GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review

Great value on a super-warm, lightweight, 800 fill down parka.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

The GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket is an excellent balance of light weight, warmth, wind/water resistance, durability, and value. Overall, I'm very pleased with the jacket's design, materials, fit, and warmth. My only wish is for a couple of large mesh drop pockets inside rather than one medium-sized one.

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by Will Rietveld |

Description

GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review - 1
The GoLite Inferno Down Parka is insulated with 800 fill power down and weighs 24.6 ounces (size Large).

GoLite calls it a hooded down jacket, but it's a down parka by my definition - it has an attached insulated hood, and the body is long enough to cover the bum. A jacket normally comes to the waist. Semantics aside, the Inferno is an ultra-warm down parka, intended for serious winter cold. It's the right class of warmth for those of us who love to get out in winter cold, and even (gasp!) snow camp in mid-winter, but it's simply too heavy and too warm for three-season backpacking.

GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review - 2
The backside (left) of the GoLite Inferno Down Parka, showing its insulated hood and puffy down chambers. The hood (right) has a drawcord around the brim and three adjustors (1 rear, 2 front) to provide good face protection.

The Inferno is insulated with 800 fill down with sewn-through construction in a horizontal six-inch quilted pattern to hold the down in place. I measured its double layer loft at four inches across the body and sleeves.

It has a relaxed fit, with enough room inside to wear it over a heavy base layer and lightweight insulated jacket to provide even more warmth. The hood is roomy enough to wear over a climbing helmet and has three adjustors to close it in around the face. Sleeves are extra long and have Velcro adjustors on the cuffs.

GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review - 3
The inside (left) has one mesh drop pocket and one zippered security pocket. The outside (right) has two zippered fleece-lined handwarmer pockets.

GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review - 4
Sleeves on the Inferno are plenty long to overlap the hands, and the Velcro adjustor on the cuffs is easy to grasp with gloves on.

Performance

I wore the Inferno parka while igloo camping in February, tent camping on consolidated snow in March and April, and finished my testing while backcountry skiing in November.

GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review - 5
Just for fun, I slept in the GoLite Inferno inside a 25 F sleeping bag and a bivy under the stars at 11,600 feet in April. I also wore down pants and down booties. I stayed toasty warm on a 15 F night.

For snow camping, I prefer a down parka that has a lot of water resistance so I can wear it when it's snowing lightly and not get wet. Of course I want it to be lightweight, but not so fragile that I have to constantly protect it from being snagged or punctured. Finally, I want lots of pockets so I can stash anything I want to keep warm and handy.

The Inferno's two outside zippered fleece-lined pockets are definitely useful for warming hands and holding snacks, but they are barely large enough to hold winter gloves or a hat. That's not necessarily bad, because I prefer to stash those items inside the jacket in drop pockets. Unfortunately, the Inferno has only one medium-sized drop pocket. I wish it had two big ones; they add very little weight to the garment and are extremely useful for stashing and drying gloves and socks, keeping a water flask from freezing, or warming a fuel canister. The inside security pocket is a good place to store valuables, sunglasses, etc.

For pure warmth, I found the Inferno to be sufficient for my winter camping needs. The combination of 800 fill down and sewn-through construction provides a good balance of warmth and value. The 800 fill down provides plenty of loft and warmth for its weight, much more than the 650 fill down in many jackets, but doesn't run up the cost like premium 850+ fill power down and baffled construction. In really cold temperatures, it's easy to don a lightweight insulated jacket under the Inferno for extra warmth and to eliminate cold spots.

Note that the Inferno's shell and lining is 22 x 30 denier recycled polyester. It's nice that it's recycled, but what about durability? Nylon is considered to be stronger and more abrasion resistant than a polyester fabric of equal weight. According to GoLite, the polyester fabric used in the Inferno weighs about 10-15% more than a 15 denier nylon and is equal in durability. That said, the Inferno needs to be treated the same as any other low denier fabric. Polyester is also more hydrophobic than nylon, so it is less likely to absorb water and more likely to retain its breathability. I liked the Inferno's polyester shell; it has a very soft hand, feels warm to the touch (nylon feels cold), and is adequately durable with reasonable care. It did not snag easily like other lightweight shell fabrics I have tested. The Velcro cuffs on the sleeves do not damage the shell fabric, which is another problem I have encountered on other jackets.

When wearing the Inferno during a light or heavy snowfall in cold weather, the snow slides off without wetting the jacket. Wet snow sticks more and wets through at the seams, but the Inferno is too warm a jacket to wear at those temperatures (around freezing) anyway. In those conditions it's better to wear a waterproof-breathable shell jacket over a thin insulating jacket.

Assessment

Overall, I am very pleased with the materials, design, and performance of the GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket. It's an excellent balance of light weight, warmth, wind/water resistance, durability, and value. Its attached hood and longer body and sleeve lengths allow a clothing system capable of providing lots of warmth in serious winter cold. The Inferno is a great choice for winter snow camping or any activity in really cold temperatures.

