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Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3 on 06/29/2010 13:18:28 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3 on 06/29/2010 13:41:50 MDT Print View

Great job Will.

Thank you

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3 on 06/29/2010 13:43:31 MDT Print View

What Richard said. :-)

Also, EB First Ascent apparently has added a hooded pullover downlight to their offerings.

Scott Smith
(TrailRider) - F
Eddie Bauer on 06/29/2010 14:27:52 MDT Print View

If you're not too picky about the color, you can pick up an Eddie Bauer downlight sweater on closeout right now for 87.50 with shipping.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3 on 06/29/2010 22:12:41 MDT Print View


Is the EB hooded downlight pullover available now or is this something that is still in production?

Christopher Knaus

Locale: Northern California
Tall sizes a consideration... on 06/30/2010 10:46:04 MDT Print View

Thanks for a great series and the prior reviews.

Individual fit is a consideration in selecting such a jacket and my gangly 37” sleeve length makes this a challenge. Driven largely by the availability of TALL sizes, and supported by a prior BPL review, I recently purchased a TALL Eddie Bauer First Ascent jacket. I have been quite satisfied. (Got a great sale price online – watch the web!) Perhaps it weighed a tad more and was more “mainstream” than some of the other offerings, but my wrists are warm too! I wish more manufacturers would offer TALL sizes, but suspect market considerations will ensure “TALL” remains a niche feature.

Thanks again for the great reviews…

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3 on 06/30/2010 16:05:42 MDT Print View

Thank you, Will.

I have greatly enjoyed this excellent article and series.

p.s. editorial note: on the chart comparing fill weights it notes the down weight as being in inches, rather than ounces.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3 on 07/01/2010 19:33:28 MDT Print View

Nice series. Represents what I originally liked about BPL, broad coverage, with enough science and evidence to backup the report.

I am a little surprised that the New Balance Fugu which has been quite popular over the last few years didn't make it into the report.

It would be nice to see this type of report as a living document. With changes to products and new additions added to the report over the years rather than becoming stale.

Edited by nschmald on 07/01/2010 19:34:52 MDT.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Responses to: Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3 on 07/02/2010 12:15:57 MDT Print View

Hi all, thanks for your comments. This article was a challenge to assemble.

The NB Fugu jacket has been discontinued. Too bad, it was a great jacket.

Happy hiking,

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: EB Hooded Pullover on 07/02/2010 13:01:40 MDT Print View

I haven't seen it show up on the EB site yet but you can get it on the Whittaker Mountaineering Site.

First Ascent Downlight Hoodie

Adam Kramer
(rbeard) - F

Locale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
Re: Re: EB Hooded Pullover on 07/02/2010 13:18:13 MDT Print View

man those colors are ugly. does EB get a deal on the color fabric that no one else wants? whats up with their color choices? and i thought the 900 down special was ugly....

Gary Swanson-Davies
(garysd) - MLife
Re: Tall sizes a consideration... on 07/02/2010 18:02:12 MDT Print View

I just picked up the EB Downlight today (great sale over the 4th of July weekend) in a size XL-T. It fits GREAT! It's nice not to have to by an XXL to get the sleeve or body length I need. And the weight on my digital scale is 14 3/8 oz.

Edited by garysd on 07/02/2010 20:02:26 MDT.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 Part 3 on 07/03/2010 06:22:36 MDT Print View

I just wanted to say thanks so much for this series of articles. They obviously took a lot of work and the results show it. I really like the way the articles were broken into the 3 parts. Sometimes I want gear that fall into the extremist category (i.e. part 2), but increasingly I am finding the need for conventional light weight gear (i.e. part 3) for uses beyond getting around town, business travel, getting a great deal, etc. This series hit all my needs and makes the subscription truly valuable.

Thanks, Jamie

Andrew Dolman
loft, fill, price; which tells us more about insulating capability? on 07/04/2010 17:32:06 MDT Print View

Great series - this is the kind of in-depth review I pay for.

I decided to do a little statistical investigation of these loft, fill, price, and surface temperature data to see whether loft or fill was a better predictor of insulating capability. I compared linear models with loft, fill volume (fill weight x fill power), and price as predictors. The results were quite interesting.

Comparing models with only a single predictor each, the best model (as determined by AIC) contained loft and had an r2 value of 0.30, meaning that 30% of the variation in surface temperature could be explained by loft. Models containing only fill volume or price had r2 values of .22 and .21.

Interestingly, price added more information to a model already containing loft than did fill volume. Comparing models containing multiple predictors, the best model (as determined by AIC) contained loft and price and explained 45% of the variation in surface temperature (r2 = .45). A model with fill volume and loft explained 38%; fill volume and price 32%.

A model with all three predictors has an r2 value of 0.48, but r2 will always increase as additional predictors are included even if those predictors are random numbers so you need a way to determine whether additional predictors are statistically significant: I used AIC values.

