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New jacket by Valandre' - the Immelman
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Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
New jacket by Valandre' - the Immelman on 02/22/2011 17:23:09 MST Print View

Scheduled to be in production soon -

I had a chance to try it on at this January while Neils was in town for the OR Show.

NICE jacket, should be great for sub-zero temps (down to -20F or thereabouts).

DISCLAIMER - I am a retailer for Valandre' products.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: New jacket by Valandre' - the Immelman on 02/22/2011 17:31:51 MST Print View

I saw a video of it earlier today. Except for the extra pocket/stuff sack along the back, I didn't see anything special compared to other stuff that's been on the market for years. For anything I'd be using low enough to need 12.5 oz of down, I'd want a hood. At 37 oz, it's also heavier than competitors (ex. FF Frontpoint).

My 2 cents.

Edited by simplespirit on 02/22/2011 17:33:27 MST.

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
Valandre' Immelman on 02/22/2011 17:37:44 MST Print View

It actually has a baffled hood that conceals inside the collar (on the video).

The stitching behind the zipper is such that no draft tubes are needed.

Once I had a chance to try it on and go through all of the features with Niels, I was really quite impressed with it.

Valandre' products are not know for being the lightest, but they aren't fragile either.

For a sub-zero jacket, it is another alternative to those on the market.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Storage on 02/23/2011 10:29:53 MST Print View

Nice variation on the theme of self-contained stuff sack. Watching Niels put the jacket away reminded me of the problems the undertaker had at the funeral of the inventor of the hokey-pokey, the difficulty of getting him into his casket--he put his right foot in, etc.

Edited by swimjay on 02/26/2011 10:40:04 MST.

Niels-Hentik Friisbol
(ValandreFrance) - F
Valandre Immelman on 02/26/2011 06:57:06 MST Print View

Are you really sure Chris, that you did not notes anything? According to my knowledge, there has never been a One kilo down jacket, where down can't shift and totally articulated.

I will honestly admit, that it was not designed BPL in mind, but more technical engagements in high altitude.

Seen from this perspective, the Immelman is ground breaking, as it (as the first down jacket in the world), opens up for technical climbs over 7000m; hence the opening of new routes. A Jacket concept heavily needed in the Himalayas.

(I am Niels-Henrik Friisbol, the design dude from Valandre in France)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
hmmmm on 02/27/2011 03:52:49 MST Print View

people have climbed peaks with other jackets from other manuf ...

everybody claims their product is unique or the best ...

EB first ascent told me the same ... of course their guides use their jackets on everest and vinson, so i guess their stuff does work ... all for an everyday low price as well ...

i stopped listening to manuf claims a long time ago ...

Niels-Hentik Friisbol
(ValandreFrance) - F
Valandre Immelman on 02/27/2011 07:14:38 MST Print View

It all depends, what you put into the word "climb". But if we put the same meaning into it, then we must agree, that the minimum is, that you have 100% free arm movements and NO POSSIBILITY OF DOWN SHIFT, and that you can use your arms, to find a grip or anchor in your ice axes.

So, the Immelman is actually nothing special to me, except the minimum required to be a..let's put it like this...a professional mountaineering and climbing down jacket.

It's simply the "B a bas", as they put it in France, or the basic ABC in mountaineering.

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
Field testing vs. Cyber-testing on 02/27/2011 09:17:29 MST Print View

I am amazed at the skeptical, negative "glass-half-empty" attitudes of some posters on this particular forum, who take upon themselves the role of Forum Police. Reminds me when I used to work as an Aerospace Engineer, dealing with closed-minded skeptics most of the time.

Not everyone who represents a particular product is out to scam the customer. And to comment negatively about a product without even seeing it in person or field testing it is plain foolish.

I have a chance to buy Montbell, Integral Designs, Valandre, Rab, and others, and provide them to customers who like these brands. Everybody is different. Each manufacturer's products have their advantages and disadvantages.

