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Light but warm women's down jacket?
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Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
Light but warm women's down jacket? on 05/30/2012 21:09:33 MDT Print View

Hi all :)

I've decided that I want a down jacket since they are light, warm and packable... seems like the ideal mix for backpacking. There are so many out there though, and it's hard to tell where to make the compromise: weight or warmth. I'm naturally a pretty chilly person... I tend to get cold easily and stay that way, so the warmer the better. There seems to be a good selection of down jackets out there, some of them crazy light, but I don't think these would be warm enough for me. I would be wearing it around camp for backpacking in the Sierras, and possibly as an insulating layer for skiing in the winter. Does anyone have any suggestions? I would go to REI and try a bunch on, but when it's 85 degrees out, it's hard to tell what's going to work at 30.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Light but warm women's down jacket? on 05/30/2012 21:55:43 MDT Print View

I have the Montbell Alpine Light down jacket, and like it a lot. I also get cold very quickly when I reach camp, so I really need a down jacket to keep from freezing. I also have the UL down inner jacket, but it's not warm enough for me at night at high elevations (Colorado). If you are REALLY hard to keep warm, the Alpine Jacket/Parka is warmer still. They are all very light, pack small, and are fairly water-resistant.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Light but warm women's down jacket? on 05/30/2012 22:21:48 MDT Print View


For the criteria you specified, you need approximately 6 oz. of 800 fill. This will allow a typical women to be thermo neutral doing camp chores at 30F when sheltered from the wind. There is a slight benefit with higher rated down fill offset by a large amount of marketing smoke.

For non-expedition use, a jacket's fill ranges from about 2 oz. (40F male class) to about 16 oz. (-30F male class). Females typically require a jacket rated about 10F less than a male does for camp chores at the same temp.

The women's value leader in this category is the GoLite Women's Roan Plateau 800 Hooded Jacket. If your size and color preference matches what is typically on sale in the $100 - $150 range, it weighs 17.7 oz. in M. Another high-value option includes the Montbell Frost Line Parka (male cut only); it replaced their prior Alpine model with the same amount of body fill but, the addition of a hood.

Edited by richard295 on 05/31/2012 09:04:37 MDT.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Duplicate post on 05/30/2012 22:22:47 MDT Print View

Duplicate post

Edited by richard295 on 05/30/2012 22:24:42 MDT.

James Demetriades
( - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles
Light down jacket on 05/31/2012 03:57:35 MDT Print View

So many choices exist for so many ranges of temperatures. My wife is happy with her western mountaineering flash jacket in summer with a shell if temperatures drop. We generally are at 8-12k altitude and summer camp. Weight is 9 oz or so, is not too puffy so you don't look like the Michelin man, and has a nice hood for those cold nights or mornings. Also used for skiing under a shell on clod days.

Edited by on 05/31/2012 04:03:58 MDT.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Marmot Venus on 05/31/2012 07:22:35 MDT Print View

My wife wanted a down that was lightweight, but not so thin-skinned as to be super-fragile. She also wanted something that will be a nicely warm layer when she's in camp, tired and has been chilled in the past. She went with the Marmot Venus, which is cut very well for the wimmin folk, packs down nice and small for use a a pillow and is stuffed full of 800 fill down from geese that were fed hot peppers to make the down self-heating.

Okay, I may not be sure about that one detail, but the Venus is the source of much happiness. There is a Venus review on this site, as I recall.

Ed Hayes
(ejhayes) - F

Locale: Northwest
Montbell Alpine Light on 05/31/2012 09:43:55 MDT Print View

I second the Montbell Alpine Light jacket. You can get it with a hood too (that one is called the parka).

You can find the Alpine Light on sale for about $150. I recently bought the men's parka for $146 from (25% off).

In fact, right now, on Montbell's website, under web specials, you can get clearance Alpine Light women's jackets for $90-122.

This jacket has about 4 ounces of down. It is a great jacket when you consider the cost and weight. There was better, but not at that price, IMO. It also received a Backpacker's Magazine award last year

edit: the women's version has about 3 ounces of down.

Edited by ejhayes on 05/31/2012 09:45:30 MDT.

