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Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 2
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Glenn Douglas
Montbell Alpine Light Parka on 06/23/2010 14:04:23 MDT Print View

I own the MB Alpine Light Parka. Similar to the MB Alpine Light Jacket but with a hood. I do as much mountaineering as backpacking and choose the MB Parka for its hood and two internal drop pockets which will fit a 2L platypus. Useful for stopping water freezing on summit day.
I dont think any of the other jackets have this feature as standard.
I really rate the MB alpine light parka and layered it with a MB Thermawrap for Aconcagua. Both items weighed 750g.
I am currently considering a Nunatak Skaha Plus with hood and customised internal pockets and a montbell ex light. This would be around 460g for the combo.
Does anyone have experience of the MB ex light. I am concerned that the hip belt of my pack may destroy the down in the kidney area where the weight is. How does it hold up to wear and tear?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Montbell Alpine Light Parka on 06/23/2010 14:26:11 MDT Print View

"I am currently considering a Nunatak Skaha Plus with hood and customised internal pockets and a montbell ex light. This would be around 460g for the combo."

This is the combo I use in deepest winter, with a windshell thrown over the top as well. However, I would not usually wear BOTH garments AND a pack, but would probably just wear the Skaha and save wear and tear on the EX light. The Ex-light is sized to fit over the Skaha.

I agree about not counting the hood as extra warmth, as most folks who don't have a hooded jacket would be carrying something else to wear on their head, so warmth wise it should all even out. However it would only be fair to give the hooded jackets a small break for their weight, as they would obviously weigh less without the hood while providing the same torso warmth.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Hoods on 06/23/2010 14:58:03 MDT Print View

Well a fair number (most?) of the jackets tested have hooded relatives/options. RAB/PhD certainly. Matter of taste/intended use of course but seems a good use of the 30-40g invested to me :)
(Slightly odd that WM don't seem to offer options cf hoods or not actually.)

Glenn Douglas
ex lite on 06/23/2010 16:44:28 MDT Print View

I never considered layering the ex lite over. I can think of one problem in that normally i only use the "heavy" down jacket around camp and the ex lite layered over has no pockets.

Kevin Rey

Locale: Wasatch Mountains
EB First Ascent Downlight Sweater and Vest on 06/24/2010 20:28:39 MDT Print View

I recently purchased, and was able to use for the first time last week, the Eddie Bauer First Ascent Downlight Sweater. I used while camping with my Boy Scouts in the southern Wasatch Mountains of Utah. We were at about 7000 feet elevation in a small canyon. I was sleeping in my Sierra Designs Nitro 30 and was sleeping on an uninsulated, blow-up air mattress. It was unseasonably cold the first few nights we were there. The first night the temperature got down to just below 30*. I was only wearing a very thin baselayer. I was just ever so slightly chilled when laying on my back. The second night was around 25* and I wore my EB sweater. It worked like a charm! I stayed nice and warm all night. The best part is I got the EB sweater for less then a C-note with shipping and tax due to year-end clearance.

Just two days ago I purchased the same thing but in vest format. I'm sure it will be used even more than the sweater. I have an EB Yukon down vest that I use ALL the time during winter here in Utah. The Downlight vest will most likely replace the Yukon due to it's lighter weight and more compact package. I got the vest for around $70, shipped. Quite the value.

I suppose the moral of all this is to let you all know that I really am impressed with the EB down outerwear. I also would like to thank Will and Janet for their great work. I have made several wonderful purchases based on their reviews. Keep it coming!


Tony Fleming
(TonyFleming) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Patagonia Down Sweater? on 06/24/2010 20:39:44 MDT Print View

I do not see the Patagonia Down Sweater in the "state of the market report". Did it not meet the fill weight:jacket weight ratio of 35 or more, OR a loft:weight ratio of 0.1 or higher?

Great report!



Edited by TonyFleming on 06/24/2010 20:41:00 MDT.

James Schipper
(monospot) - MLife
Hoods, heat loss through head on 06/26/2010 09:35:48 MDT Print View

As Bradley stated heat loss through the head is variable depending on temperature and a persons state of hypothermia/compensatory mechanisms. Here's a link to the rest of the discussion at Wilderness Medicine.

A hypothermic person and loss about 50% of their heat through their head. Also in cold conditions if you dress appropriately and neglect to cover you head you will lose a high percentage of heat through your head relative to the rest of you body (which is covered). This is were the 80% statistic from old military experiment came from.

Since most people cover their head in some way, subtracting the weight of the hood from hooded garments or adding the weight of the alternative to the other garments would probably be the easist method of comparison.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
MEC down sweater on 06/26/2010 23:13:14 MDT Print View

Is the MEC Down Sweater going to be in the next report?
I was just looking at it in stores and @170CDN and supper puffy, it looks like it hits a nice price/weight/warmth point

Edited by nanookofthenorth on 06/26/2010 23:17:47 MDT.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
Re: Breathability/layering. on 06/30/2010 05:25:57 MDT Print View

I own an epic size M Skaha + with 1oz overfill, and my wife an S with 2 oz overfill.

Even if the down is a bit compressed when doing this i found that wearing it under my MP+ vest ( MP+ breathability is the same as event , its less waterproof but also lighter ) was warmer than without.
And my wife had the same conclusion under a rab virga vest ( event ).

So even with already a semi heavy shell ( epic ) and with some down compression, adding a windprotection helped.
As for breathability no idea, even at -10°C i wouldnt be able to hike or move much in a skaha + with 1 oz overfill it would be soon too hot. We only use them when we are static.

Edited by Fre49 on 06/30/2010 05:27:16 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Montbell EX Light loft mesurment on 08/08/2010 03:13:50 MDT Print View

Hi folks,

From reading on this report the Montbell EX Light loft measurement is 2.0" for double layer but Wills review below from 2008 gives it as only 1.5" for double, anyone have one they could measure.


Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
re: Ex loft on 08/08/2010 15:12:05 MDT Print View

My men's med is looking to be right about 1.5" double layer loft.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Ex Light on 08/09/2010 11:48:43 MDT Print View

Hi Nicholas,
Thanks for the measuring the jacket.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Why didn't you plot warmth vs loft? on 09/23/2010 23:03:10 MDT Print View

Sorry I didn't read this earlier

When I plotted warmth vs loft, there was some correlation

It seems inutuitive that loft would be the main determination of warmth and the data seems to verify this

David Stapleton
(Earmuffs) - MLife

Locale: DC/VA/MD
Awesome article again! on 10/07/2010 16:42:42 MDT Print View

Will's reviews are what initially drew me to BPL and what convinced me to purchase a lifetime membership. His, and the other informative articles on this site are absolutely the best source of lightweight backpacking information on the web. Thank you!

Now to figure out how I'm going to afford a new down jacket... blast!


Mark Primack
(Bufa) - MLife

Locale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
Move Up Feathered Friends Hyperion on 12/07/2010 15:27:28 MST Print View

The Feathered Friends jacket tested is with the heavier weight Epic fabric, putting this great jacket at an unfair disadvantage in the ratings, particularly in the Light weight ranks as well as in both ratios and possibly in the lightweight features ranks. Since all of the other jackets were compared using light fabrics, why not the FF?

Edited by Bufa on 12/08/2010 16:43:05 MST.