Sep 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm #1239024
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I just noticed when I went to Mont-Bell's website that their popular UL Down Inner Jacket said "new" in the corner of the picture. The jacket looks the same to me, but the weight went up from 6.9oz in a medium to 7.3oz in a medium. It still has 2oz of 800 fill down.
This is the first I have heard of a change in this jacket that is so popular here (I have one too). Could this fall into the trend of many UL manufactures making things heavier?Sep 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm #1524617
Hmm….I'll have to check this out. I was on the Montbell site 2 days ago and the weight was 6.9oz. I wonder if the parka was updated too.Sep 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm #1524623
Montbell currently has both the old and new versions of the jacket and parka on their site. Cosemetically, the baffles now angle up instead of being totally horizontal.
The price of the jacket went up $5 to $150. The weight went up 0.4oz to 7.3oz and it has 0.1oz more down.
The parka went up from 7.5oz to 9.0oz and the down went from 2.1oz to 2.5oz.
The only info on the other differences is:
"Updated with a softer, quieter, less shiny face fabric the UL Down garments offer the same function and versatility without the “techie” look".
The color black has been dropped.
Montbell also added a new down jacket, the U.L. Tec Down jkt, which has more down (2.9oz vs. 2.0oz) but it weighs 11.3oz.Sep 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm #1524631
The new versions also have the 100 wash rated DWR which is nice. I think these new jkts have actually already been listed in some online stores for a bit because I've seen these jkts with the new baffle look when I was shopping online in the past few days.
I like the new DWR, less shiny fabric and 0.1oz extra down. This is probably worth a 0.4oz penalty. What I dont understand is why the parka gains 1.5oz. It has 0.4oz extra down, but there's still another 1.1oz to be accounted for.Sep 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm #1524640
Parka adds an adjustable waist and hood.Sep 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm #1524645
Oddly the womens UL Down Inner Jacket adds .1 oz down and drops in weight from 6.3 oz to 6.1 oz.Sep 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm #1524646
n/mSep 2, 2009 at 4:38 pm #1524649
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
I wonder if they've changed the sizing on their US line of jackets (once again). When they launched the "new" line a couple of years ago, they sized everything down one size from what it was previously (so the jackets appeared to gain a zipper and hand-warmer pockets without gaining weight). Maybe they've decided to restore their original sizing??Sep 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm #1524660
That was my thought. It does say US int he title so maybe that explains the sizing and weight.Sep 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm #1524663
The parka got an extra 0.4oz of down, but I don't see any explanation for the other 1.1oz.
The hem and hood on the parka is now adjustable, which is a good thing IMO. The extra weight must come from the cords and cord locks. I'm sure they haven't changed the sizing — too confusing for customers. (Yes, they did it once, but that was to bring the sizing more in line with standard US sizes. And they did it across the entire line of garments, not just a few of them.)Sep 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm #1524666
I actually purchased a Montbell Alpinelite from e-omc a couple weeks ago. I originally was look at the UL Down Inner but was persuaded to get the warmer of the two. In any event, speaking with one of the employees there, he told me that they were in fact changing the fit of the UL down inner line. Apparently people weren't crazy about the "athletic fit" so they are going to make the them a littler looser to allow for additional layering. That just what I heard.Sep 2, 2009 at 6:39 pm #1524668
Apparently people weren't crazy about the "athletic fit" so they are going to make the them a littler looser to allow for additional layering.
Nooooooo! I hope not! There is no way I would call the down inner jacket fit "athletic". In my mind it is already loose fitting. It fits tightly around the arms, but around the torso I find there is too much room already (which is why I would like the adjustable hem).
I find that Patagonia and Icebreaker both have an athletic fit which is quite a bit slimmer than Montbell jackets.Sep 2, 2009 at 6:42 pm #1524669
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
"Apparently people weren't crazy about the "athletic fit" so they are going to make the them a littler looser to allow for additional layering. That just what I heard."
Well, people certainly weren't happy with the downsizing of the jackets just to give them more features at "the same weight". Still, it would be a lot less confusing if they gave us actual garment measurements instead of just XS,S,M,L,XL AND XXL. It even explicitly says sizes are based on body measurements, NOT actual garment size. I want to know garment size so I can buy based on my personal layering needs etc…Sep 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm #1524670
It even explicitly says sizes are based on body measurements, NOT actual garment size.
Almost all manufacturers do it that way don't they? Agree that it makes it more difficult to guess for layering though.Sep 2, 2009 at 7:41 pm #1524679
I'm home from work now, so I can pick over the details a bit more. Here's all the info on the jkt/parka changes that I can find.
1) The description has been changed slightly to add the word 'style' in:
"The challenge: create the lightest and warmest insulation layer possible, without compromising on fit, features, or style."
This indicates they may have changed the cut of the parka/jkt.
2) The description now reads that it blocks a 'deceptive amount of wind' whereas it used to read 'amazing amount of wind'. This seems trivial
3) Hood and Hem are now adjustable as mentioned (only for parka).
