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Looking for a Down Jacket
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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 09:30:31 MDT Print View

I currently have a MontBell Thermawrap jacket -- which keeps me warm to 40F when at rest. With that as reference, I am looking for the lightest and most compactible down jacket that will keep me warm to 30F (don't need it any warmer, heavier or bulkier than this). Your thoughts and insights? Thanks in advance.

Edited by ben2world on 10/04/2007 09:51:48 MDT.

Charles Bilz
(denalijoe) - F

Locale: California
Re: Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 10:03:49 MDT Print View


Good post, I too a, looking for a light weight down jacket. Your requirements are the same as mine. I will follow this post with great intrest. By-the-way, Feathered Friends in Seattle (, have some great down jackets but, alas, they are not the lightest and a bit pricey, but they are definitely the warmest.


Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 10:23:23 MDT Print View

Check this article on BPL. "Winter Backpacking Comfort: Lightweight Gear and Techniques for Shelter, Clothing, and Sleep Systems"

I think the concensus on Feathered Friends sizing is that they run small.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 10:53:21 MDT Print View

If Ben and Charles are truly committed to down for this or are counting grams rather than ounces, then stop reading now.

Otherwise, in addition to the climate factors mentioned in the article Michael cited, down delivers poor weight savings bang in garments designed for moderate temps like 30*F. The reason being that the weight of the two layers of fabric is pretty much the same regardless of the thickness of the insulation and it tends to dominate the finished weight.

Consider 1 sq yd of a 1 inch thick momentum/800fp down/momentum sandwich "over stuffed" 20%. The fabric would weigh approx 2oz and the down approx 1.9oz ... 3.9oz/sqyd

If you are OK @40*F with a Thermawrap, I think you'd be fine at 30*F with a jacket made with 2.5oz Climashield or certainly 3oz Primaloft for a finished weight of 4.5-5oz/sqyd.

Even a size XXL jacket is only about 3 sqyd .... for a 1.8-3.1 oz total weight penalty ... I suspect you aren't size XXL so your mileage would be better.

Now for cold weather .... definitely get a 3" thick down parka.

Edited by jcolten on 10/04/2007 10:55:16 MDT.

Kevin Lutz
(EazyE) - F
Re: Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 11:01:42 MDT Print View


I have a montbell alpine light jacket, which is very compressible, has 4 ounces of 800 fill down, and has a total weight of 11.3 ounces. I have worn it alone to 30 degrees, down to about 15 with a very heavy baselayer under it. I think the flight is bit warmer as it has, I think, 6 ounces of 800+ fill, but is less compressible. I also have a down inner jacket, but that is not very warm.

The only problem I have had with the alpine light jacket is that it tends to get pretty damp in very rainy weather, but will dry out overnight. Also, the shell fabric is pretty thin, I but I imagine that the Thermawrap uses similar fabric. I am actually thinking about going the other way, maybe picking up a cocoon parka for fall in the rainy northwest, when I have the most problems with the alpine.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Flight Jacket on 10/04/2007 11:01:44 MDT Print View

Have you checked out the WM Flight Jacket? If that won't do, maybe their Meltdown Jacket would give the extra warmth needed.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Flight Jacket on 10/04/2007 11:29:48 MDT Print View

WM Flight probably as above noted.

For myself down to 30, I use Montbell down inner jacket.

Edited by jshann on 10/04/2007 20:58:54 MDT.

(beenay25) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
New Balance Fugu on 10/04/2007 11:35:21 MDT Print View

Not the most compressible but an incredible value, you may want to consider the New Balance Fugu jacket.
I picked up on clearance a few months ago, and really like it. The Fugu does not match Western Mountaineering's quality. The first one I got had a down compartment that was sewn shut without any down in it, and the sleeves weren't filled to "puffiness" like they ought to be. However, the place where I bought it has great customer service and sent me a new, non-defective one even before I shipped the bad one back to them (and they sent me a prepaid shipping label for the defective one).
It's 14 ounces for size large, and it seems like it would be as warm as my WM Flight jacket, though I have not yet tested this in cold weather--the average loft is approximately the same. The Fugu has perhaps a better design than the Flight because the collar is about twice as tall and really puffy; the jacket fits more like a mini parka in that it covers below my waistline, whereas the Flight seems to fit more snugly and shortly, which makes it very heat efficient but not the best for layering underneath. Plus, the Fugu was cheap, at $125, and they're marked down more now.