I myself recently purchased a Nunatak Skaha after hearing glowing reviews. I bought the 950 goose down option, the Epic fabric, in order to meet my needs in the Wind River Range above treeline in August and September. While I like the simplicity of the design, I am disappointed in the quality of sewing, compared to Valandre'. The stitching is not straight, there is a fold in the fabric at the base of the sleeve on the right sleeve, etc. While I liked the ability to customize my down sweater, I was surprised that the construction was not that great.

Valandre' jackets and bags, for those who have only viewed them on the Internet and not seen them in person, are a work of art. Their goose down is from mature geese, compared to down source in the Far East. Their gear is not the lightest, but they are meticulous in construction and quality. I would say that they are primarily designed for the climber in mind.

I do not comment on gear that I personally haven't used. Just looking at pictures on the Internet does not qualify me to be an expert.

Just my 2 cents.

Edited by vigilguy on 02/27/2011 09:19:12 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
surprised on 02/27/2011 10:25:05 MST Print View

and i am constantly surprised (or not surprised) i guess by retailers and manufacturers posting up about their stuff being "ground breaking", the best, the bomb, the ultimate, unobtanium

its likely very few people have used this jacket over a prolonged period... and those who have are likely close to the manufacturer in some way ...

just because a patagucci designer or retailer says patagucci is the best, or leo holding says a piece of berghaus kit is the best ... doesnt mean it is ... he is sponsored so take it with a grain of salt

as someone once said ... extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof ...

so forgive us poor BPLers if we're skeptical about all the claims ... we've been hoodwinked by manufacturers saying that their WPB fabric is "breathable", membrane softshells, fancy useless features on backpacks, etc ...

if the product is good, it will stand on its own merits ...

people have done 7000m+ peaks with jackets from other manufacturers ... maybe they're doing it all wrong

oh and did anyone here say they used it? ... the most that was said is that we're not impressed .... and we shouldnt be by a piece of gear that we havent used

whether this jacket is any good or not i have no clue ... what i do know is that there is suddenly a retailer and manufacturer of the product on this board making quite extraordinary claims and bashing skeptics (which include a BPL staff member) and i do know that ive heard it all before from other manufacturers

if youre going to make a claim here ... be prepared to have skeptics ... especially if you are a retailer or manufacturer

Edited by bearbreeder on 02/27/2011 10:35:52 MST.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Immelman on 02/27/2011 10:40:48 MST Print View

One thing I find interesting is that the Immelman is optimized, I think, for active use. Most of us here use our down jackets when not active, but while resting (or even sleeping). I'm curious what its temperature rating would be when the wearer was inactive--how warm is it, for example, in comparison with Valandre's own Sirius or Bering. And how much loft does it have?

From my own experience, Valandre does make excellent gear, and is willing to undertake a high degree of manufacturing complexity to attain a high standard of performance & durability. They're not always the lightest or cheapest. For example, if one compares an EB First Ascent Downlight sweater (under 3 oz down ?--someone please correct me here if I'm wrong--$170, but usually available for less) with a Valandre Kiruna (retail $450, 8.9 oz down), it would be like comparing apples to hand grenades. The Ascent is cheaper, lighter, way less warm, and if I were a manufacturer, I think I'd find it easier to make 2 1/2 Downlights than one Kiruna, and imagine the total profit would be greater for the Downlights.

Both jackets are great in their appropriate environments. But I definitely don't have the feeling that Valandre is gouging. And, in my experience, Valandre's down is second to none. We tend to measure down solely by loft, but I think there are a lot of other parameters we don't measure, like resistance to clumping when wet(fat content?), average cluster size, etc.

Edited by swimjay on 02/27/2011 10:41:26 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
comparison on 02/27/2011 10:48:13 MST Print View

james ...

youre comparing a 14 oz down sweater against a 23 oz down jacket ... it will definately be less warm and likely cheaper ...

one of their guide jackets would be a better comparison

or the mec reflex which is 25 oz or so in L and has 16 oz of 800 fill down ... may not be as pretty, and have those nice handfed geese down ... but costs 265$ vs 450$ ... is about the same weight ... and has 6 oz more down with a hood

Edited by bearbreeder on 02/27/2011 10:57:27 MST.

