Versatile Down Parka for COLD weather…
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Nov 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm #1282120
What I need is a versatile down parka to fit a variety of situations. Something light, cost effective, warm, but would be suitable for daily town use and backpacking for temps between 0 to 15*F (and to supplement my 15*F WM bag in winter), and temps to -20 or so with proper layering as there is a possibility I will be traveling up to Alaska through Canada in early March. I may also get into light mountaineering in the future but the biggest need is a parka to get me through a early season journey to Alaska in frigid temps or in the event I love it so much and settle in South-Central AK for a couple of years ha ha : )
Layers are key and I will probably always be wearing a t-shirt or wool baselayer, fleece midlayer such as the Patagonia R1, and a shell to keep in some of the heat and block wind in near and sub-zero temps. The down parka would go over top of everything or under the shell depending on the situation. I have some waterproof synthetic insulated pants that when layered should be good well into the negatives.
I have glanced around at the offerings of Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Patagonia, and Feathered Friends (which seems out of my league). Would like to stay at $300 or less (hey, Christmas is coming up!). From what I have read, something like the MH Sub Zero may be ideal for my needs.
So all you world travelers and hard core winter hikers, what would you recommend?Nov 18, 2011 at 1:08 am #1803015Trill DaddyBPL Member
I think the Sub Zero SL or the Patagonia Fitz Roy Hoody are exactly what you want.
the Sub Zero SL is going to be more weather resistant (waterproof material, but not seam taped), and cut for a harness.
The Fitz Roy is much lighter, filled with 800 fill down, and has elastic cuffs (Sub Zero has velcro and elastic). the MHW is a more technical piece, and the Fitz Roy is a more casual piece.
Both are going to be warm below 0.
If you want something more casual, go with the Fitz Roy Hoody, you can't go wrong. If you want something more technical, the Sub Zero SL is one of the best values out there. Get it soon, because the newer version (the Chillwave) is rather inferior and more expensive.Nov 18, 2011 at 1:26 am #1803016
whats yr durability need … is something with an UL shell good enough?
if so take a look at the MEC reflex … its lighter and cheaper than any comparable jacket i know off … basically an expedition "warmth" jacket at ~26 oz (14 oz 800 fill)… for < $300Nov 18, 2011 at 1:41 am #1803020Misfit MysticMember
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Here are two suggestions, one lighter, the other heavier, both with 800+ fill power down, both the top choice for warmth in their class:
— Feathered Friends Hooded Helios. Fill weight is 9 oz. total weight 18 oz.
— MEC Reflex parka. Fill weight is 15 oz. total weight is 26 oz.
For comparison, the Patagonia Fitz Roy Hoody has 6.5 oz fill weight, total weight 23 oz.Nov 18, 2011 at 3:49 am #1803031Chris WBPL Member
You might also want to check out the OR Maestro. Not quite as warm as the Reflex (good to about -15 F) but probably fits your needs and it's a true parka.Nov 18, 2011 at 8:39 am #1803072Link .BPL Member
.Nov 18, 2011 at 10:24 am #1803120
Cool, now I am getting somewhere. I used to have a Mont-Bell Alpine Light Parka but got rid of it because it was not warm enough for winter use and was too overkill for most of my 3-season needs (and replaced with one of those cheap Costco Puffys!). For around 10oz more, most of these suggestions appear to have a much higher comparative warmth/down to weight ratio. For reference, I am usually a men's medium for most things but a MontBell "smaller" medium fits me perfectly.
Durability and Technical use: This jacket will be multi-use and needs to hold up to light abuse, such as jumping in and out of vehicles and small aircraft. A UL 15d seems a little fragile without a shell. I would like to do some mountain trips. This is part of the reason I was considering the MH Sub Zero SL (which seems to get good reviews).
Feathered friends is nice but IMO the Helios does not look to be warm enough with only 9oz of down. Same goes for the Patagonia Fitz Roy which seems heavy for such little down compared to the others.
