Rating: 4 / 5
This review is for a custom down parka from Goosefeet gear.
Specs for this parka;
-14 oz/ 397g total weight
-7.5 oz fill, downtek 850 ~FP?
-custom size, about XL
-sewn through sleeves and hood, baffled torso with sewn through side seams.
-hood and waist with lightweight drawcord
-cuffs with elastic
-full zip with draft tube
-non zip insulated handwarmer pockets
-zippered chest pocket
-10d black inside, 20d blue outside fabric
For BPL of course the first question is fill/total weight ratio, at almost 54% fill weight this jacket is one of the best scoring jackets available.
For smaller sizes, like the M typically quoted in standard jackets, this would equate to just about 6.5 oz of fill, and about 12 oz total weight.
If we look at other jackets in that category, we see jackets that are heavier overall, have less fill weight or fewer features, and usually several of those at once!
Since this is a custom jacket, you can choose the features YOU want, and save weight by eliminating features you don't want.
The eternal debate in down garments is whether baffling is worth the extra weight and cost, or if that weight/money could be better spent on more down fill.
I decided that since this jacket was likely to large to wear under my shells, baffling might be warmer, I split the difference by only having the front and back torso baffled.
-one of the best fill weight/total weight ratios available
-custom sizing (this is huge for me!)
-custom features (great for everyone)
-fit was prefect, based on the measurements I gave
-competitive price, especially for a custom item
-great handwarmer pockets design, will hold items but yet doesn't require a zip(which cn be hard to use with gloves)
-long wait time(much longer than agreed on at purchase time)
-draft tube catches in upper part of zipper every time
-draw cords not sewn down, will flap in wind and not one handed
-handwarmer pockets create very thick layer over bottom front. I would have preferred slightly less fill in the baffles over and behind the pockets, adding this down to the baffles at the top of the torso. This would even out the insulation, especially since the lower part will overlap pants most of the time.
Discussion of my features;
I already mentioned I went for baffled front and back, figuring warmth lost due to convective/radiative loss in sewn through seams was not as critical in the sleeves and hood, and the side seam is often covered by my arms anyway. Also, sewn through makes for a bit more flexible construction for moving parts like the sleeves and hood.
This is cold weather parka. As such I will be wearing heavy mittens. For many tasks, like eating or setting up a shelter, I o need to take my mitts off, having a convenient place to stash them was worth the extra weight of the pockets. They also provide a quick way to warm up hands without having to put the mitts back on.
I find I often need to keep some small things handy, like matches and a headlamp, again, I find the fraction of an ounce worth it.
Long cut in the back.
After backpacking you lower back will most likely be damp, the last thing you want is to expose it when sitting or bending over, the two positions this parka will be most used in, setting up/taking down camp and cooking/eating.
Not too short in the front.
Not having to hassle around, trying to readjust your clothes to keep yourself covered is a huge benefit in truly cold weather.
Not baggy in the waist
Helps reduce convective heat loss, saves weight
Elastic waist and cuff hems
A down jacket never needs to ventilate while zipped up, so adjustments just add complexity
Makes it easier to put it on and off, even over other layers. Allows for the jacket to be worn open in warmer temps or draped over a sleeper.
Helps the jacket dry faster.
10d black inside, 20d blue outside fabric
Light weight liner to save weight, slightly heavier fabric outside for durability, since this jacket will be worn without a shell over it and in the dark, carrying wood and other higher risk situations.
Black liner to help dry out quickly in sunlight. Bright blue outer to help find it in pack/shelter amongst the myriad of black items and to cheer up a gloomy day.