Niels-Hentik Friisbol
(ValandreFrance) - F
Please help me with two questions on 02/27/2011 11:22:18 MST Print View

I think that people should keep in mind, that not everybody are in for the business, but in for the passion. And when you are in for the passion, why not share it?

But as spirits run high, I think we should look away from prices/weight/down quality, and focus on the basic claim:

The claim is, that the Immelman is the first and only totally articulated down jacket in the world. So I would like to know, if anybody know another down jacket that is totally articulated?

You will have a very hard time to find anything like it, and if you agree that articulation is simple ABC in climbing/mountaineering, then please help me to understand: WHY HAS THIS NOT BEEN DONE BY THE BIG BOYS?????

This is where my brains, stop to work.

(Nice to meet you James)

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Videos about down preparation on 02/27/2011 11:32:23 MST Print View

Here are a couple of fascinating videos about down that I just found:

So it's not gnomes trading grain for down with each goose, after all!

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
niels on 02/27/2011 11:35:25 MST Print View

my question would be ... why cant the average person get up a mountain with the jackets currently made

maybe your new jacket will allow the opening of new routes, maybe not ... who knows ... i do know that no one used such a jacket on all the first ascents so far (before this jacket was available) ...

its unlikely that many of us here will be doing first ascents on technical faces in the Himalayas

would i need your jacket to climb a mountain?

im not one to buy dead bird (arcteryx) gear in the hopes that itll make me look cooler, give me better sending power, or because some climber way beyond my level uses it for technical himilayan faces ill never do, for $$$$$ ... been there, done that, didnt work ...

these days i buy what does the job at a reasonable price and weight ... which is the gear deal thread ... i want a deal ;)

Announcements of online & local sales, coupons, etc. Commercial posts OK, but ONLY if you are announcing a sale or coupon.

Edited by bearbreeder on 02/27/2011 11:55:41 MST.

Niels-Hentik Friisbol
(ValandreFrance) - F
Mummm.....a kind of new Shocking Blue? on 02/27/2011 13:00:12 MST Print View

James, I noted your logical way to draw the conclusion, that there had to be something with the down, and there is. I hope the the videos and our down page gives you an answer.

Eric, You are right, and it's true, that to a certain limit, it's not necessary as the equipment we all ready have, have done the job and can do in the future.

But, the very nature of SPORTS and Alpinisem is and has all ways been, to push the limits, in the field and in the gear used.

You are right, that not everybody needs a "thing" like this, so there are room for everybody when the buck counts.

The jacket has been tested roughly, and it's ok for High Altitude active climbs, this was in Germany last week end. Results are, that the articulation works well, and even if you work out in it, the down do not shift. The insulation places it as a High Altitude performer, and the weight is 1050g with 355g down in XL.

The Immelman was received as a piece of equipment "heavily needed" by xxxxxx, and there are nothing like it out there. If so, you may try to imagine, what this opens up to. And to do this, you need to imagine what it will replace.....not existing down jackets (useless in situations where you need the use of your arms) but properly a Fleese + membrane articulated system. The flease + membrane jacket offers articulation movement, but if this has to resist at -20F, then you need several fleese's below, and then the articulation can be as good as you want, your liberty of movement is limited to weight and friction.

As James may understand it.....A new Shocking Blue?

Niels-Hentik Friisbol
(ValandreFrance) - F
James down remarks on 02/28/2011 07:16:10 MST Print View

James, you have drawn the right conclusion about the down question: It's a bit more "technical" than just a FP question and the mix rating (90/10 or 95/05)

We made a video, called "Filling Power", but if you noted, we divided it up in two sections. one with the Lorch FP test machine and a second, where we use the real judgement: the hand or touch.

One of the hand test, is the compression and de-compression. When you compress, you actually measure the resistance in the matter, witch is done in the FP test, but in our hand test, we look at the de-compression speed.

