Mar 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm #1255974
Companion forum thread to:Mar 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm #1580784
Wow – fantastic performance for the price!Mar 2, 2010 at 7:43 pm #1580923
My Eddie Bauer had the 900-fill at 50% off. $100 instead of $200.Mar 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm #1580943
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I considered the Downlight sweater recently with the sale prices, but didn't think it would be much different than a Mountain Hardwear Nitrous (which I already own), especially after reading Will's recent review of the Nitrous.
Both sweaters/jackets have narrow-ish horizontal spacing. Is the spacing on the EB large enough to offset the "cold spots" of all the stitching, or is it that the EB has more down/loft, as indicated by Will's chart? Just curious . . . .Mar 2, 2010 at 11:28 pm #1580999
Bang for the Buck… Nice Review!Mar 3, 2010 at 12:53 am #1581008
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
For the average person doing camp chores sheltered from the wind, the MH Nitrous thermal tests 43F – 27F. For the same test environment, the EB First Ascent 800 thermal tests 40F – 22F. Although the EB First Ascent is actually warmer than the MH Nitrous, they will appear to be equivalent warmth jackets since the average person can only judge the feel of insulation granularity in increments of .5 clo. The EB is .3 clo warmer. These measurements ignore down loft as the theoretical determinant of insulation value.
Loft as the primary determinant of a garment's insulation value has been a consistent BPL editorial position as far back as 12/16/2001. See http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00094.html . This article states in part,”… Measuring the loft of a down garment is a difficult thing. Each of the many chambers has a slightly different loft. Measure a jacket once, pick it up and shake it, put it down and measure it again, and you won’t get the same number. Measure it a day later and you’ll get yet another number. All of the jackets increased 10% to 20% in loft over the week of observation. As such, my loft figures are probably as good as you can expect. Under trail conditions where it has been stuffed in your pack all day, you’ll likely have less loft. I measured each jacket four times over the course of the week. Each time I made ten measurements on a jacket, four on the torso and six on the arms. A level was used to make loft measurement more accurate. I took the best two (namely, loftiest) of the measurement sessions for each jacket and averaged them for the loft measurements reported in the comparison table. The weighted loft figure I report in the comparison table takes into account that torso loft covers more of your body and is more important to overall warmth than sleeve loft. Weighted loft is calculated as follows: Weighted Loft = [(2 x Torso Loft) + Sleeve Loft] / 3 Thus torso loft gets twice the weight of arm loft in the final loft figure.
Skipping forward about 8 years, “loft determines insulation value” is still the standard BPL editorial position and loft measurement inconsistencies still exist. As a recent example, look at BPL’s reported down loft of the Montbell Ex Light Down Jacket. Mark Leaman posted to the forums on 01/13/2010 07:28:41 that Will measured the loft of the EX jacket as .75” in his backpackgeartest review. In Will’s BPL Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Jacket Review table he measured the loft of the EX as .5”. In Will’s BPL PHD Mountain Software Ultra Down Pullover Review table he measured the loft of the EX as 1”.
Similar inconsistencies exist in the BPL measurement of sleeping bags that are very easy to see by comparing the BPL measured loft values with the EN 13537 test results. Reference http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/mb_post_form.html?po=edit¬e_ id=219939
&forum_thread_id=26645 . Subsequent to my post, the BPL measured 2.5” loft for the Marmot Hydrogen was changed to a 2” measured loft. This was the original table in the article.
Even if you specified a common method to get a loft reading, there is no Domestic or International standard that recognizes loft as a determinant of thermal resistance (insulation value). Only a traceable national lab calibration, in combination with a guarded hot plate, a thermal flow meter, or a calibrated manikin is recognized. If you have nothing else to go by, then a ruler will give you a gross approximation but to expect accurate thermal insulation resolution is a mistake.Mar 3, 2010 at 6:24 am #1581042
@jhawkwxLocale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
Nice write-up Will. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes in to these reviews. Overkill for the average layman, but pure erotica for enthusiasts! You write:
" The closest comparison is the Montbell Alpine Light Down Jacket which has a little more loft, weighs about 1.5 ounces (43 g) less, and costs a little less. "
Playing devil's advocate, is Eddie Bauer giving me any reason to trust an outdoor gear provider turned strip mall clothing retailer for my backcountry clothing needs? I think they are by reading the review, but I'm not sure why I wouldn't go w/ the MontBell for the marginal gain in loft, lower weight and price. Not to mention a reputable name in gear. I hope Eddie Bauer gets back to its roots and can offer price points this competitive on all of its gear. I have a wool sweater that I bought at E.B. about 15 years ago. I use it for car camping, etc. I even throw it in to the washing machine, despite the instructions not to. Can't seem to destroy it.Mar 3, 2010 at 7:48 am #1581061
I can definitely see where you're coming from with those sentiments. I opted for the EB jacket purely because I could try it on in a store without having to do the online return process. For clothing, I generally want to have some idea what the manufacturer sizes like, and with Mont Bell, I have no access to their clothing locally. If I could have tried Mont Bell's stuff on before buying, I may well have gone with it.