So, my list is as follows from UL/least durable to heavy/durable:
18oz FF Helios
22oz OR Maestro
25oz MEC Reflex
37oz MH Sub Zero SL (still not sure how many oz of 650 fill it has)Nov 18, 2011 at 10:30 am #1803123Link .BPL Member
.Nov 18, 2011 at 10:43 am #1803130
add the eddie bauer peak 15 jacket … they have a few of last years version for $300 or so … its a tad more durable with 22d fabric … they also have a parka for more $$$$
i dont think any of the jackets you listed have very durable fabric except for the sub zero … but then you pay the price for that in weight
the question to ask is will you only be using it on belays and camp … if so durability may be less of an issue
one thing to asks is do you want a double zip if youre wearing a harness ….
another viable alternative is the mammut ambler with a double zip for 239$ … with 10+oz 800 fill with i believe more durable fabricNov 18, 2011 at 10:46 am #1803132Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
What's the down fill weight on the OR Maestro? Anyone know?Nov 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm #1803297
Did some looking and could not find a definite answer to how many ounces of 800 fill the Maestro has. Sent OR a message about it, imagine I won't hear back until next week. This jacket is high on my "very interested" list, in part due to the OR infinite guarantee.Nov 18, 2011 at 9:54 pm #1803302Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I checked around earlier today as well and couldn't find any info on the Maestro fill weight. The Feathered Friends Hooded Helios might be one to consider as well. At 18oz. (size Med) w/ a 9oz. 850+fill and Pertex shell…. pretty hard to beat in terms of weight to warmth. Surprisingly, it is less expensive than both the Patagonia Fitz Roy and OR Maestro, made right in Seattle, WA.
Happy hunting. Please do post the fill weight if OR replies, I'm curious.Nov 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm #1803304David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
Ryan, I bumped a thread on the Reflex for you. I've been extremely impressed with mine. The fabric is thin, but I'm not at all convinced the much thicker of the Sub Zero makes a difference. I have a circa 2002 Sub Zero, and I believe the Reflex is warmer than the Sub ever was.Nov 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm #1803309
@ Eugene: I will be sure to post back OR's answer about the Maestro (if they reply).
@ David: Thanks for bumping that thread, the Reflex may be warmer than I though and is very good for the price. The OP was even calculating using it with a sleeping bag to obtain sub zero sleep comfort, something I am very interested in doing with my 15*F WM bag that would already be going with me to AK for 3-season use.
@ Eric: A double zip for belay use is not critical right now but I may get into that in the future. Therefore, I would like to get a suitable jacket for that type of use now rather than getting another one later.
I looked at the FF Helios but think that the Volant jacket with the optional hood may be more "expedition worthy", especially when combined with the Volant pants. This could be a good system to build upon if I get into some serious trips later on.
My Westcomb eVent shell has treated me very well and I see they too have a high loft jacket, the Kokanee Hoody at 20 ounces. Not sure how many oz of 850 down it has yet but they are marketing it as an expedition worthy insulator suitable for yuppies from what I gather. This may be a good solution if it could be sized to fit over my medium Specter LT hoody but it is fragile with the Pertex Quantum shell and may not be warm enough. But hey, I do like those "Made in Canada" logos, just like the "Made in USA" FF and WM.
EDIT: I see Eric did a review of the Westcomb last year, it does not appear to be up to par for what I need with an Iclo of only ~3.22 compared to the MEC Reflex with a Iclo of ~7.91 (wow!).
Choices… I need to find something good with the 20% off coupons floating around for the holiday season! Just gotta keep my goal in perspective: a quality multi-purpose light insulator that can take me down to around -20 with the right layers.Nov 19, 2011 at 12:03 am #1803315
the kokanee is not in the same class as the reflex … its a nice jacket, but i kinda wish i had gotten the reflex instead for a bit more weight and the same price (i got the kokanee on sale) … i do however look quite stylish in it (wont say yuppie cause no one recognizes the stealrh westcomb logo) and it does have a double zip
i bought a non-sl sub zero parka for my uncle … the reflex blows that out of the water as far as i can tell from trying it in the store and from people i know who have one
for longer length jackets and parkas, a double zip is a good idea if youll be wearing it over a harness for longer periods … not absolutely needed, but usefulNov 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm #1803414Patrick YoungBPL Member
Talked to CS at Outdoor Research yesterday and they said that the large Maestro has 240g or 8.4 oz of down at 22.2oz weight.
Looks like a great deal.
