Rating: 5 / 5
I just received my order from Mont-Bell, America, a Thermawrap Parka and Pants.
I weighed them on my wife's postal scale (spring powered), it's the best I've got to work with for now. She did calibrated it with pennies, so it's fairly close, but of course does not register 10th's of an ounce.
The parka, size large, is blue (also comes in gunmetal and persimmon), weighs just under 13 oz. in its stuff sack. The pants, which are also size large, weigh about 11 oz. in its stuff sack. They are not overly stuffed when put in their sacks and would most likely compress more when placed in a backpack. The garments have very neat, straight stitching with no loose threads, as I went over every inch of them. The shell material is light and kind of reminds me of the shell material of my Western Mountaineering SummerLite sleeping bag. The parka hood brim has a stiffener material across the top part of the hood opening which is a little over 6 inches long. It is sewn in and feels like a soft vinyl tube. This keeps the brim up and out, but also allows for it to conform to the shape of your head/face. The stretch draw cords for the hood extend down from this on either side and have a simple cord lock which consists of a tab of synthetic material with two holes in it, no buttons or springs to lose/break. The zipper for the parka and pockets glide easily and do not catch on anything. When closed, you cannot tell where the zipper was. There is an elastic hem and cuff feature which gently closes off any gap. There is also a velcro hood adjuster on the back of the hood. There are no other pockets other than the two hand warmer pockets. The pocket openings are about 6 1/4 inches. All three zippers have pull tabs about 1 3/4" inches long. The main zipper is heavier than the pocket zippers.
The pants are also size large and only comes in black. There is are two zippered front pockets, a zippered fly, and what they call two way, 3/4 length zippered legs. There is elastic at the waist and the cuffs with snaps on tabs. There is also a tie cord inside the waist. The pocket zippers open about 5 5/8 inches when unzipped, the fly zipper opens about 5 3/4 inches if you don't unsnap the waist band, and the leg zippers are about 32 inches long. The leg zippers are located on the outside of the legs and the top of the zipper can be unzipped for ventilation or accessing hiking pants cargo pockets. The pocket zippers and top leg zippers have 1 3/4 inch pull tabs, the bottom leg zippers have a cloth 1 1/4 inch pull tabs, and the fly zipper does not have a tab. There are no rear pockets.
The same lightweight material is used for the pants as the parka. I would not think of sitting on anything but a pad of some sort, from the looks of the material. It has a thin, slippery feel to it. I'm sure that the material is tougher than it appears to be, but like any nylon, it might snag on rough or sharp objects, so I figure care needs to be taken, definitely not meant for bushwacking. Also, I am able to engage the coat zipper and work the other zippers while wearing a pair of lightweight Seirus gloves. The parka stuff sack measures about 5+ inches by 11 1/2 inches and the pants stuff sack 5+ inches by about 10 1/2 inches. As I mentioned earlier, these would compress further under load.
Well, it's been in the 90's lately, here in southwest Ohio, so I can't really tell you how well these articles keep me warm. In fact, I chose to try them on in the basement, where it is about 65 degrees, rather than the living room where its about 76 degrees. I will have to return here with an update as the seasons change and I have an opportunity to try this gear out in the field.
I'm really happy with: the quality of the garments (just excellent), the great customer service (the guy at Mont-Bell who went and got parkas, pants and a tape measure and help me decide on which size to order), and the delivery time (I ordered them last Thursday afternoon 8/9 and received them in short order today 8/14) . I might also add their shipping was free.
Also, the garments layer well over/under the upgraded clothing I have acquired recently, in an attempt to update and lighten up my load. They fit well and allow sufficiently for bending, stooping, stepping up/down, etc. without staining the fabric or binding my limbs. I also plan to use them to compliment my sleep system, as I frequently use my bag in the unzipped quilt mode.
I am particularly happy that it layers well over my base layer and a 100 wt. micro fleece pullover top (Marmot Reactor). It also fits well beneath my PreCip rain gear! Say, have I mentioned that it always rains when I go backpacking? That is the primary reason that I went with synthetic insulation. I hike in the rain and moisture of the hardwood forests of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. In the fall, winter, and spring, if its warm its rainy, if its cold its sunny.
I can't wait for the cooler/cold weather to set in!