The Nunatak Skaha Apex is our highest rated windproof synthetic insulated jacket. Even though the jacket costs less than its closest competitors, it is custom-made in Utah. We highly recommend the Skaha Apex to anyone who wants the either the best fitting jacket or the highest warmth to weight ratio.
The Patagonia DAS is our highest rated synthetic insulated winter-weight parka. Frequent revisions have created a stunningly effective jacket for expeditions that cross multiple climates and for overnight alpine climbs and backcountry trips where a wet down parka would force you to bail, or worse. Despite a suite of expedition features, the premium insulation and light fabrics keep the DAS lightweight at only 22 oz. in men’s medium. This parka performs so well and is offered at such a reasonable price that we feel it’s the only warm synthetic insulated parka worth buying.
This Patagonia Nano Air Light Review features one of the highest performing hoodies on the market, especially for active use in cool conditions. This one’s a fleece-killer.
This Rab Nimbus review summarizes the jacket’s performance and compares it to others in its class while using it on a number of mountaineering and trekking expeditions in Alaska and other parts of North America.
The Rab Xenon X used to be the best all-purpose lightweight synthetic insulated jacket on the market. Over the last seven years, the author has used the Xenon and Xenon X for some fantastic outdoor adventures: a 35-day traverse of Alaska’s Brooks Range, climbing Denali, Half Dome, and El Cap, and other things. Though the Xenon X performs above average in our tests, a variety of other jackets now offer superior performance.
A summary of gear that I’ve used in 2017, and enthusiastically recommend for lightweight backpackers this holiday season.