Another advantage of EB's locations (malls) is that they are easy to get to and you can exchange items on the spot. That's fantastic for me, I hate dealing with shipping items back and forth.
I think, to a limited extent, EB is trying to get back in the game. Its like a reverse North Face! Although, I suppose we can't really blame these companies for getting into the luxo clothing lines. It's where the money is at.
As for the jacket itself, the only problem I have experienced with it in about 2 months of ownership is the baffles on the back get all their down smooshed out of the middle if you wear it with a backpack a lot. I have to shake the down back in about once a week or so.Mar 3, 2010 at 9:09 am #1581099
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
Eddie Bauer used to be owned by Spiegel, so that may be why the quality shifted. Now I believe they are owned by CCMP Capital, who also have a share in Cabela's and a few other well-know stores. This could be why some changes are being made.Mar 3, 2010 at 10:21 am #1581134
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Down loft measurements are not a reliable method to measure the insulation value. The table, in the article, lists the loft of the MB Light Down Jacket as 1.1".
Another BPL staff member reported the loft as 1.25" in his forum post http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/10136/index.html?skip_to_post=73469#73469
I just took 2 pictures of a MB Light Down Jacket's loft:Mar 3, 2010 at 10:43 am #1581141
To me, warmth is highly subjective, and thus numerical measurements of warmth or things that equate to warmth hold little sway with me.
I think perhaps a panel approach, though more expensive and time consuming, would be worth exploring as a way to articulate the warmth of a piece of clothing. Some people run 'hot' and others run 'cold', and their perspectives on identical items could give people a sense of what to expect.
Using multiple people with varying perceptions of temperature would make sort of a 'safe range' where a reader could be relatively certain that an article of clothing will perform for them in a given situation. For example one reviewer could say 'I was able to stay warm in this at a moderate activity level down to 20 degrees' or 'Even when I was really exerting myself, my extremities felt cold at 30 degrees or below.'
To me, this kind of information is far more valuable than the relative warmth test or how much loft there is or is not.Mar 3, 2010 at 10:51 am #1581145
@knaushouseLocale: Northern California
Kudos to Eddie Bauer and First Ascent for offereing this in a tall size. For some time, I have been in the market for this sort of prodcut to fit my 6'4" frame and 37" sleeves. I have been reluctant to drop big bucks on a product that didn't fit and left me with cold wrists! My research found only that only First Ascent and Feathered Friends offered a tall version; both with a $20 extra charge. I'd be interested to learn of other competetive, tall products, but this review gives me confidence in making the plunge to this product. Thanks for the review…Mar 3, 2010 at 11:14 am #1581161
@jhawkwxLocale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
Christopher, I hear ya'. At 6'5" I'm struggling w/ some garments and loving others, all the same size!! Fortunately, my arms aren't as long as yours and I can get away w/ regular length large in "most" garments. My torso is a touch long and that can lead to some belly shirts. Unfortunately, garment makers interpret "tall" as needing to go ahead and stretch everything out. Whoa! I have long arms and torso, but how does that imply that my gut expanded by a comparable amount? I have pretty much stopped even considering tall sizes because I like athletic fit clothing, not circus tents.
