The Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket packs a lot of loft and a few nice features into an 11.5-ounce (measured, size large) package. It hasn’t changed much since being introduced a couple of years back. Is it still among the leaders in ultralight down jackets?
- It’s warm – 3.7 inches of double layer loft
- It’s light – 11.5 ounces, size large
- Cozy handwarmer pockets
- Good quality construction
What’s Not So Good
- Shell fabric leaks a bit of down
|Full zip jacket|
|Size XL 13.0 oz (368 g), size L 11.5 oz (326 g), size M 9.9 oz (280 g) Backpacking Light measured; manufacturer’s specification 10.5 oz (298 g)|
|0.9 oz/yd2 (31 g/m2) taffeta shell|
|850 plus fill power goose down|
|3.7 in (9.4 cm) double layered, measured|
|Sewn through construction, full front zipper, elastic cuffs, elastic drawcord hem, handwarmer pockets, down filled draft tube, down filled collar|
* Loft is a weighted average of the maximum double layer loft in the torso and sleeves. Torso loft is double weighted.
The Western Mountaineering Flight jacket has been my constant companion in cold weather over the past couple of seasons. I’ve subjected it to desert sands and cactus, high mountain climbing, weeks of hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, and a lot of cold nights in my sleeping bag. About the only thing I haven’t done to it is have it out in a lot of heavy rain. I’ve been cursed with good weather most of the time.
The Flight jacket packs 3.7 inches of loft into an 11.5 ounce package. I’ve been very comfortable wearing this jacket on many occasions with temperatures below 25 °F. Under those conditions I usually wear a light base layer and a synthetic vest, such as the Patagonia Micro Puff vest, under the Flight jacket. That’s a very warm combination for low exertion times such as early morning and late evening. The draft tube and collar on the Flight are generously stuffed with down and are significant additions to warmth under windy conditions. Like most down jackets, the shell of the Flight jacket is essentially windproof, although wind can enter through the bottom if the drawcord is not adjusted.
I’ve used the Flight jacket as part of a sleep system regularly for the past couple of years. The warmth of the Flight translates very well into a sleep system. I have used the Flight with a very low loft sleeping bag (40-50 degree bag) and ventured down well below freezing. My feet get cold, but the rest of me stays toasty. In Peru this summer, the Flight jacket performed nearly as well as the Nunatak Skaha Plus in our sleep systems, primarily losing out because it lacks a hood. Other jackets tested on that trip were not as warm or comfortable as these two jackets. The light, comfortable fabric and lightweight, low bulk zippers on the Flight add to comfort in a cramped mummy bag.
The author and his daughter, jacket testing on a cool morning at 15,600 feet in the Cordillera Vilcanota, Peruvian Andes. Ausangate (20,948 ft) in the background. The author (right) in the Flight jacket and stylish Peruvian hat.