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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)

Locale: Cascadia
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
(bcutlerj) - M

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: Tokyo, Japan
Re: UL Down Jacket on 01/28/2014 22:00:18 MST Print View

>>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.<<

I would not bet on the Montbell USA specs for down fill on the Frost Smoke carrying over into the similar Japan Guide parka. In my opinion, the fill tends to be a little less and Japan jackets are cut a little shorter in the back and arms even for USA equivalent sizes.

But Montbell Japan does sell a Mirage-like jacket w/o hood this season with 7D shell and box baffels weighing ~300g call the EX Light Alpine, http://webshop.montbell.jp/goods/disp.php?product_id=1101415

Unlike the Mirage, the back length is very short just like the Alpine Light.

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) - M

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.

Richard

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F - M

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

Josh,

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) - M

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.

Ryan

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: Tokyo, Japan
Re: Re: use on 01/29/2014 15:50:19 MST Print View

RAB has used the US down rating method for the last few years. Actually its the IDBF standard, and most companies that sell worldwide seem to be following this standard now.

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.

http://gossamergear.com/wp/buzz-blog/outdoor-retailer-delivers-again-loads-of-new-updated-lighter-better-and-outrageous-gear-and-some-items-you-didnt-know-you-needed-or-not

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
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.