The latest Das parka deal that Keith Hultman mentioned in the Gear Deals forum is about to tip me over the edge (if they're not sold out, of course). I've been wrestling over whether I actually need one, though, and today is the last day of the sale. Ultimately, of course, I'm the only one who can decide if the Das is right for my needs, but I would appreciate some feedback from those who use them regularly.
Here in the southeast, I'm not likely to face especially harsh conditions. On a typical winter trip at lower elevations (2,000 to 4,000 ft), I can expect daytime highs in the 40's and nighttime lows in the teens. I'm usually out for only two days at a time, so I can plan my trips around unusually harsh conditions (snowstorms, etc.). This winter, though, I would like to venture into our higher elevations (6,000+ ft), where temps are likely to be 10+ degrees cooler (20's/single digits) and the weather can be very unpredictable.
In general, I would use the Das during rest breaks, in the evening and morning around camp, and as a temp booster for my 15 degree synthetic sleeping bag. Would the Das be overkill for these kinds of conditions? I've wondered if I could make do by layering my Golite Coal jacket and Patagonia Micropuff vest, but I know from past experience that I get a bit chilly in the Coal in temps below the freezing mark. I'd rather be overprepared and carry more than to gamble with my safety. One last thing -- I don't use down, so I'm looking exclusively at synthetic options.