Jun 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm #1260431
Companion forum thread to:Jun 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm #1622462
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
Yowzers Will & Janet, you've really outdone yourself with this series. There's an amazing amount of information to digest—prior to deciding which jacket I can't live without :-)
RickJun 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm #1622504
Thank you for working so hard on this!Jun 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm #1622505
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
GREAT WORK… thank you!Jun 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm #1622507
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
THIS is the sort of stuff that keep me a member here. Thanks a million!!Jun 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm #1622529
@hotrhoddudeguyLocale: New England
I can only echo what others had said so far, very useful and very informative. I wasn't so sure how I felt about the endless jacket reviews but now I see that the end result is a very focused, very useful State of the Market Report, as usual from Will and Janet!Jun 22, 2010 at 6:30 pm #1622543
@climber72Locale: At my desk
I broke a sweat just skimming the major points on this article – many thanks indeed for such thoughtful and methodical work. This series of articles alone has made the cost of a subscription well worth it… To wit, I am one of those people who do not yet own a nice point and shoot digital camera due to the format getting better every other month – but with articles like this, you have made my down garment purchasing decisions easy!!!
Cheers!Jun 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm #1622558
@lindahlbLocale: Colorado Rockies
I sent an email not too long ago about adding a hood for the FF Hyperion. They said they have a pattern and could make one for about a $60 cost premium and 3-4oz weight premium – so essentially, you can get a hooded version.
Also, interesting how once a windshirt is added, the Western Mountaineering Flash Hooded Jacket is warmer than the Montbell Alpine Light Jacket. I never would have guessed that. Did I really read those charts accurately? If so, it seems like a real gem – most backpackers will have a windproof shell of some sort.Jun 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm #1622559
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
One of the best articles (for providing useful info) that I've read in awhile!
Thank you!Jun 22, 2010 at 8:37 pm #1622574
@hotrhoddudeguyLocale: New England
My guess with the Flash Hooded being warmer is that many small quilted boxes may trap more air in between the windshirt and the jacket than one broad seam running across, and perhaps be more inert, and more insulating.Jun 22, 2010 at 8:57 pm #1622580
@elf773Locale: Vancouver, BC
Has anyone tried wearing a down jacket under an shell? (specifically of interest to me is a shell made of Event fabric)
The Montbell Ex would be perfect.
Hate being too warm though. Wondering if I should just get a vest. I'd like to be able to use it for snowboarding/backpacking emergency warmth.
Love my Event shell. Thin piece of plastic but it's quite warm and breaths really well. Not sure how well the ballistic nylon breaths.Jun 23, 2010 at 4:33 am #1622627
So where does the EB First Ascent Downlight fit into all of this? I was surprised to not see it in your list! Especially since you just reviewed it in March and it seems to be in line with a few of the other jackets. I just bought a LT, but also have a MB Alpine Light Parka that is new in package and can't decide which of the two to keep.
The Downlight is a pretty sharp looking jacket in the slate and is on clearance for $95 plus and additional 15% off coupon. Really hard to beat that price even though I got the MB on sale!!
But it seems like the Alpine light will be warmer for not much more weight (~2-3 oz) and the XL fits about the same as the LT in the Downlight. The hood on the MB is a bonus as I would probably need to get a balaclava to wear with the Downlight. So my savings would be eliminated. However having the balaclava separate would give me a lot more diversity.
Too bad I can't just have all of the above! Can anybody persuade me one way or the other??Jun 23, 2010 at 6:49 am #1622643
Martin RJ CarpenterMember
Yes this is really, truly fascinating. Certainly shows how useful a standardised measurement regime for insulating clothing could be.
Mildly comforting to know that minature baffles aren't always as damaging to overall warmth as they are to loft.
Still that test is systematically biased in their favour – they've got rather a lot more seam area than normally baffled things but everything is getting a 50/50 mixture in the overall 'temperature' measurement. Could be a non trivial effect this?
Ideally I guess the average should be proportional to the quantity of seams, although I appreciate it'd be an ugly thing to work out :)
Also wonder if the halo did SO horribly in the warmth test because the 'quilt' areas were too small to contain the overall area measured for warmth? They're certainly very small.
(actually this could be a non trivial source of error in measuring things with thin baffles.).
Windshirts over stuff sounds fine but would I think make for a rather annoyingly baggy windshirt in normal use :)Jun 23, 2010 at 7:40 am #1622657
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
If it was so cold that the down jacket alone wasn't doing the trick, I would just wear my rain shell over the down. I wouldn't be moving much, so perspiration wouldn't be a big issue.Jun 23, 2010 at 7:58 am #1622662
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
Sizing to accomodate layers is what I use. I have a Hyperion Vest thats a MED, a Hyperion Jacket in LRG, and an EPIC wind jacket that is XL so that in extreme cold I can layer up with all of them. I also have the same EPIC wind shell (Wild Things) in a LRG for use over just the vest or jacket.Jun 23, 2010 at 8:51 am #1622670
Had all the jackets been similar in design, the way jacket warmth was measured would have more meaning for me. Unlike the other jackets reviewed, however, the WM Flash has a hood. I would think that since a considerable percentage of body heat escapes through the head — and the measure of jacket warmth didn’t adjust for this fact — the WM Flash would likely be warmer than the report estimates.
