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Montbell UL Down Jacket
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Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Montbell UL Down Jacket on 01/28/2014 19:51:15 MST Print View

I'm looking for a new down jacket. I've been eyeing the Montbell U.L. Jacket (no hood). But I'm a little concerned that it won't actually be warm enough. I understand it's got nearly an ounce less down than something like the Patagonia Down Sweater, but the weight and cost are much more favorable.

Anybody got any thoughts on this? Thanks!

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

UL Down Jacket on 01/28/2014 20:13:13 MST Print View

It's definately less warm than the Pata Down Jacket (in my subjective experience). It's a good June-August jacket but a little light for shoulder season use. For May and Sept-Oct you'll probably want something a bit warmer (depending on where you hike).

Montbell also makes the Guide Parka, which has 3.5oz of down in a ~9oz package. It's sold as the Frost Smoke in N. America with heavier reinforced fabrics but you can buy the Asian version on eBay which weighs less. Other options in the 3oz down/9oz total weight range are the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody, Arcteryx Cerium LT, Feathered Friends Daybreak and Western Mountaineering Flash.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Montbell Mirage? on 01/28/2014 20:56:49 MST Print View

It's more like 12 oz. than 9 oz., but it is stuffed full of down. Recent thread around here somewhere on the subject, it was the first I learned of the Mirage, and now I know I need one. ;-)

Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Re: down jackets on 01/28/2014 21:00:07 MST Print View

I was afraid of that. Thanks for all the suggestions, Dan!

Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Re: other Montbell options on 01/28/2014 21:08:52 MST Print View

The Mirage may be a bit more than what I need. But I did take a look at the Alpine Light. It leans toward the ~ 11 oz. range, too.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: other Montbell options on 01/28/2014 21:21:48 MST Print View

The Alpine light is considerably warmer than the UL.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: UL Down Jacket on 01/28/2014 22:00:18 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/21/2015 06:24:17 MDT.

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Goosefeet on 01/28/2014 23:39:38 MST Print View

I had Ben from goose feet make me a 7.5oz hooded 1/3 zip parka with 3.5 oz of downtek. Material is quantum GL.
LOVE it!

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Montbell UL Down Jacket on 01/29/2014 00:00:38 MST Print View

I've never owned a Montbell UL Down Jacket, but I do live near a Montbell store and had the opportunity to try one on the other day.

I wasn't that impressed with it. The shell material felt strange... Sort of stiffer/courser than I was expecting... not as soft as comparable jackets I've tried on.

Also, I was very frustrated by the fact that there is no way to seal in your heat with this jacket since the bottom hem has no elastic and no drawcord. This struck me as a serious design flaw. It's "stupid light" to leave that feature out, IMO.

Still, I've never owned the jacket, so take this all with a grain of salt. It was just my initial impression of it.

Edited by dmusashe on 01/29/2014 00:01:44 MST.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Montbell UL Down Jacket on 01/29/2014 00:08:25 MST Print View

I have the UL Down Jacket and it's a good mid-season jacket. I got tired of trying to stretch it's useful range into the shoulder season though, and have just bought a Montbell Alpine Light down jacket for the colder trips. It's nice to be able to choose the right jacket for the job. If I had to choose only one, I'd still go with the UL Down because of the warmth/weight/features (I like pockets) and you can always layer up in the shoulder season.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
MontBell U L Down Jacket on 01/29/2014 08:31:32 MST Print View

Josh, I tested the UL (parka version), the EX Light, and Plasma 1000 for BackpackGearTest. All are good but the UL is by far the most versatile. The others are midlayers only, while the UL can serve as an outer jacket down to freezing. MB intended it as a midlayer though, and if you're looking for an outer down jacket I'd get something with more down. I can recommend Nunatak (if the budget allows) or Patagonia.


Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Montbell UL Down Jacket on 01/29/2014 09:31:14 MST Print View


Its hard to comment when you don't tell us what you want it for.

I own 2 Montbell jackets. An older 2007 MontBel UL Down Inner Jacket (L, 7.6oz)back when they used snaps instead of a ziper and a 2009 MontBell Ext UL Down Jacket (L, 6.4oz). In terms of warmth, they are about the same. The Ext UL down Jacket I've used on the PCT and AT and its held up very well. I've been very happy with it and I have no plans on replacing it soon. Combined with a lightweight set of thermals, a rain jacket, and a warm hat + lightweight gloves keeps me warm in camp down into the low 20's. Though I have a high metabolism so I'm generating a fair amount of heat even at rest. I've found it far too hot to hike in even when it was snowing on me. For those who say its too light to be of use, I say those Nanopuff and down sweaters are too heavy to needed.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Montbell UL Down Jacket on 01/29/2014 11:05:18 MST Print View

For me, the UL down jacket is good to about 40 deg or so. Anything lower than that and it gets a bit chilly. Great jacket for the price & weight though.


Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Re: use on 01/29/2014 11:08:14 MST Print View

Sean, I'd be using it for everything from hiking during Southeast winters, shoulder seasons in the mountain west, and wearing it to work/around town. So, kind of an "all-around" down jacket. I'm also not looking to spend $300 on a jacket. Plus, I'm a skinny dude, so I like the smaller baffled jackets. They keep me from looking like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Looks like the Pata DS or the MB Alpine Light might be the best "all-around" options when considering weight, fit, warmth and cost. I also caught a sight of the Rab Microlight, but it uses 750 down. (I'd read also that Rab uses the EU fill weight measurements, which are different from the US. Can anybody speak to that?)

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: use on 01/29/2014 15:50:19 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/21/2015 06:24:49 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Another 'YMMV' issue on 01/30/2014 09:22:40 MST Print View

To this comment:
"It's a good June-August jacket but a little light for shoulder season use."

I would say that's likely to be true for a lot of folks, but not universally true, and as someone else suggested, it depends on various factors. Your metabolism, your "hiking style", where and when you're hiking, whether the weather turns out to be 'normal' for that time and place or not ... etc.

"Style" --- I used this jacket as my warmth layer when I thru-hiked the CDT, coupled with a thermawrap vest. The first month or so I was in snow more often than not. But a common thru-hiker approach to staying warm is to crawl into the sleeping bag and do everything in camp "half in the bag". I.e., no sitting around in camp on a log, singing songs and toasting marshmallows or the like (at least when it's cold).

This is a very warm piece of gear for the weight and bulk. I also have a Montbell Alpine Light parka, and while it is of course much warmer, it's also a lot heavier and bulkier. The UL Down Jacket is a great piece of gear to combine with other layers, and something small and light enough that I'll toss it in a daypack even on hikes when I don't expect it to be very cold.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Another 'YMMV' issue on 01/30/2014 11:43:54 MST Print View

The UL down parka I had was amazing. I used it on nearly every trip and it was warmer than a 300wt fleece but much lighter. I could push it to near freezing with heavier base layers, but not much farther.

With the recent OR announcement of a hooded pullover version of the EX Lite with 900fp down, I may pick that up instead of the UL Parka. Definitely worth looking at!

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Montbell UL Down Jacket on 01/30/2014 12:23:47 MST Print View

Hooded version shown here in prototype.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
EXL on 01/30/2014 12:57:03 MST Print View

the EXL is more or less the same, just a tad lighter and more expensive

the main thing to remember about these things is that they are down SWEATERS ... think of it as such and youll be fine

many people will use something with somewhat more down for more general shoulder season use ... something with ~4 oz of high fill power down

as to fleece ... the EXL is not as warm as even a 200 wt fleece in a cold high humidity environment (rainy PNW shoulder season) .... high fill power down will lose loft in the close to 100% humidity on those days


Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
Get the Hooded Version on 01/30/2014 12:58:58 MST Print View

If its cold enough for a puffy jacket, your head is going to be cold too. Whatever you do get the one with a hood. It makes all the difference in the world.

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead) - F

Locale: Cen Cal
. on 01/30/2014 16:00:35 MST Print View

Right now I have a UL Down Parka and is not quite warm enough. How effective is it adding something like a down vest?

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: . on 01/30/2014 23:55:20 MST Print View

@chistopher yi

I just bought a M borah gear down vest for $100 at 3.6 oz. I wear a M in most puffy layers as well, and this will layer a close fitting puffy or under a looser fitting one just fine. If you are too cold in the montbell UL most of the time, then I'd look at getting something with more fill, but if its only toward the shoulder seasons, then supplementing with a down vest would work fine.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Plenty warm for the JMT on 01/31/2014 14:33:15 MST Print View

I bought a Montbell U.L. down jacket (8.2 oz. in large with stuff sack, lighter than the long sleeve T-Shirt I'm wearing right now) in 2012 for my JMT thru-hike and I couldn't have been more pleased. Kept me warm in camp when temps got into the low 30's. I still take it with me on any hike where I think I might need a jacket, as it packs very small. Look at all the other suggestions as well, but don't count out the Montbell.

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Montbell on 01/31/2014 15:18:26 MST Print View

I have been using a MB down inner parka the last couple of years, and with the correct layering system I have been perfectly warm and comfy, sitting around camp in temps well into the teens.

As has been pointed out, many of these lightweight down jackets are glorified puffy sweaters. They are not intended to be hardcore outer down jackets... instead, just another part of a layering system, and IMO, that they do very well. And for this reason, I highly recommend them. But, I also suggest that the user understand this garments role, and how to use it in a wide range of conditions...

I also picked up a MB Ex Light a few months back to carry when temps around freezing or above because for me, the ULDIP was just too much... Now, if I am expecting temps to stay below 25 or so on my trip, then I will carry my parka, otherwise, the Ex Light will come along...

But, also, as has been pointed out, MB is putting out a very attractive Ex Light Parka, and as an anorak at that! I think I will be digging that thing...