I looked for comparable products, and found that the Inferno seems to occupy a class of its own. Many similar jackets, for example the Outdoor Research Megaplume Down Jacket (33 ounces, US$325), have 650 fill power down compared to the GoLite Inferno's 800 fill. High-end down parkas like the Nunatak Torre Parka (28 ounces, US$619) have 850+ down fill and baffled construction, but they have a big price tag too. Overall, the Hooded Inferno Jacket from GoLite meets the needs of the serious winter adventurer who wants lightweight performance gear without breaking the bank.

Specifications

  Manufacturer

GoLite (http://www.golite.com/)

  Year/Model

2008 Hooded Inferno Jacket

  Insulation

800 fill power down

  Materials:

Outer shell is a 100% recycled combination of 22d base yarns and 30d ripstop polyester yarns with DWR, lining is the same fabric without DWR

  Features

Attached insulated hood with three adjustors, fleece chin-guard, full front zipper, insulated draft collar behind the zipper, two outside zippered fleece-lined hand pockets, one inside mesh drop pocket, inside zippered security pocket, hem drawcord with two adjustors

  Weight

measured weight men's L 24.6 oz (697 g), manufacturer specification 25 oz (709 g)

  MSRP

US$275


Citation

"GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/golite_inferno_review.html, 2009-03-03 00:00:00-07.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review on 03/03/2009 21:01:55 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

GoLite Hooded Inferno Jacket Review

Jesse Taylor
(ahikernamedgq) - F
great stuff on 03/03/2009 22:59:31 MST Print View

Overall, I think Golite makes some really great stuff.

Great gear review. Enjoy the parka!

Kathy Bartosh
(sumo) - F

Locale: Southern Quebec
GoLite Inferno on 03/04/2009 10:24:45 MST Print View

My next serious purchase is a down parka. Thanks for a thourough review.

On the manufacturer's website there is no mention on the hood in the product details. (??)

Re: additional drop pocket- would it be worth it to sew one in?

eric strunk
(cat300) - M
golite hooded inferno on 03/04/2009 17:51:50 MST Print View

I did not see how many ounces of down were in the jacket. Any information on that?

Mike Maurer
(maurer) - F - M

Locale: Oregon
Golite Inferno Vs. Pata DAS on 03/05/2009 06:31:38 MST Print View

I dunno gang,

For the same 24 oz (and the same price) I could take a really warm Patagonia DAS synthetic Parka with big inside stash pockets. No worries about babysitting the shell, no worries about cold spots from sewn thru baffling and no loss of insulation when wet.

Mike

Christopher Bumgardner
(quillbone) - F
Rab neutrino? on 03/06/2009 10:57:53 MST Print View

At 20 oz with pertex endurance outer shell and similar bells and whistles (no fleece in the front pockets though, but also has sewn through baffles) the rab neutrino seems to be right in the category of the golite inferno. Oh, and it is around the same price. Right now I even found it online for as little as $198. I have this jacket and love it (I won't go into a full mini review). It has around 8 oz of 850 fill (US fill test). Does the inferno have more? I see the down fill question was already asked.

I liked the review though Will. By the way, thanks for the Golite VO24 review you did a little while back. I got the pack as a result and really like it. Like you said in the VO24 review, it's load handling is great.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Responses to GoLite Inferno Questions on 03/12/2009 12:35:00 MDT Print View

Hi everyone, here's my responses to your questions:

Kathy: I believe GoLite has hooded and non-hooded versions of this jacket.

Eric: GoLite does not specify the amount of down in the jacket, just the fill power. It is fairly common for a manufacturer not to disclose the amount of down in a bag or jacket. Unfortunately, that omission makes it harder to compare products.

Happy hiking!
Will

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Extensive field testing on 03/17/2009 19:24:39 MDT Print View

Just got done with an 800-mile trip from Arches to the Grand Canyon and carried the Hooded Inferno the whole way. VERY glad to have it, especially since I was using the GoLite Ultra quilt and nights in the mid-teens were not uncommon.

GoLite hooked me up with two version of the Hooded Inferno. One for "civilian use," i.e. "you're not allowed to get this one stinky or to chop it up"; the other for "trail use," i.e. "you can do whatever you want to it and it can smell horrible, and that's okay."

I removed the fleece-lined pockets in my trail jacket and cut out the inside lining that seperates the pocket and the wearer (it's a third layer of fabric -- there's no down in there) and managed to get the weight down to 20.8 oz, size Men's Medium.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Lining on 03/18/2009 08:48:44 MDT Print View

@Andy: I have a similar jacket I have been testing that also has a liner on the inside. Like you said, essentially a third layer of fabric with no down inside. Can you explain why that is done? Seems useless to me.

Kathy Bartosh
(sumo) - F

Locale: Southern Quebec
Re: Responses to GoLite Inferno Questions on 03/19/2009 13:19:07 MDT Print View

Thanks Will.

Happy trails.

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Third layer of fabric on 03/23/2009 16:31:27 MDT Print View

It is essentially useless, as it provides very little warmth for its weight. I think it's done to keep the pockets from being visible from the inside of the jacket. Not really a concern for me, but I can't think of another reason. I suppose the pockets could snagged on things too if they were out in the open. But, whatever, the third layer of fabric should not be there.