Rating: 5 / 5
Based on the excellent State of the Market Report on ultralight down jackets and my need--I am well past 60--for lighter equipment to get me up to the alpine zone, I recently purchased a Feathered Friends Hyperion in their lightest fabric, Nanosphere. The weather's been quite cold here, so I've tested it a bit.
First, the visuals: In this fabric, FF only makes a navy/royal blue jacket. It does not have the washboard baffles that so many of the other very and ultra-light jackets have. So on the surface it does not look quite as fashionable as some of the other brands and does not visually read as a high-tech garment. That said, it appears to be very well made. The fabric is light but does not feel flimsy. Outside I noticed that it did a good job of blocking the breezes. I like having a zip inside pocket too. Nice stuff sack that stuffs and holds the jacket just right.
But I bought this for its weight(low) and warmth(high), so how does it shape up? Simply fantastic. I just put it on the scale--it is an extra large: 12.7 ounces, which is very competitive. I laid it out on the floor with my Patagonia Downsweater, my RAB Microlight vest and my buddy's LLBean 850 Down Sweater. The Hyperion has to be at least 50% more lofty than the other three garments, maybe even more.
Wearing a mid-weight top, I took the Hyperion outside along with my Downsweater and my friends LLBean jacket to see how comfortable the three were in the twenties with a modest breeze. I could feel the cold coming in within 10-12 minutes with the Pata and the Bean and within 15 minutes, I was definitely feeling the chill. The FF was so much warmer that I ended up sitting outside with it for my afternoon coffee for 40 minutes of so, and still no chill.
Conclusion: the FF Hyperion seems to be two notches above at least some of its competitors in terms of warmth and, based on my weighing of the XL, it has comparable or better weight.
Been camping the last two weekends up north. I spent several hours each evening sitting around camp with the temp 6F one night and 9F another. The FF Hyperion, MB Thermawrap Jacket and base layer kept me warm. In the past my Pata Downsweater and Thermawrap barely made it below 30F. Also took this combo up to the windy and cold alpine zone on two days--worked perfectly, blocking the wind and keeping me comfortable. Very very pleased with the FF Hyperion.