The de-compression speed, depends upon the sauce (animal and specially age/molt), but another factor involved, is a rapid fermentation control, after slaughtering with hot water. If you don't dry the wet down/feather mix, a fermentation will start, and "burn-up" the micro filaments or barbules, that imprison the warm air. Another point, is to be able, to make a quick quality judgement of each branch of raw material, and then select the best and most mature branches for our needs.

The high oil content, also ads to a better resistance against humidity, and this content is high in a "fatty" 4th molt quality.

For me, these points are more important, than a simplified FP claim, and I think that our down page reflects all these points.

Now, if you don't control this key question, then you can do what ever you like in the shell construction, and be sure that you will not get the maximum performance. In your case you came rapidly to the conclusion, that there was something special about the down quality. The technical construction of the SB, intrigued you, but the down convinced you.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
claim on 02/28/2011 09:24:57 MST Print View

has this higher resistance to moisture been substantiated by independent third party tests ... such as the IDFL ... if so can we have access to the tests

Niels-Hentik Friisbol
(ValandreFrance) - F
Moisture resistance on 03/01/2011 03:49:35 MST Print View

IDFL do not take into account the moisture resistance, after all it's "only" a 2000 euro test/unite! James came to this conclusion by him self.

The IDFL test is done at +5C (41F) with a relative humidity of 40%. The thing about this is, that our sleeping bag line, starts out at the freezing point 0C (32F), and then drops down to -45C (49F), so one could argue, that it's senseless to test at +5 and with 40% humidity.

But there are several other interesting points in the EN 13537 test, that needs to be known to the users:

The first point is, that there are a difference in the surface of the dummy's, between the different labs. The IDFL test is done with a dummy of 1.67m2 with a weight of 20kg and with 35 sensors - zones. Other dummys are 1.48m2 with 20 sensors, and the test is done at -10c (14F). Skin temperature is 33c in the first case and 34c in the second.

From this one can draw the conclusion, that test results can not be compared between different labs.

The second point is, that there are no "policing", or control, with the claims published. Any body can claim what they want, and as they are not obliged to make documented proof, anybody can actually claim what ever they like.

And this is the reason why we publish the documented proof as a PDF on each page of sleeping bags on our site. You get the report, and have proof that it's done, but secondly you get a document that allows you to compare to other claims. If there are no control of the claims done, by the commission, then it's up to the users/consumers, to force documented proof out of manufacturers when ever a claim is made.

There are another point, that's interesting, and related to the above: As there are properly a deliberate mess between the labs, it's known that some labs offers better test results than others, and as ONE test is invoiced 2000Euros, it quickly becomes a "offer/demand" issue: you get.

Rumors even has it, that EN 13537 test are made in country's, where there are officially no dummy. So, if I claim: Test result 5F (limit of comfort)"according to the EN13537 norm" then nobody should take it for cash money.

But, I will admit, that the basic EN13537 norm idea, is a step in the right direction.
But this step is not finished yet, until the norm and the claims made in it's name, is under control. It's the wild west.

The UIAA control's hard wear climbing equipment claims, and go in and certify the gear. Makes sence: Your rope has to resist, as your helmet and harness and biners....Any body can understand, that this is vital and life saving.

To be hit by a falling rock, can have deadly a consequence, but where's the difference, if a non experienced outdoor/climber believes his gear can hold a negative 20, and discovers that once 3 days in, that at 0 it's on the limit? At times it's impossible to back out! (And I personally know from experience how this feels)

The UIAA, should take their responsibility, and propose a test in their own lab, specially once it comes to expedition and winter oriented sleeping bags.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
odd on 03/01/2011 08:12:40 MST Print View

thats oddly weird ...

since here we are saying there is higher moisture resistance with your down ... yet how are these claims substantiated and proven scientifically and independently ? ... a im sure youll agree quite a few claims have been made in the past by many manufactures that may not have panned out ...

id love to have a better more water resistant down ... just prove it to me first ... are we talking about en-testing or fill power testing ... perhaps you can comment about who does your fill power testing on your down and the exact conditions including humidity ... we are talking about a jacket anyways ...

is your down more insulating and has more moisture resistance than the "850 FP" down in my westcomb jackets? .. they dont claim better moisture resistance ....

