15 comments on “Ultralight shopping– Down Jackets

  1. How about Nunatak or Feathered Friends. Pricey, but well made, great loft, and you can add extra down if you like. You can’t go wrong with WM or GoLite, heck even Montbell if it fits. Personally, I’d probably go with the Bitterroot and I’d avoid Rab products only because they seem to come up my armpits too much (good quality though). Good luck.

  2. I bought the Western Mountaineering Hooded Flash this spring and have been using it since. I use it frequently even when not camping. I love it. I bought it due my satisfaction with using their down sleeping bags. My two WM down bags that I have used on three thru hikes still look as if they are brand new. ( I did wash each myself, one time). Made in USA, superb customer service, and impeccable workmanship.

  3. Green Giant– Absolutely. If money were no object, I’d be all over the Nunatak or FF. I’m limiting myself to brands I can get through the store I work for, though, so at some discount. Otherwise, my general impression is that Nunatak, FF, and WM are the absolute top of the line. Golite, Rab, and Montbell seem to be almost equal, if not quite as amazing 🙂

    As for fit, I’ll be testing things out as I find them. Rab so far seems to fit me okay, although I haven’t tried the Infinity specifically. Golite I’ve never tried, but I tend to have good luck with fitting jackets.

    I think the decision will take many moons to work out… I don’t even know if I’ll go for it this season.

  4. Tom, sounds like you’ve had as good luck with WM as I’ve heard everyone else having. Have you been able to compare the Flash jacket to, say, Montbell UL down jackets you’ve seen on the trail? Is my impression that it’s in about the same insulation class as the Montbell reasonably accurate? I’m interested to see how my theoretical research translates to reality.

  5. I wear a WM meltdown S. At 1lb, it’s hard to find a warmer puffy at that weight. And WM makes quality products, not saying the other companies don’t. Pricey like their sleeping bags, but I think they’re worth the money. FF has deals on their webpage. A couple other companies you might want to check out, Sir Joseph and Brooks Range. Remember it’s also the loft that keeps you warm, even if one jacket has more fill than the other. If your puffy loses it’s loft throughout the years it will be less warm, that’s another reason I’m a WM and FF fan, they maintain there loft for years. If you’re rainjacket compresses your puffy it will also be less warm so make sure you’re shell is big enough to accomadate layering a puffy. I also use a MB thermawrap hooded and Patagucci nanopuff when I’m ski mountaineering, I’m not worried about sweating and getting my down wet from the inside. Good luck on finding the right puffy for yourself.

  6. Anonymous– Thanks for pointing out the Sir Joseph and Brooks Range. I’ve heard of one of those, not the other. I have some more research to add in, I guess. And I’d never noticed the sale section of Feathered Friends.

    As far as the rain shell, good point on that. Although I try to make sure I go out in the coldest weather possible, so the only precipitation is solid. It doesn’t always go as planned, but one can dream.

  7. Tommy SoHappy wants you to consider the Sierra Designs Gnar Hoody. The jacket fits nicely, men’s size large has 4.3 oz. of 800 fill down, yet weighs very little. The jacket also has a zippered chest pocket for cell phone and what-not stowage (most of the lightweight down jackets are hard pressed to find places to put items such as a cell phone or money clip).
    The “True Blue/Charcoal” color combination looks good – the blue is kind of a chambray blue. I’d describe it as a versatile, masculine, well made jacket……….Aaaaannnd, you can sometimes find the Gnar Hoody at Costco during winter months (they sell out quickly!).
    Happy Trails, Tommy

  8. I’ve never really paid much attention to Sierra Designs, although the Gnar does get good reviews. As for cell phone storage and color… not features that I looked at so much 🙂

    Good fill to weight ratio and very decent price, though.

  9. I also have the Sierra Designs Gnar Hoody and I love it. It has thumbholes! and the above mentioned pockets- also has a large inner stretchy mesh pocket you can stuff the jacket into to make a killer pillow (if you aren’t wearing it to sleep in). My jacket is a men’s large which I found a big roomier than I’d like- it fits my husband who is normally a XL. I’m on the lookout for a marked down medium. the L is 12oz on my scale.

  10. Hey Doodlebug– again, sounds like a good jacket. I wonder why Sierra Designs doesn’t have a slightly puffier version of the Gnar with 800-fill… the Flex is much heavier and uses 650, and then it jumps right up to the Fiend jacket (which looks like a heck of a lot of fun, if not practical outside of the arctic circle).

  11. If you are buying a winter bag… get a quilt w/ head hole like a JRB quilt then ditch the winter jacket (weight savings) and rock the down pants u already have to keep lower body warm while sleeping (my lower half gets colder more quickly while sleeping)? Gl!

  12. The wearable sleeping bags have always seemed a little strange to me. I don’t know… I guess it’s also the quilt in winter. If I was more comfortable with the quilt, I’d give it a shot. I like the enclosed sleeping bag, though.

    • Yeah, that sale has been pretty great. They must be coming up with something crazy for next season if they want to get rid of their inventory that badly.

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