4) New shell fabric that is "softer, quieter, less shiny" and that offers "the same function and versatility without the “techie” look". I'm not sure why they are hating on the 'techie look' but I do like the sound of less shiny.
4) Parka colors are olive green and rust. Black and paprika are gone.
Jacket still available in gunmetal (grey) and royal blue. Black, Paprika, Olive Green and Chestnut colors are gone.
5) New 100 wash rated Polkatex DWR vs. 'standard DWR treatment' for old jkt/parka.
6) Jacket unchanged with 2.0oz of down (I was wrong previously when I said it gained 0.1oz). Parka does gain 0.4oz of down.
7) Jacket gains 0.4oz of weight to 7.3oz. Parka gains 1.6oz of weight to rise to 9.0oz.
8) As observed in photos, the 'Montbell' logo/name is now located on the thigh instead of on the wrist.
9) The elastic edges on the sleeves and hood are now less obvious (and less elastic?)
Here's some pictures (old and then new):Sep 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm #1524682
With these updates, the comparison between the U.L. Down inner parka and the Western Mountaineering Flash jkt gets a lot closer.
The Flash still has more down (3oz vs. 2.5oz) but the gap has narrowed considerably. Both garments weigh the same (9oz) but the MontBell has an adjustable hem and hood. The MontBell is also $95 cheaper ($165 vs. $260).
If price isn't an issue, then it comes down to whether you want more down or more adjustability. If price is an issue, then the Montbell is the clear winner.Sep 2, 2009 at 7:55 pm #1524686
I ordered a olive green parka in medium :)Sep 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm #1524876
There's a bit of a glitch on the Montbell website right now, but the men's parka is also available in a color called 'RB/CB' or 'Royal Blue / Charcoal Black'. The code RB/CB appears when you select a size but no color appears and you can't add it to your cart. I heard back from Montbell that this is indeed another color and it will be available as soon as the website glitch is fixed.
The color is royal blue in the main body and charcoal on the sides & underarms supposedly.Sep 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm #1524924
Bah! I have last year's model! Great updates, takes care of every critique I have on the jacket.Sep 11, 2009 at 3:40 pm #1526967
I got my Montbell Parka today. It's the newly revised parka in Men's size Medium. Color is Olive Green.
First off, I tried it on. I am 5'11, 160lbs and to my relief the fit is good (I hate ordering expensive clothes online). The length in the sleeves is good. Shoulders fit well and the chest is a bit roomy, but that's probably good because I only have a tee shirt on underneath.
The length of the jacket is just long enough. If you are any taller than me, I would opt for a bigger size. The only area that wasn't perfect was the waist which was a little big (photo 1) but that was easily adjustable with the new waist cinch cord. Here's a photo of the cord without the waist tightened.
With the waist cinched, the fit was good. To cinch the waist you can lift up the hem near the main zip and tighten the cords, or you can tighten them by putting your hands in the front pockets and pulling on the bungie cords there. The bungie cords enter the pockets in the inner corner so you can actually tighten/loosen the waist hem without taking your hands out of the pockets. Kind of a neat feature. This is the easiest way to adjust it, but it does mean there is about 4 inches of bungie in each pocket. This probably adds a 0.1oz or so.
Notice how the length is borderline long enough. Some might prefer a longer jacket but this is normally how I wear my jackets so I'm happy with this.
Two more views:
The waist adjustment is definately an appreciated feature, although I would be happy without it IF the waist was tighter. They would need to reduce the circumference of the waist by about 4-5" to fit me nicely without a cinch cord. I would be okay with this jacket as is without the cinch, but it's certainly appreciated.
The hood cinch seems less essential, but perhaps I won't feel that way when I'm caught in really cold weather. The hood fits well without any cinch if I do the zip all the way up. There is an adjustment on the back of the hood that lets you control how much 'beak the hood has. This works well.
As you can see in the second photo of the back of the jacket, there is stretchy triangles of fabric at the wrists. For me, the wrists are not tight enough to start stretching these areas, but someone with larger wrists may find this gives a nice seal.
Now for the exciting part….how much does it weigh? On my scale, the parka without fabric tags removed weighs 242g or 8.52oz. Montbell claims 9oz for size medium, so my parka is about 1/2 oz under spec, which I guess is good.
The supplied stuff sack weighs 7g (0.25oz) and is a good fit. It matches the color of the jacket which is nice. The size of the parka stuffed is slightly bigger than a rolled NeoAir. It seems about as long as a 1L Nalgene, but a bit thinner.
Using a digital caliper, I measured the loft of one of the chest baffles at 1.1" or 28mm….pretty good! This is the loft at the peak height of the baffle. There is a bit of variation between baffles, but the main baffles all seem to be between 3/4" to 1.1".Sep 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm #1526979
I just checked out my wife's Down Inner Parka (size small), which is the older style because she really wanted black. Here's a couple differences I noticed:
– The new parka does not have the pockets inside the jacket
– The fabric of the new parka is noticeably less crinkly, softer and a little bit less shiny. I still consider both of them to be fairly shiny.
