An ultralight sleeping system - consisting of an ultralight down mummy-style sleeping bag, down pants, and down jacket - is a core component of an ultralight backpacking gear kit, and it requires careful planning so the components are coordinated with each other and appropriate for the expected conditions. Such a system minimizes weight while providing maximum warmth and versatility without compromising safety or comfort.

There are definitely a lot more of these jackets around since our last review of lightweight down jackets in 2005. And they differ across a broad scale, ranging from minimalist jackets with a very high loft to weight ratio to multi-purpose jackets that balance light weight, warmth, and utility. This article on ultralight down jackets (in three parts) is the last of three coordinated articles covering the insulated components of an ultralight three-season sleeping system capable of handling colder temperatures.

The complete set of articles in this series is:

Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010

Ultralight Down Pants: Light, Warm, and Versatile

Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 - Part 1: Overview and State-of-the-Art Analysis

Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 - Part 2: Seriously Lightweight Down Jackets

Ultralight Three-Season Down Jackets State of the Market Report 2010 – Part 3: Multi-Purpose Three-Season Down Jackets (this article)


  • Overview
  • Summary of Parts 1 and 2
  • Introduction to Part 3
  • Multi-Purpose Three-Season Down Jackets - A Balancing Act
  • Selection Criteria
  • The Jackets
  • Comparative Specifications - Multi-Purpose Three-Season Down Jackets
  • Comparative Specifications - Measured and Calculated Data
  • Specifications Discussion
  • Jacket Warmth
  • Evaluation Criteria
    • Light Weight
    • Loft
    • Loft:Weight Ratio
    • Fill Weight:Jacket Weight Ratio
    • Lightweight Features
    • Value
  • Ratings - Multi-Purpose Three-Season Down Jackets
  • Standouts Based on Functional Design
    • Shell Fabric
  • Standouts Based on Individual Situations and Needs
    • Lightest and Warmest
    • Lightest With an Essential Feature Set
    • Lightest and Full-Featured
    • Roomy Fit
    • More Weather-Resistant
    • Best Balance
    • Best Value
    • Author's Favorites
  • Backpacking Light Ratings
  • Overview of Individual Jackets
  • Summary and Future Prognosis
  • Acknowledgements

# WORDS: 7680
# PHOTOS: 24

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