As for the MontBell vs. EB: obviously YMMV, but I'd say they are close enough to each other that either will work for "most" people. I'm all for a panel of testers who can perform the same activity, etc. and report back their findings. Start sending me gear:) I'd be happy to contribute! As for having retail locations to try on and touch and feel, that's a gold mine.Mar 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm #1581374
@herman666Locale: Northern Virginia
I guess I'll have to pay attention to the EB catalog when it comes now.Mar 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm #1582873
>I guess I'll have to pay attention to the EB catalog when it comes now.<
I bought the EB down sweater for my son, a powerstretch 1/4 zip for myself…on sale at considerably below the MSRP, one of the advantages of dealing with a major retailer. The down sweater cost less than a MB Alpine light, even including sales tax. Both pieces from EB are really nice garments that easily qualify as serious outdoor gear.Mar 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm #1582878
Found this on sale for $119 in the Eddie Bauer store today. Don't know how long the sale will last.Mar 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm #1582894
I guess they must have seen this thread too!!Mar 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm #1583056
I really would like to hear BPL's official response to Richard's issue (that BPL is still endorsing or at least suggesting the use of loft as a measurement of warmth – not to mention the inconsistent measurements).
This has been bugging me lately in just about every BPL review that involves insulation.
IMO, BPL should *only* be publishing measured thermal resistance in sleeping bags and clothing, and *not* mention loft at all. I know many will disagree here, but unfortunately if you are using loft to gauge how warm something will be, you are being led astray.
As an example, my first thought on reading this would be "hey, the Mont-Bell has more loft, is lighter, and cheaper – I should get that instead."
But both the inconsistent loft measurements by BPL as well as the unsuitability of using it as a measurement of warmth means that the Mont-Bell jacket may not actually be warmer. It could be not as warm, in fact.
I'm glad that at least relative warmth has been measured in some capacity, but nothing is shown to compare it to. If it's because you're just starting to measure this now and in the future, and don't have any other measurements on other products, fine, but at least delete the "measured loft" section on the table, because it will mislead people into thinking that those numbers are the ones to use for comparing the warmth of these garments.
As for Mike's comment – there is so much information here in the BPL forums which disproves "warmth is subjective." I suppose that the times which you *feel* warm are subjective in part, but insulation value is completely measurable. Additionally, and more importantly, subjective statements of warmth during whatever activity in whatever temperature have shown to be almost entirely meaningless. You don't know what the person's thermal output is (very small changes in activity can change this a large amount), how the wind is affecting things, what the sky temperature and radiation losses are, how much moisture is currently on – and evaporating from – the person's skin, what the humidity level is, if the person was slightly hypo- or hyperthermic for a period of time before the evaluation, etc. A small change in any one of these can mean the difference between "feels nice and warm" and "I was cold."Mar 11, 2010 at 6:17 am #1585029
@lawrencecooperLocale: Mid Atlantic
I almost bought the Eddie Bauer Down Sweater, but my wife clued me in on the LL bean Down Sweater — it was 800 fill, better fit, and cost a litle less.
You should check it out – it has worked very well for me.Mar 14, 2010 at 9:57 pm #1586508
Asked Whittaker shop last year …
Here are the approximate weights in GRAMS of the items in question below. I say grams because you asked for ounces, but we have the measurement in grams (please convert…I'm in another all day meeting today and tomorrow or I'd do it for you from somewhere out on the web)
I also say approximate because there may be SLIGHT variations.
Mens Peak XV – 365.5 grams
Mens Downlight Swtr – 115 gramsMar 16, 2010 at 1:26 pm #1587163
@patricktt2020Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Feathered Friends has an 11oz.,850 fill down jacket with an Epic or Nano fabric, list price $199.00 and it's made here in the States not in China! Which brings me to another subject would it be too much to ask to have the country of origin (manufacture) listed somewhere in all the statistics for every product tested? Just wondering.Jul 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm #1631054
I just bought this jacket today for $65 (Red medium, no hood) at the Eddie Bauer in Columbia, MO. I own an 800 fill down Marmont vest and this is the same or better quality. Can't wait to put it to the test.Dec 23, 2011 at 11:14 am #1815350
I received an EB First Ascent sweater last month as a business gift. I've owned a Marmot Zuess for 2 years and have taken it on 2 long backpacking trips. At first I didn't even consider comparing the 2 because I didn't consider EB as a serious player. My son-in-law told me that the First Ascent line is serious stuff, so I started seriously comparing.
I'm impressed. This is a great down sweater with an excellent warmth to weight ration. As others have noted, it's very difficult to accurately compare warmth, but subjectively, this is just as good as the Zuess and weighs 1 oz less. I like the DWR finish on the EB. The best feature is the fleece lined pockets; such a nice treat compared to slippery nylon when your hands are cold.
I'm still not sure which sweater I'm going to take on my next backpacking trip. It's nice to have a choice!
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