!

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
down rating inflation on 01/27/2010 08:54:05 MST Print View

Of course, new geese haven't been invented. It must be that improved down quality reflects improved methods of sorting--fewer feathery bits, larger, springier clusters (possibly from older birds?--does anyone know more about this?)

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Hood comments on 01/27/2010 11:47:03 MST Print View

PHD will in fact do custom work (and quite quickly): a year ago I asked them to do a pocketless Ultra Vest with the stud on hood that is normally only available for this pullover.

It's a pity this review didn't take a look at the hood, which is an optional add on. I found it a weakness compared to the rest of the vest (which was otherwise excellent, just like the jacket seems to be): it didn't close tightly enough around the face/head, and has no mechanism for being tightened. So when sleeping with the hood in a quilt/hoodless bag, it wasn't snug enough and you lost warmth. Wearing it in windy conditions would have also been problematic. I did let them know about my experience, they may have improved the design since, but as a result I sold the vest on.

Also, I did find the vest sizing quite large (mine was M) compared to similar items from Montbell, Patagonia, Nunatak. As a jacket it perhaps wouldn't have been an issue, but an overly big vest isn't good.

Re: Montbell, I think the proper jacket to have for comparison would have been the Alpine Light (parka or jacket), surely?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Fill power on 01/27/2010 12:56:31 MST Print View

According to PHD website, "These figures are roughly 4% more conservative than US Federal tests, as quoted by some other manufacturers."

I think you'll find any difference between a US 850+ and PHDs 900 fp (which they rate at plus or minus 3%) is pretty minimal, and wouldn't be the basis of my decision making.

Mike, the 4.5oz of fill was interpolated by Richard Nisley. He calculated the amount of fabric that was needed to make the shell, plus the few other bits and bobs such as zippers and trim, and was left with 4.6oz for the down.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Fill power on 01/27/2010 13:45:40 MST Print View

Lynn,

I just relooked at my PHD file and my data shows only 3.69 oz fill for the Ultra. I think my earlier post listing 4.5 oz of fill was for the Minimus.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Fill power on 01/27/2010 13:51:27 MST Print View

Cheers Lynn.
Are those figures an educated guess Richard, or direct from PHD? Some manufacturers seem to overfill, and others underfill.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Fill power on 01/27/2010 13:59:39 MST Print View

"I think my earlier post listing 4.5 oz of fill was for the Minimus."

Hmmm, so that would mean the Ultra has ~10% higher fill power, but ~20% less total down. Depending on differences in cluster size and down:feather ratio (which we don't know), this mean the Ultra may be ~10% less warm than the Minimus?? Of course, this is all based on approximate calculations rather than any definitive numbers. It would be a lot more user-friendly if PHD would supply this information like all the other cottage manufacturers.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Re: Re: Re: Fill power on 01/27/2010 15:03:29 MST Print View

In October I emailed PHD on the difference between the Minimus and Ultra, their reply:

"The main difference is that the ultra is filled with 900 down making it a
much lighter weight jacket, it has been designed with mountain marathons in
mind where weight really is an issue.
The Minimus and ultra are both the same in terms of warmth. The ultra collar
does not have the fleece inner as the idea is to keep weight to an absolute
minimum."