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Ian Schumann
(freeradical)

Locale: Central TX
Uniqlo down gear on 11/08/2013 06:05:32 MST Print View

Have been curious about the Ultralight Down series from Uniqlo for a long time, and saw a good number of positive remarks here. So, in searching for a reasonably affordable lightweight down jacket (or vest), I took a shot. Ordered an ultralight jacket, and vest, in size medium.

The pieces that arrived were on target for basically everything but the fit and cut of the garments. Strangely I found they were actually a good deal too large -- not only that but they were evidently cut without any curve to the pieces at all ... as though all their models are straight rectangular people with 90* angles.

Uniqlo is a Japanese company IIRC, and the models wearing their clothes on their website are rail-thin with no curves of their own. So I *guess* this kind of makes sense, at least insofar as their pieces don't have much taper or curve to them. But, I was quite surprised that a size medium was too large for me. I'm a USA medium in pretty much everything, and would have expected a Japanese-influenced size medium to be trim fitting rather than baggy and boxy.

So ... that is all sad / weird. I'll be returning both pieces reluctantly.

As for all other observations that people have made about these pieces -- I can only confirm. The bang for the buck is high. Certainly these are not quite as high-quality (and not quite as puffy) as the Montbell UL jacket series; *but* it's remarkable how similar they are to that MB line, when the Uniqlo pieces are about half the cost or even a little less.

So for anyone on a budget, and who doesn't mind what we would call a "boxy" fit -- these are a good option.

Just sharing my $0.02.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
RE: Fit on 11/08/2013 07:59:38 MST Print View

Ian…I wonder if they changed the fit this season?

I bought one of their hooded down jackets last year, in medium, and the fit was OK…certainly not boxy.

What about adding a drawstring at the waist?

-Mark in St. Louis

Ian Schumann
(freeradical)

Locale: Central TX
Re: RE: Fit on 11/08/2013 09:33:10 MST Print View

Huh! That's interesting Mark. I do know that this season they made some changes to the UL Down series because they brag about it on the website. Among the changes, one is that they overfilled the collar on these pieces so they would stand up better. Not that that has anything to do with fit, but that's what I recall.

So maybe I could just keep an eye for an old or previous-year model on Gear Swap, eBay, etc.

In any case, adding a drawcord ... well, I think it would probably be better to just start out with a better-fitting piece. At this point it would be akin to adding waist a drawcord to a big baggy rain parka -- the fit gets better around the waist, but nowhere else.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Re: Re: RE: Fit on 11/08/2013 21:41:04 MST Print View

I decided that there was a significant gap in my insulation quiver so I pounced on the Uniqlo UL Down Parka today. I don't have any hooded insulation under 11oz so this will serve nicely. I found the medium size to be perfect at 5'11 180# as it fits just fine on its own or even over my 80g/m^2 puffy.

I think the quality is outstanding especially considering the price and for anyone for whom the fit works, this is a deal too good to pass up. It also packs down ridiculously small -- the stuff sack it comes with is twice the size it needs to be, which means it can pack down to about the size of a softball.

I'll have more impressions later as I get to use it, but right now it seems like quite a viable cold-weather jacket on its own and even better to buff up the warmth of other jackets that need just a little more oomph. It is hard to imagine how much warmth such a thin and light piece can add but in the store I certainly felt a huge difference between wearing it and not...

Edited by skomae on 11/08/2013 21:48:03 MST.

Jani Kikuts
(Enginerd) - M

Locale: Southern California
Are there slim and regular jackets? on 11/09/2013 10:39:23 MST Print View

If I remember correctly last season there were slim and regular uniqlo jackets.This season depending on what jacket you click on from the main page some descriptions begin with "slim" and others don't. I do not own one so cannot confirm, just speculating. Maybe the OP calls and asks, could just be an exchange?

Example http://www.uniqlo.com/us/store/lifewear/men-ultra-light-down-jacket/079121-05?ref=mens-clothing

Compared to
http://www.uniqlo.com/us/store/lifewear/men-ultra-light-down-jacket/080220-79?ref=mens-clothing%2Fcollections%2Fultra-light-down-coats

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
more info please on 11/11/2013 12:35:49 MST Print View

Are the jackets more like the Montbell UL Inner series and have 2oz of down or more like the Patagonia Down Sweater and have 3oz of down?

Ian Schumann
(freeradical)

Locale: Central TX
Re: more info please on 11/11/2013 12:40:14 MST Print View

Brett,
They are very lightweight items, similar to UL Inner series or even potentially less down fill than that.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
mor epuffy on 11/12/2013 08:44:58 MST Print View

Yeah, but are they more puffy? It seems like in some of the pics that they are more puffy than the Montbell UL down which is not that puffy.

Ian Schumann
(freeradical)

Locale: Central TX
Re: mor epuffy on 11/12/2013 08:47:14 MST Print View

Mmm, no I wouldn't say so. I would guess that if one measured single-layer loft, they would probably be a little less than the MB Inner, or at most perhaps equivalent. But as I recall from distant memories, my old MB Down Inner jacket had a more even distribution of down than what I briefly observed in my Uniqlo jacket.

I would guess that the Uniqlo pieces are at most as warm as the MB UL Inner series, but likely a little less warm, all other things taken as equal (and the fit probably is not equal). That being said, if the fit doesn't bother you then they are a great low-cost alternative, as I mentioned earlier.

Ian Schumann
(freeradical)

Locale: Central TX
Re: Re: mor epuffy on 12/12/2013 12:37:00 MST Print View

Just updating on this whole thing.

I saw a good deal on a size small Uniqlo down parka on the Gear Swap, so I went for it. This piece, by contrast to the last, is sized perfectly for me, and I'm totally thrilled with it. All previous accolades apply. Soft, light, puffy, seemingly decent construction, simple detailing. This piece is going to be getting a lot of use from me.

Will be an ideal packable commuting layer for me, when I'm off the bike and waiting at the Austin train station(s). As for backpacking, this is a worthy successor to my Stoic Hadron -- it's just as warm, but includes a full zip as opposed to 1/4 buttons, and has more normal / manageable cuffs.

I believe my size small clocks in at about 8oz. In the neighborhood of the 9oz MB UL Down Inner Parka, but probably a tad less down fill.

I like this piece enough that I might consider upgrading to Uniqlo's "coat" which seems similarly constructed but offers better butt coverage. If it goes on sale, that is. Or maybe not. At $90 it's already a steal.
http://www.uniqlo.com/us/store/lifewear/men-ultra-light-down-coat/080627-38?ref=mens-clothing%2F

Ian Schumann
(freeradical)

Locale: Central TX
Re: Re: Re: mor epuffy on 12/12/2013 12:41:05 MST Print View

... and for totally awesome butt / hip / thigh coverage, and again at an absurd price point, there's always the women's version:
http://www.uniqlo.com/us/store/lifewear/women-ultra-light-down-hooded-coat/080519-39?ref=womens-clothing%2F

I have no idea how practical this would be for being in / around a backcountry camp, since such a jacket wouldn't really allow you to sit down safely. But dang, it would be warm for the weight.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: mor epuffy on 12/12/2013 18:11:05 MST Print View

Holy Moly, it's like a Down Puffy Dress!

Hmmm, Brooks Range.....