– With the elastic around the wrists gone and replaced with just a triangle of stretchy fabric on the underside, the wrists seem to fit looser. They still fit well, but they aren't tight to your wrists like the older parka seems like it would be. Kinda hard to say though because the womens small is obviously way too small for me.
– The loft my parka is noticably higher….I'm speculating here but I would say mine has about 50% more loft. I didn't measure, but hers seems to be about 0.5" to 0.75", whereas mine is 0.75" to 1.1".
– Weight is 196g or 6.9oz which I believe is right on spec.Sep 11, 2009 at 6:37 pm #1527044
Thanks for the excellent review Dan.
The waist adjustment is definately an appreciated feature, although I would be happy without it IF the waist was tighter. They would need to reduce the circumference of the waist by about 4-5" to fit me nicely without a cinch cord.
Sounds similar to the old version… I wish they would make it a slimmer fit. Too much wasted space which isn't good when you are trying to keep warm. Their fit-models are obviously more generously proportioned than us.
It's the combination of "short" and "wide" that I find weird. They've really skimped on the length of the jacket, but have given far more width than necessary. At least you've got the waist cinch cord.
The new parka does not have the pockets inside the jacket
Not sure what you mean here. It has pockets doesn't it? Or are you saying that they are not insulated?
With the elastic around the wrists gone and replaced with just a triangle of stretchy fabric on the underside, the wrists seem to fit looser
That's a pity. The one thing I really like about my inner jacket is that the arms fit pretty nicely. I like the fact that it closes reasonably tightly around my wrists to stop air coming in.
Well, I won't be rushing out to buy it. If I was buying a new one I would go for the recent version though. I really wish they would make an alternative "slim fit" jacket. Like you say, if it were narrower the waist cord wouldn't even be necessary and I'm sure it would be warmer.
At some stage I'll try modding my existing jacket to make it narrower.Sep 11, 2009 at 7:32 pm #1527055
"Not sure what you mean here. It has pockets doesn't it? Or are you saying that they are not insulated?"
My wife's parka (which is the old version) has the 2 pockets on the outside but then it ALSO has 2 more pockets on the inside of the jacket. These pockets are right behind the outside pockets, but they accessed only from the inside of the coat. Does that make sense?
This is the womens version, so perhaps the mens version never had these? Regardless, my parka does not have pockets on the inside and hers does.
One recommendation I have for Montbell (besides the width issue) is to make one of the pockets into the stuff sack. It would rather store the jacket by stuffing it into one of the pockets than I would by having to find a stuff sack and put it there….plus that's extra weight to carry both the stuff sack and the pockets when the pocket could double as the stuff sack. The pockets probably aren't big enough right now and they'd need a zip or cinch cord, but that would still be lighter than carrying the jacket and 7g stuff sack. I think the WM Flash jacket has a breast pocket that it stuffs into.Sep 15, 2009 at 9:51 pm #1527948
I've had this new parka for a few days now and I'd have some time to get to know it a bit better now that I've been wearing it everywhere.
1) The new fabric is indeed signficantly softer, less shiny and quieter (less crinkly) than the old fabric. My wife ordered the older version of the Parka so it was easy to compare. At first I didn't realize how significant this was, but today we were out for a hike and was really noticing how much less shiny mine is and how much quieter it is.
2) The new hood adjusters are weird. There is a velcro flap on the back of the hood that works well in controlling how much the hood hangs over your face (ie. how much beak it has). The actual bungie adjusters around the face opening are hard to use though. The adjusters are tucked up in the fabric is sort of a tube. I haven't been able to adjust them while wearing the jacket. Maybe I'm just missing something, but it seems like you need to take the jacket off and then fiddle with these because they are so hard to use. That's not really ideal when you are falling asleep at night but want the hood a bit tighter….and that's pretty much the only time I would bother to tighten the hood because it fits well normally with no adjustments.
3) I'm thrilled with how warm this parka is. My parka has significantly more loft that my wife's parka which is the older version. This parka is pretty darn warm. I would say warmer than any fleece…perhaps by a factor of 2.Sep 30, 2009 at 4:03 pm #1531917
After returning the old version because it was too short, my wife ordered the new version after MontBell said the cut was about 1 inch longer. This arrived today.
The cut is indeed longer. I would say the new parka is a solid 2 inches longer. The old one was too short and the new one fits perfectly.
The weight for the new version is 191g (6.7oz) vs. 196g (6.9oz) for the old one. That's sweet! Less weight, more down (hopefully), better fit and an adjustable waist and hood. The loft looks to be at least as much as her old jkt. Maybe a bit little more…
The new parka still has the two interior pockets which are making me a smidge jealous since the men's version doesn't have them. It's not a big deal, but these are nice deep pockets that I'm sure will come in handy.
I wish they made this women's parka in more colors than rust and dark mallard. My wife got the dark mallard and it's a nice color. She wouldn't have choose it if there was other nice options though.
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