HutteriteDown - For almost a century, the Hutterite people of Western Canada have experienced winter warmth that most can only imagine. Generation after generation, they have raised their down producing geese in harmony with, and to sustain, their peaceful way of life. Available only once a year from mature adult geese, the pristine hypoallergenic down is the worldwide standard for loft, warmth and durability. Each ounce of the HutteriteDown is made up of mature down consisting of millions of heat-trapping filaments. The soft down plumes interlock to create an even layer of insulated protection between you and the frigid outdoors. No clumping. No flat spots. Just long lasting comfort.

Compared with other top competing down qualities we choose Canadian Hutterite for the following reasons:

Consistently the fill power is better.
The colour or whiteness of the down is brighter.
Down clusters are generally denser and stronger due to the climate the birds are raised in.
Feathers and the down are removed from the birds by a steamed method. No commercial plucking machinery is used.
European Class 1 - This down standard requires a minimum of 95% total down clusters by weight. As a result your product will have greater loft and warmth as it traps more air, remains lighter in weight and enjoys a greater compression rate when compared to an identical product with less percentage of down and more feathers or fibres.

here's a question ive always had of valandre bags ....most reputable manufacturers rate their sleeping bags according to roughly the en lower limit comfort rating ... ie marmot, north face, mountain hardware, western mountaineering, REI, etc ...

yet valandre does it more to the extreme rating ... for example the mirage is listed as -17C in big bold letters on the web site , yet its LL comfort is - 1C

wouldnt the ll comfort be more appropriate since thats what most users would be looking for .. what they can use their bags comfortably to ... and that someone doesnt go out believing it is a -17C bag ... even american companies, the more reputable ones anyways, arent going by the survival ratings anymore ....

of course its possible that the majority of valandre mirage buyers are alpinist who are doing bivies on the wall and looking to take their bag down to -17C ... hmmmmmm

as to en-testing here is the conclusion of the McCullough paper presented to the OIA in 2009 ... while en-testing aint perfect, it seems better than "Any body can claim what they want" ... if there is a better reference, i would appreciate it ...

The European outdoor industry should be commended for developing a standard for
determining temperature ratings of sleeping bags from manikin generated insulation values and
heat loss models. Although there are some problems with the EN standard, it is a comprehensive
document that is based on sound science, and the prediction results have been validated on
human subjects. The standard could be greatly improved if the auxiliary products used in the
manikin test were specified and easily available to test labs and if test procedures were more
clearly specified. In addition, the variability associated with sleeping bags, the manikin test, and
different labs is not clearly documented the standard. Therefore, a new inter-laboratory study
should be conducted so that the tolerances associated with the manikin test and resulting
temperature ratings can be determined.

Edited by bearbreeder on 03/01/2011 08:41:25 MST.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Science on 03/01/2011 10:13:57 MST Print View

Eric, I totally agree that we should be skeptical about manufacturer's claims, and that scientific testing to validate particular claims would be best.

So my own experience is strictly anecdotal--I have a Valandre Thule vest, Kiruna, and Sirius jackets, (all courtesy of incredible luck on eBay), and a Shocking Blue, also quilts from Katabatic Gear and Nunatak, and a Versalite from Western Mountaineering, but no down from Westcomb. (Though some other outerwear, courtesy of The Clymb--it's excellent stuff.)

Definitely the Valandre down feels the springiest, even in a relatively understuffed item like the Thule vest. Squash it, and it seems to press back against your fingertips almost immediately, whereas with the other items there's a perceptible lag, with Katabatic second best, Nunatak a very close third, and WM a respectable 4th.

These aren't huge differences, but they're definitely repeatable.

The problem with any single parameter measure of quality is that people are people, and learn how to game the system. So with down, we notice that, over the years, claimed Fill Power keeps going up, but someone at WM once told me that their down was essentially unchanged--they'd always used the best they'd been able to buy.