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MontBell vs Mountain Hardwear
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Tyler Hughes
(catsnack) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
MB -vs- MH -vs- FF on 12/19/2010 17:32:03 MST Print View

I have narrowed my search for a good down jacket to just a few items:

MontBell Frostline Parka: $199, Hood, 6.7 oz fill, 25.2 oz total

Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket: $250, no hood, 5.3 oz fill, 15 oz total,default,pd.html

Feathered Friends Hooded Helios: $289, Hood, 9 oz fill, 18 oz total (and option for eVent shell, presumably for extra cost)

Between those 3 jackets (for use between 0 - 15 deg F), which would you recommend for winter camp chores/cooking/drinking whiskey, etc...? I am fine with layering two good base layers + a hardshell on top. I think a hood would be nice to have, but it is not a necessity. The Feathered Friends seems to win on warmth / weight ratio, and the MontBell wins on price. Any ideas for whether or not the eVent shell option for the Helios would be worth looking into?

Edited by catsnack on 12/19/2010 17:58:08 MST.

Michael Febbo
(febbom) - F
Helios on 12/19/2010 19:58:13 MST Print View

I have the MH Phantom and it is a good jacket: 14 ounces, about 3 inches of total loft and the fabric is rather weather resistant for its weight. I found myself ice climbing while wearing it once due to very frigid temperatures- it rebuffed ice and water rather well.

However, it also has unnecessary features for an ultralight jacket: there is an inner zipped pocket that is not large enough for gloves, and an outer zipped chest pocket; these are in addition to the two zipped handwarmer pockets.
Also, there is a hem drawstring and another drawstring on the inside to adjust girth.
These features are simply not needed for an ultralight insulation piece.

The fleece lined pockets are nice when not wearing gloves, but I almost always am if taking this jacket. Also, the cut is above the waist which really decreases warmth, but may be important if you want easy access to a harness.

For the money, the FF hooded Helios (or Helios and a down balaclava) is the warmth to weight winner and is a jacket I will buy when funds allow.

P.S. I see no need for Event on anything other than a belay jacket. I also see that you are in the Smokies. I am taking the Phantom to western NC with me in January for some backpacking, so I will see how it does in your area.

MH PhantomPhantom jacket

Edited by febbom on 12/19/2010 20:01:53 MST.

Robert Carver
(Rcarver) - MLife

Locale: Southeast TN
down jacket on 12/19/2010 22:40:36 MST Print View

I would get a Western Mountaineering Flight jacket over any of these. I have a phantom and had a hooded Helios. I think the flight is warmer then the phantom. Plus it's lighter. I didn't like the way the Helios fit.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: down jacket on 12/20/2010 17:25:44 MST Print View

I have to agree with Robert, I would choose the Western Mountaineering Flight or Feathered Friends Hyperion Jackets before I would go with the Mountain Hardwear Phantom. They have similar fill weights but are much lighter. I don't know that either would be enough for sitting around at 0*F though.

Tyler Hughes
(catsnack) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: down jacket on 12/20/2010 17:42:19 MST Print View

" I didn't like the way the Helios fit."

Robert, what did you not like about it?

Robert Carver
(Rcarver) - MLife

Locale: Southeast TN
helios on 12/20/2010 18:48:53 MST Print View

I wear a large flight jacket. So I ordered a large helios. It was way too tight across the shoulders. I exchanged it for an extra large and it fit very baggy, from the hood all the way down through the body. I got the nano sphere fabric and thought it was a little stiff.

I know it is a little more money. But, if you want a very warm down jacket that is relatively light for what it is. I would go with the western mountaineering meltdown. It's what I wear when I expect it to be around 0 degrees. I have never been cold while wearing the western mountaineering meltdown.

Michael Febbo
(febbom) - F
meltdown vs flight on 12/20/2010 20:26:16 MST Print View

I recall reading on this site that the Meltdown and Flight have nearly the same amount of down fill, with the only real difference being the fabric and hood. I'm still not sure I buy it as every Meltdown I have seen is very lofty, but you might want to do a search for the thread.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: MB -vs- MH -vs- FF on 12/21/2010 09:55:48 MST Print View

Hooded Helios all the way. eVent shell could be nice if you'll be in weird weather, sleeting "snaining" stuff. But I think you'd be fine in almost anything with the normall shell. On fit, I find that I need to go up a size on FF stuff.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
just fyi on 12/22/2010 04:23:25 MST Print View

If price is a consideration, I'm selling a WM flight in XL (used) for $150 and a montbell frostline in L (almost new) $130. Either would suit your purposes well. Flight, better warmth per weight, but the frost line is VERY warm and also has a detachable hood. I decided both are too warm for the kind of backpacking I typically do. Frostline strikes me as more of a belay coat. Seems like its built for more layering and has a more durable outer.

Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
"MontBell vs Mountain Hardwear" on 12/22/2010 06:04:52 MST Print View

I have 4 down jackets ( Montbell, WM,MH, Fugu )and the Phantom is by far the warmest although it weighs a little more. I think all are good choices. I have seen the Phantom on sale after Christmas for $ 150 last year.