What would the Iclo be for that or the thermal neutral temp.?Nov 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm #1803419drowning in spamMember
That MEC parka looks amazing. I don't need it, but now I really want one.Nov 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm #1803438Paul HopeMember
I have been extremely impressed with my with my First Ascent Mountain Guide Hooded Jacket, full retail is $280 but Eddie Bauer constantly have sales and so it is very easily snagged for 20% off and if you live close to an EB Outlet you could probably find a deeper discount. If you want something even warmer then look at the Peak XV which is currently $300.
Anyway my usual layering system is:
-Patagonia R1 (Baselayer)
-First Ascent Downlight sweater (mid-layer)
-Patagonia Hooded Guide Jacket
-First Ascent Mountain Guide Hooded Jacket
-Various baselayer depending on conditions
-First Ascent Mountain Guide Pants (No longer available except the 'light' version)
-FF Volant Pant.
I am pretty warm using this to overnight in down to about -15degF when being inactive and comfortable enough when it is +40deg.Nov 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm #1804125
OR replied to me that the Maestro has approximately 8.5oz of down (which concurs Patrick's inquiry).
The MEC Reflex is at the top of my list at this point with 15oz of down for it's 25oz weight. Price is pretty good as well. Given the weight and cost of the OR Maestro, I personally would go for the US made Feathered Friends Volant. Maybe an EB Peak XV will come up cheap after the holidays.
Thanks for the advice!Nov 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm #1804139patrick walshMember
I did not read the OP all the way so i am kinda just kidding.
I have a EB Peak XV and it is sweat. Way more coat than i ever really need though. If i had it to do again i would go with either the FF Volant with a sewn in hood or a FF Frontpoint.
With that said i could do it again and kinda did already? I went with a Arcteryx Atom Lt and a Arxteryx Atom SV. I am waiting on the Arcteryx Dually to come back in stock. Imop the various layering options and combos of the three pieces of gear is way more useful than any one down coat could ever be. Add to that the weight to warmth being about the same for say the Atom LT and SV combo of either the Dually, Volant or the PEak XV and i am sold. Plus synthetic compresses unreal these days and you can wear in whipping spindrift and not worry about it getting wet!!
My two cents.
Get a Feathered Friends bag as that is what they really do right!!!Nov 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm #1804238Richard FischelBPL Member
my ff hooded volant. the sizing is a little funky and mine is two sizes bigger than i would nomally wear. this gives me room to layer under and longer back length. it's not parka length, but it's a great compromise. i'm good to go with it in the lower 48 properly layered. thru extrapolation i'm thinking the clo is around 6. if you keep watch on ebay you can find them for south of $200.
i also have a wild things belay jacket. there are circumstances where the synthetic jacket is a better choice even if it is not as warm, heavier and less compactable.Nov 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm #1804257Stamati AnagnostouMember
@yeoldehipsterLocale: New England
Anyone have any experience/scuttlebutt on the Montane North Star? Looks like a more highly featured jacket and warm for about the same price or less than some of the ones here.Nov 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm #1804283patrick walshMember
Ordered from Backcountry and returned it after a couple months with it. It shed a good amount of down from day one. The zipper got stuck all the time or was hard to start or both cant remember. And the DWR or shell sucks as i got a cuff wet and it never lofted in that area again.
The cut and styling are great though. For that reason and only that reason i kinda did not want to return it. It was pretty darn warm also for my 3-4 hour daily New England winter dog walks..
I would say do not buy this coat. Even for i think the $178 i paid it was not worth it.Nov 22, 2011 at 9:24 am #1804383nanook ofthenorthBPL Member
I'd say the Relex looks like the best option.
I have a Peak XV and love it – in part for its durability. I also have a BR Alpini Hoody, my take is that it is a step up from the MB in warmth, and that with a R1 fleece and R2 vest or nanopuff there is no need for a heavier jacket until about -15C
That said – just saw this if it makes it easier — http://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=41782Nov 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm #1804467Trill DaddyBPL Member
I mean, define durability. Anything less than 40 denier doesn't seem good enough for any remote bushwhacking, at least in the Rockies.
The Marmot Mountain Down is another burly, warm jacket. Waterproof, burly material. Not seam taped though.
I suggest you go with the DAS. It's really a great jacket, but I didn't like the way it fit compared to the Fitz Roy, even when I sized down.
The Rab Neutrino is another really great jacket to look at, but get the Neutrino Plus. The regular one is sewn through, and not as warm.
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