I loved the report, however. Thorough articles such as this are one of the reasons I became a BPL member.Jun 23, 2010 at 10:23 am #1622706
"I would think that since a considerable percentage of body heat escapes through the head"
Don't agree. I will use Wills own words:
"First, let’s deal with the myth: “If your feet are cold, cover your head because you can lose up to 75% of your body heat through your head alone.” Yes, it’s a myth, and we believed it ourselves for many years. The head is only about 10% of the body’s surface area, and it would have to lose about 40 times more heat per unit area compared to the rest of the body for this statement to be true.
The folks at the Wilderness Medicine Institute ran an experiment on student volunteers and found the rate of heat loss is relatively the same for any exposed part of the body. A person does not lose heat significantly faster through the scalp than any other portion of the body with the same surface area. The idea that we lose heat 4000% faster through our head, because of the constant blood supply to the brain, is simply a myth."
Still I like the hood on the Flash and also combined with a BPL Beartooth top I don't need a warm hat outside of winter. The flash keeps my head warm in camp and the Beartooth on the trail with its hood.Jun 23, 2010 at 10:39 am #1622710
If you are hypothermic, the amount of heat lost through your head is higher, because the body cuts down circulation to the rest of your body. I'm sure it's still nowhere near 75%, but worth considering that it's very important to insulate your head when hypothermic.Jun 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm #1622736
Wow… you're right!Jun 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm #1622744
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Thanks for the very complete reviews and comparison tables. Makes me feel good about my recent down "sweater" purchase.
I JUST got my first light down jacket yesterday, an Eddie Bauer First Ascent Downlight Sweater. Interestingly my only other down garment was also an Eddie Bauer medium weight jacket I bought in the '70s, back in the day when Eddie Bauer WAS Eddie Bauer. It lasted 15 years betweeen me and my buddy that bought it from me.
At $103. W/ shipping & Nevada sales tax the Downlite Sweater was a good buy on sale at $84. It looks like the RAB jacket W/O the chest pocket and has 800 fill down. Very well made and, of course, very packable.
It will make a good companion for my WM Megalite 30 F. sleeping bag on those cold nights in high valleys in the Sierras and Rockies, not to mention the cold mornings in the 20s.
It was the "missing link" in my lightweight backpacking gear.Jun 23, 2010 at 1:04 pm #1622749
I own the MB Alpine Light Parka. Similar to the MB Alpine Light Jacket but with a hood. I do as much mountaineering as backpacking and choose the MB Parka for its hood and two internal drop pockets which will fit a 2L platypus. Useful for stopping water freezing on summit day.
I dont think any of the other jackets have this feature as standard.
I really rate the MB alpine light parka and layered it with a MB Thermawrap for Aconcagua. Both items weighed 750g.
I am currently considering a Nunatak Skaha Plus with hood and customised internal pockets and a montbell ex light. This would be around 460g for the combo.
Does anyone have experience of the MB ex light. I am concerned that the hip belt of my pack may destroy the down in the kidney area where the weight is. How does it hold up to wear and tear?Jun 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm #1622757
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
"I am currently considering a Nunatak Skaha Plus with hood and customised internal pockets and a montbell ex light. This would be around 460g for the combo."
This is the combo I use in deepest winter, with a windshell thrown over the top as well. However, I would not usually wear BOTH garments AND a pack, but would probably just wear the Skaha and save wear and tear on the EX light. The Ex-light is sized to fit over the Skaha.
I agree about not counting the hood as extra warmth, as most folks who don't have a hooded jacket would be carrying something else to wear on their head, so warmth wise it should all even out. However it would only be fair to give the hooded jackets a small break for their weight, as they would obviously weigh less without the hood while providing the same torso warmth.Jun 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm #1622769
Martin RJ CarpenterMember
Well a fair number (most?) of the jackets tested have hooded relatives/options. RAB/PhD certainly. Matter of taste/intended use of course but seems a good use of the 30-40g invested to me :)
(Slightly odd that WM don't seem to offer options cf hoods or not actually.)Jun 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm #1622789
I never considered layering the ex lite over. I can think of one problem in that normally i only use the "heavy" down jacket around camp and the ex lite layered over has no pockets.Jun 24, 2010 at 7:28 pm #1623163
@kd7kmpLocale: Wasatch Mountains
I recently purchased, and was able to use for the first time last week, the Eddie Bauer First Ascent Downlight Sweater. I used while camping with my Boy Scouts in the southern Wasatch Mountains of Utah. We were at about 7000 feet elevation in a small canyon. I was sleeping in my Sierra Designs Nitro 30 and was sleeping on an uninsulated, blow-up air mattress. It was unseasonably cold the first few nights we were there. The first night the temperature got down to just below 30*. I was only wearing a very thin baselayer. I was just ever so slightly chilled when laying on my back. The second night was around 25* and I wore my EB sweater. It worked like a charm! I stayed nice and warm all night. The best part is I got the EB sweater for less then a C-note with shipping and tax due to year-end clearance.
Just two days ago I purchased the same thing but in vest format. I'm sure it will be used even more than the sweater. I have an EB Yukon down vest that I use ALL the time during winter here in Utah. The Downlight vest will most likely replace the Yukon due to it's lighter weight and more compact package. I got the vest for around $70, shipped. Quite the value.
I suppose the moral of all this is to let you all know that I really am impressed with the EB down outerwear. I also would like to thank Will and Janet for their great work. I have made several wonderful purchases based on their reviews. Keep it coming!
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