Sunday, 1 December 2013

The hunt for heat: down jackets

It can be very cold in Mongolia even in the summer; to save space and money I'm thinking about taking a down jacket, base layers, a light sleeping bag/liner and a mat instead of a big sleeping this stupid?  Or doable?

Best fit: Mountain Equipment Women's Lightline Jacket
Felt best constructed: Rab Women's Neutrino Endurance
Best lightweight jacket: Rab Women's Microlight
Best overall: Rab Neutrino Endurance
Why?  Felt like the best quality, the fit was superb, it is incredibly warm and very light.  Winner!

Best shop: Snow and Rock, Covent Garden (London)...thanks Sam!


Before I started I had a look at how to buy a down jacket.  As a result, I knew..

What I wanted
- lightness/packability;
- down (but a waterproof sack to keep it in during the day);
- box baffle (the warmest construction method - I'll only be wearing the jacket at night);
- a hood.

What I didn't care about too much
- colour;
- style.

Lindsey - her natural milieu
To help anyone reading this post, I am 5'11 (180cm), a size 10 UK and weight 68 kgs.  I have short arms.  Because I'm tall, I brought a more petite friend to also try on jackets that didn't quite fit me - see left!

I haven't bothered posting photos of the jackets packed down - they all look a bit like this and are roughly the same size when packed.

Kathmandu ultralight down jacket (women)
At time of posting, £149.99 in the Kathmandu shop in Covent Garden, London, UK.

320g (the lightest jacket)

Goosedown 800

Short in the body and a little boxy (see photos below - too short for me but ok on Lindsey).  Sleeves were a fine length.
Felt a little thin, probably due to the "microlight" nature of the jacket.  Stitch-through baffle.
Zipped pockets, packs into own pocket, elasticated cuffs, drawstring hem, no hood.  

As you can see it was too short for me, but quite well fitted for Lindsey, who is 5'1.

A detour to the Apple store...can you guess why Lindsey's iPhone had melted?!!!
Rohan Women's Nightfall Jacket

At time of posting, £245.00 in the Rohan shop in Covent Garden, London, UK.


Goosedown 800

Roomy but well-fitted body (-plenty of space for base layers). Sleeves were a fine length.  Hood relatively close-fitting.
Felt very well constructed - stitch through baffle.  Light considering how solid it felt.
Zipped pockets, detachable drawstring hood, packs into its own pocket, drawstring hem.

Rab Microlight

At time of posting, £136 in the Snow and  shop in Covent Garden, London, UK (because of an offer - normal price £170).


Goosedown 750

Good.  Slightly longer than the Kathmandu jacket.  Close-fitting hood.

Like other microlight jackets, it felt thin, but this jacket felt well-made and a little more solid that the Kathmandu jacket.  Stitch through baffle.

Zipped pockets (including chest pocket - seemed like a good idea), drawstring hem and hood, lycra-bound cuffs.

Mountain Equipment Lightline Jacket

At time of posting, £200 in the Snow and Rock shop in Covent Garden, London.


Pure down 675 fill

Definitely the best fitted jacket - perfect.
Very good.  Stitch-through baffle.  Close-fitted hood.
Zipped pockets, adjustable zip-off hood, adjustable cuffs and hem drawcord.

Rab Neutrino Endurance

At time of posting, £200 in the Snow and  shop in Covent Garden, London, UK.


800 fill Hydophobic European Goose Down

Very good.
Felt like the best constructed and warmest jacket.  Stitch through baffle.  The only thing I didn't like were the velcro cuffs, although at least you could tighten them.

Zipped pockets, drawstring hem and hood, 

 Norrona Lyngen

At time of posting, £350 in the Snow and  shop in Covent Garden, London, UK.


750 fill (from French pyreneean goose who range freely during the day)

Very good.
Felt very good; slightly less solid-feeling than the Rab Neutrino, but much lighter.
Finally - box down wall construction!  Zipped pockets (including chest pocket), one-hand drawstring adjustment, elasticated cuffs.


And then, finally, a well-earned coffee in the Snow and Rock coffee shop!