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
FF Daybreak on 05/31/2012 09:57:00 MDT Print View

Just got a FF Daybreak recently. Quite nice. 8.35oz for mens medium. They make a womens version. Something to consider.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
cancelled on 05/31/2012 17:06:09 MDT Print View

post cancelled

Edited by Danepacker on 05/31/2012 17:18:46 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Eddie Bauer First Ascent light down jacket on 05/31/2012 17:09:06 MDT Print View

Eddie Bauer Down SweaterSorry,

Here's a photo of my Eddie Bauer Down sweater. If you are unfamaliar with the brand the First Ascent line was made to very high quality and design standards for mountaineering and backpacking. Every First Ascent item I've seen firsthand is good stuff.

This time of year you can likely find a women's Down Sweater on sale.

BTW, Will Reitveld gave it a favorable review in his extensive articles on light down jackets.

Edited by Danepacker on 05/31/2012 20:46:03 MDT.

Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
Hood on 05/31/2012 20:58:16 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input everyone! Would you say that a hood is necessary for a down jacket worn as an insulating layer? I usually only go for hoods on shells due to the bulk of having two hoods, but maybe I am missing out on a really great thing. Weight wise, I'm guessing there's probably not much difference between a hooded jacket and a regular jacket + beanie.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Hood on 05/31/2012 21:33:16 MDT Print View

I would certainly think the parka is warmer, but I went with the jackets. I have a capilene hoody I wear to sleep (keeps the down sleeping bag hood clean) and I wear it in camp under my down jacket if it is unusually cold--or I am unusually chilly.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hat(s) instead of hood on 05/31/2012 21:41:16 MDT Print View


I've opted for a medium weight fleece "Peruvian" style hat for sleeping and day use. It has a very breathable Polartech membrane laminated in it for wind resistance.

You may want to add a fleece pull-over neck gaiter if you expect horrific weather but your jacket's stand-up collar and the parka's neck protection should be fine.

If it's really cold you can use your WPB parka hood over the hat and down jacket and be very warm. I think this setup is more versatile and less restricting than a hooded down jacket.

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
Warmth on 05/31/2012 22:03:20 MDT Print View

I have a three down jackets that I use for backpacking, so can compare and contrast a bit. All three have a similar lightweight shell, but the amount of down varies considerably. The warmth of the jacket is all about the amount of down.

My warmest jacket is a Mountain Hardwear Phantom. I bring it in the winter or cold shoulder season. Yes, I look like the Michelin Man in this jacket, but who cares, wearing this jacket I am NEVER cold. Weighs 14 ounces.

My middling warm jacket is a Outdoor Research Women's Aria jacket. It is similar to my friends Marmot Venus jacket and weighs 11 ounces. This is not nearly as warm as the Phantom but generally is quite sufficient for the Sierras in the summer.

I also have the Eddie Bauer First Ascent Men's jacket in the same nice blue color as Eric. The weight it's the same as the Outdoor Research or the Marmot Venus.
The advantage of a man's jacket is that it has a lot longer back length so better coverage, more warmth. Not as flattering obviously.

Finally my friend brought along her brand new Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket on our last trip. This weighs an amazing 7 ounces and felt almost weightless. However she felt cold very soon after the sun went down and had to crawl into her sleeping bag even though it was quite a pleasant May evening.

Three takeaways:
If you really want a very warm jacket, get something puffy that weighs close to a pound.
For three season use you'll be fine with something in the 10-12 ounce range.
The lightest jackets are amazing, but really don't add much warmth.

Eric Nelson
(ericknelsonn) - F
jacket on 06/06/2012 01:06:56 MDT Print View

You just go here, you will get lots of options for jacket

Tactical Jackets

Edited by ericknelsonn on 06/14/2012 06:39:32 MDT.

Ashley Higgins
(alh0711) - MLife
Another option on 10/15/2014 13:56:55 MDT Print View

Another good option is Goosefeet Gear. []
They make custom down jackets, so it will be tailored to fit you perfectly!
I have a down quilt from them, and pretty much take it everywhere. It's lightweight, warm, and compresses down to fit in a small space.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Options on 10/15/2014 14:21:07 MDT Print View

You might also look at the Rab Infinity with 7oz of down fill and a 17.5oz total weight. My fiancé has an older version which is 13oz and has ~5.3oz of down if I remember correctly. It looks really warm.

You might also look at the Golite Bitteroot with 5oz down and 12oz total weight.

If you can wear men's sizes the mount bell mirage is a class leading garment.