New for fall 2010, the Salomon Minim Down Sweater is puffy and warm, has a lightweight feature set, and weighs a measured 12.9 ounces (366 g) for size large.
This separate review provides additional descriptive and performance information on the Salomon Minim Down Sweater. Read our article Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 for a state of the market analysis and comparative specifications and performance for a range of ultralight down jackets.
Salomon is expanding their Minim line of lightweight outdoor clothing with the introduction of the Minim Down Sweater in fall 2010. This is a multi-purpose three-season down jacket designed to be as versatile as possible. How suitable is it for backpacking?
The new Minim Down Sweater features the new 0.8 oz/yd2 (27 g/m2) Pertex Quantum which is 20% lighter than the “old” Quantum, with the same tear strength and a slightly softer hand. According to Salomon, the jacket is insulated with 8.3 ounces (235 g) of 800 fill-power down. That’s a little hard to believe, but it’s the number they provided after much searching around. The puffiest jackets in our state-of-the-market roundup contain only 4.5 to 5.2 ounces (128-146 g) of down fill, so Salomon’s fill weight spec doesn’t compute.
The hangtag on the jacket explains that the down fill is Eldeven duck down. I Googled it and found out it comes from a company called Pyrenex in southwest France that has been producing down for bedding and insulated apparel since 1859. Eldeven down (90/10 down + feathers) is apparently their highest grade. This is the first time I have run across 800 fill-power duck down.
The type and amount of fill notwithstanding, this jacket is indeed well insulated. Its measured single-layer loft is 1.1 inches (2.8 cm), which is one of the highest in the group of multi-purpose three-season down jackets evaluated in part 3 of our state-of-the-market report cited below.
Front and rear views of the Salomon Minim Down Sweater.
The Minim Down Sweater has three pockets, two small unzippered unlined hand pockets (left), and one larger zippered chest pocket (right) that serves as a stuff sack for the jacket. There are no inside pockets.
I received the Minim Down Sweater in early spring and got to use it on two high altitude snowshoe hikes and a walk in the rain before I had to return the sample to the manufacturer.
Sizing on the Minim Down Sweater runs small, so you may need to size up for a proper fit or room for layering. The sample I tested is a size large, and it barely fit me (6 ft/1.83 m tall, 167 lb/76 kg, 39 in/99 cm chest). The fit is okay, but if it were any smaller I would need to size up. It’s roomy enough to fit over a thick baselayer, but not a sweater or another jacket. A Salomon representative verified that the “Salomon fit” runs on the smaller side.
Features are minimal, lightweight, and adequate. The hand pockets are small, not fleece-lined, and do not have any elastic binding or zipper to hold contents inside. The pocket lining tends to pull out, especially if my hands are wet. The zippered chest pocket is quite large inside.
In our comparative jacket warmth tests (see cited article below), the Minim Down Sweater comes out on the warmer end of the group of multi-purpose down jackets we tested. The jacket is indeed puffy and warm and definitely has a good bit of down fill, but perhaps not 8.3 ounces (235 g) as claimed.
On a walk during a spring shower, I found the jacket to be very water-resistant (left). However, in my one-hour indoor “puddle test” (right) quite a bit of water soaked through the jacket’s seams. It appears that the shell fabric resists water very well, but the seams are not tight enough to prevent water from penetrating.
Our article Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 provides complete specifications and ratings for the Salomon Minim Down Sweater in comparison to a range of other lightweight down jackets. The jackets most similar to this one are the PHD Minimus Down Jacket, Westcomb Chilko Down Sweater, and the MontBell Alpine Light Down Jacket.
This jacket is more difficult to assess because it’s unclear what the fill weight actually is. The number provided to us (8.3 oz/235 g) simply does not compute. Also our calculation of the jacket’s fill weight:jacket weight ratio is uncertain, partly because of the uncertain fill weight and partly because of Salomon’s high claimed weight (14.1 oz/400 g) for the jacket. The ratio based on Salomon’s claimed fill weight and the actual jacket weight (12.9 oz/366 g) is 64, which would put it higher than the Nunatak Skaha. Fat chance! However, it is certainly possible that the actual fill weight is somewhere in the 4 to 4.5 ounce (113-128 g) range, which would still be impressive.
The sample jacket I tested is only one of two in existence, so it’s likely some details could change in the final version.
Overall, the Minim Down Sweater is one of the nicer jackets in the group in terms of light weight, warmth, and lightweight features, but it’s also one of the more expensive jackets. The Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket and Feathered Friends Hyperion cost about the same as the Minim Down Sweater. Given that choice, I would choose one of the former, as both weigh less than the Minim.
Specifications and Features
|Manufacturer||Salomon Sports (http://www.salomon.com/us/)|
|Year/Model||Fall 2010 Minim Down Sweater|
|Style||Hoodless jacket with full front zipper|
|Fabrics||Shell and lining are 0.8 oz/yd2 (27 g/m2) Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon with DWR|
|Insulation||800 fill power duck down, 8.3 oz (235 g) specified|
|Construction||Sewn through with 3-inch (7.6 cm) horizontal quilting, raglan sleeves|
|Loft||Measured two-layer loft is 2.2 inches (5.6 cm), single-layer loft is 1.1 inch (2.8 cm)|
|Features||Down-filled stand up collar; full height reversed #3 YKK zipper with one slider, storm flap under zipper and chin guard; two unzippered side pockets (not fleece-lined); zippered chest pocket; elastic cuffs; drawcord hem with one adjustor|
|Weight||Size Large tested
Measured Weight: 12.9 oz (366 g)
Manufacturer Specified Average Weight: 14.1 oz (400 g)