Edited by sharalds on 10/04/2007 15:50:50 MDT.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: New Balance Fugu on 10/04/2007 12:03:16 MDT Print View

$99? Oooh.... nice...

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Flight Jacket on 10/04/2007 12:28:07 MDT Print View

The WM Flight and FF Hyperion seem relatively equivalent in this category--both about 11 oz, w/ FF being somewhat cheaper (depending on shell option).

As has been pointed out, the shell is the limiting factor weightwise when it comes to down jackets.

For temps around freezing, I don't think you can beat a down vest in the pursuit of warmth-for-weight.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 12:42:11 MDT Print View

Thanks, everyone. I'll also need to rethink down vs. synthetics -- given that the weight advantage of down is less-than-significant at relative moderate temps like 30F.

Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
Nunatak on 10/04/2007 15:26:32 MDT Print View

Look at Nunataks Skaha line. Approx 10 oz for a large in Quantum. I have an Epic Skaha Plus in Epic with 2 oz overfill.

The Nunatak jackets are deceptively warm.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 16:10:45 MDT Print View

> Thanks, everyone. I'll also need to rethink down vs. synthetics -- given that the weight advantage of down is less-than-significant at relative moderate temps like 30F.

In that case you should also be considering the Cocoon pullovers, with and without hood. Not adequate at 30 F entirely by themselves - but will you have other clothing on as well?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 16:58:09 MDT Print View

WM Flight should take you down to the low 20's with base/windshirt, but so should a Cocoon Hoody for about the same weight. Plus, the Hoody is cheaper and delivers most of its insulative value in wet weather, whereas the Flight jacket would be practically worthless if it got wet. A Patagonia Micro Puff parka would also fill the bill for an extra ~2 oz. I haven't had my Flight out of the bag since I acquired a Cocoon pullover a couple of years ago and, more recently, a Cocoon Hoody. Still, if you do most of your stuff in the Sierra, a WM Flight jacket is a pretty good piece of gear and it does have those comfy handwarmer pockets.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Price? on 10/04/2007 18:36:18 MDT Print View

You're looking for "the lightest and most compactible down jacket that will keep me warm to 30F". If price is not important, then it's an easy decision with the Nunatak Skaha. It is really light, really compressible, and really warm, though sadly it will probably keep you warm even below 30.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/04/2007 19:55:55 MDT Print View

If your looking for the lightest and most compactible down garmit to keep you down to 30* than a combination of a down vest with rain jacket, (if your already taking one anyway is the best option.

Why not utilize layering, if it is already there.
A long sleeve base layer with a vest and jacket over that.
That will keep you warm down to 30*

Now we're talking about 5 oz for a Western Mountaineering Flight Vest.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/05/2007 12:15:42 MDT Print View

Sorry I am late to the party, but I have to chime in with a vote for the WM Flight Jacket. I have used it down to the low twenties with a silk REI underwear top alone. I have had it down to the low teens with a rain jacket over it and a icebreaker woolies top. It will compress well. I often stuff it into my sleeping bag compression sack and cinch the two down to about the size of a large melon.

But if all you are looking for is a 30 degree jacket, then stick with MB as you have with much of the rest of your gear. The extremely compressible and light Down Inner Jacket is a real winner. I have used it regularly down to 30 and by layering it with a rain jacket and either a silk or wool top underneath it will handle much colder temps than 30.
I am going out tonight to Cooper Canyon trail Camp in the San Gabs at 6300' where the temps are supposed to be down to the high 20s and I am taking my MB Down Inner and SD ion rain jacket with the above mentioned Woolies top as my other gear. I know I will be toasty.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/09/2007 22:49:49 MDT Print View

Montbell has a brand spankin new U.L Down Inner Parka out that has a hood and only comes to 7.4 ounces.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Looking for a Down Jacket on 10/10/2007 06:39:12 MDT Print View

I second the vote for the Montbell UL down inner parka. The hood should add a few degrees of warmth over the UL down inner jacket..?
Its still not available here in Japan!

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
MB Inner Down Parka.... on 10/10/2007 08:29:09 MDT Print View

...I'll be grabbing one of these as soon as Brett gives the is it that Japan doesn't stock these yet-thought that is where they were located?
I anticipate that it will take me to 30F - adding base layer and windshirt for lower temps.