So for this fairly small sample of 19 jackets, loft appears to be more important than fill weight/volume. This fits with what we're normally told but not with Richard Nisley's experimental evidence that down can be compressed to 40% of its maximum volume without losing thermal efficiency. I don't doubt Richard's experiments, this is an observational study and there could be lots of confounding factors. Perhaps though the down in some of these jackets (those with high fill and low loft) is compressed to less than 40% of its maximum volume and so the amount of loft allowed by the design does become important. This may not normally be the case for sleeping bags or bulkier winter down jackets.

It's interesting that price adds more information to a model already containing loft than does down fill volume. Perhaps the price charged for a jacket is a better measure of the true amount and quality of down it contains than are the specifications listed in catalogues.

Linear model results table.

Predictors df AIC dAIC r2
lm1 2 101.49 7.31 0.00
lm2 FillVol 3 98.80 4.62 0.22
lm3 Loft 3 96.73 2.56 0.30
lm4 Price 3 98.90 4.73 0.21
lm5 FillVol, Price 4 98.04 3.86 0.32
lm6 Loft, Price 4 94.17 0.00 0.45
lm7 FillVol, Loft 4 96.32 2.14 0.38
lm8 FillVol, Loft, Price 5 95.03 0.86 0.48

19 Jackets with loft, fill weight and price information (Salomon excluded as fill weight wrong).

FillVol, Loft and Price are correlated with each other but no so much as to preclude having them in the same model.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Great review! on 07/06/2010 18:23:42 MDT Print View

Excellent comparison review with easily understandable charts and graphs. Good photos too.

Now I feel much better about buying my Eddie Bauer Downlite "sweater" on sale ($103. including shipping & Nevada's 8% sales tax.)

The Eddie Bauer jacket falls mid pack or better in just about every category, which says they did a good job for their 1st try - and at a reasonable retail price, not to mention the $84. sale price!

P.S. I feel the Montane Anti-Freeze jacket represents the most technologically advanced jacket in this test due mostly to its WELDED seams that keep more heat in. It would be nice to see most other manufacturers adopt welded seams for down garments. Evidently the weld is strong despite the Windstopper laminate on the inside of the outer shell,to which it must bond.

The Gore Windstopper laminate of the Anti-Freeze is good for retaining even more heat with little added weight plus it gives a bit more resistance to water penetration (along with the welded seams). But, yes, the Windstopper laminate does cut breathability, which means perhaps a bit more body vapor is retained.

Edited by Danepacker on 07/06/2010 19:19:08 MDT.

Mark Primack
(Bufa) - MLife

Locale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
Feathered Friends Hyperion on 12/07/2010 14:24:46 MST Print View

Based on this excellent State of the Market Report and my need--I am well past 60--for lighter equipment to get me up to the alpine zone, I recently purchased a Feathered Friends Hyperion in their lightest fabric, Nanosphere. The weather's been quite cold here, so I've tested it a bit.

First, the visuals: In this fabric, FF only makes a navy/royal blue jacket. It does not have the washboard baffles that so many of the other very and ultra-light jackets have. So on the surface it does not look quite as fashionable as some of the other brands and does not visually read as a high-tech garment. That said, it appears to be very well made. The fabric is light but does not feel flimsy. Outside I noticed that it did a good job of blocking the breezes. I like having a zip inside pocket too. Nice stuff sack that stuffs and holds the jacket just right.

But I bought this for its weight(low) and warmth(high), so how does it shape up? I just put it on the scale--it is an extra large: 12.7 ounces!. I laid it out on the floor with my Patagonia Downsweater, my RAB Microlight vest and my buddy's LLBean 850 Down Sweater. The Hyperion has to be at least 50% more lofty than the other three garments, maybe even more.

Wearing a mid-weight top, I took the Hyperion outside along with my Downsweater and my friends LLBean jacket to see how comfortable the three were in the twenties with a modest breeze. I could feel the cold coming in within 10-12 minutes with the Pata and the Bean and within 15 minutes, I was definitely feeling the chill. The FF was so much warmer that I ended up sitting outside with it for my afternoon coffee for 40 minutes of so, and still no chill.

Conclusion: the FF Hyperion seems to be two notches above at least some of its competitors in terms of warmth and, based on my weighing of the XL, it has comparable or better weight.

Edited by Bufa on 12/08/2010 16:45:21 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
down on 12/07/2010 14:39:24 MST Print View

it is most impressive how some companies can get so much down in lightish jackets

feathered friends, WM, and rab (infinity) .... function over yuppiness

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Pocket placement on 04/02/2011 13:10:29 MDT Print View

I wish the review covered the placement of the pockets, and whether they are compatible with a backpack's hip belt.