Best light - mid weight Down Jacket?


Original Post
Shepido · · CO · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

I've mostly been considering the MontBell Frost Smoke Parka, based on the reviews of outdoor gear lab, however I am open to more recommendations. I do like the price point of the Frost Smoke Parka.

I have a huge down parka, but it's overkill in the spring and fall and on certain warm winter days.

Needs to be down, fit over a helmet, double zipper would be ideal. Ghost Whisperer is probably a little too light for my purposes.

AlpineIce · · Upstate, NY · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 0

The Rab Infinity Endurance Jacket may fit the bill. 210 grams of 850, hydrophobic goose down with a helmet compatible hood. This piece is designed for climbing, so it may not be ideal for all activities. You never mentioned what you'll be using this jacket for. Personally, I think Rab makes some of the best down insulation on the market. Feathered Friends is second to none though. They stitch great stuff, but I just prefer the hydrophobic down technology that Feathered Friends doesn't use and Rab does. That's a topic for another discussion ...

Gavin W · · Surrey, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 23

Can't comment on the Frost Smoke, but my wife uses the Frost Line (basically the same thing except box baffles and twice the amount of down). She likes it, especially the double zippers, hood fits over her helmet well, and it sheds snow well too (shedding rain isn't an issue at the temps she uses it at). Only issue is that the zipper can require two hands to operate since it tends to snag on the shell material (really thin Pertex).

Troy S · · Somerville, MA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 25

If you're a large, I'd snag this up at 35% off
http://www.campsaver.com/thorium-sv-hoody-men-s?utm_source=avantlink&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=datafeed&c3ch=AvantLink&c3nid=34947&avad=46631_eb4044be

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 40

I have a Sierra Designs Gnar Lite jacket for days when it's warm out or were moving fast. I can clip it to my harness if I decide no leader pack. It's synthetic so it keeps me warm when wet.

amazon.com/Sierra-Designs-M...

The price on Amazon is outrageous. I just wanted to show you the jacket. You should be able to find one for about $100-140.

Andy Million · · Murfreesboro TN · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 60
Shepido wrote:...double zipper would be ideal.
Any gear experts know how difficult this would be to add to an existing jacket? I'm wondering if a seamstress would be able to 'upgrade' an existing jacket to this feature.
jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0

You didn't ask, but synthetic really excels in this application.

Down is good for sleeping bags, they don't get beat up/climbed in/sweat in like a jacket, and synthetic sleeping bags are huge/heavy. Sleeping bags can last you a decade or more. The weight/packability difference isn't as significant in a lightweight jacket. Synthetic is cheaper and lower maintenance. You'll probably tear up any puffy climbing jacket beyond repair by the time the synthetic loses all its loft and need a new one anyway.

I'm sure many disagree, just my opinion.

aaron hope · · Walnut Creek, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 180

For the price ($179), I really don't think you can beat the Montbell Alpine Light. This thing is warm, packs down to nothing, and is super light. I've had mine for 4 years now on a number of climbs and it is durable.

http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2301176

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0
jdejace wrote:You didn't ask, but synthetic really excels in this application. Down is good for sleeping bags, they don't get beat up/climbed in/sweat in like a jacket, and synthetic sleeping bags are huge/heavy. Sleeping bags can last you a decade or more. The weight/packability difference isn't as significant in a lightweight jacket. Synthetic is cheaper and lower maintenance. You'll probably tear up any puffy climbing jacket beyond repair by the time the synthetic loses all its loft and need a new one anyway. I'm sure many disagree, just my opinion.
For what application? The OP just said he wanted a mid weight down jacket, nothing more.
jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0

I admittedly made some assumptions based on his profile with recent ice climbs, wanting it to fit over a helmet, have a double zipper, and seeking an alternative to his current parka which is too warm on some winter days. Thus, I figured it would be a typical layer thrown into the pack for belaying +/- climbing on ice and rock.

mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 550

Honestly whatever you can find on the biggest sale within reason. Hydrophobic down is awesome. BD cold forges have been floating around sub $150. Awesome hoody. Same for the RAB Ascent. For half that REI has a Stratacloud jacket (no hood) that's pretty nice. Mid weight dry down puffs are a dime a dozen. Find the end of season sales.

Shepido · · CO · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0
jdejace wrote:I admittedly made some assumptions based on his profile with recent ice climbs, wanting it to fit over a helmet, have a double zipper, and seeking an alternative to his current parka which is too warm on some winter days. Thus, I figured it would be a typical layer thrown into the pack for belaying +/- climbing on ice and rock.
Good assumptions, I should have specified that in the first place. Thanks again.
Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

Similar to the weight of the Frost Smoke is the newly redesigned Crux Hooded Halo. $219 at Campsaver with code 10outlet if you wear small or medium. 4.8 ounces of 970 fill down, a Pertex Endurance shell, and a two-way zip for a spec weight of 10.8 ounces. Probably more in line with what you're looking for based on your first post.

Andy Million wrote: Any gear experts know how difficult this would be to add to an existing jacket? I'm wondering if a seamstress would be able to 'upgrade' an existing jacket to this feature.
Rainy Pass Repair can do it no problem.
Rearviewmirror · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 35

Also not a down solution, but I have been unbelievably impressed with my REI Revelcloud jacket. They're currently on sale for $100. I've used it in a lot of mixed weather applications - from Swedish fall/Spring to DC milder winter days. It's incredibly wind-resistant, and also packs down to the size of a very small and light pouch.

It's also synthetic which means it keeps you warm even if it's wet. It falls more into the water resistant than waterproof category. Some reviews I read said it could snag on brambles etc, but I have had zero problems with it so far. It's also REI which means generous return policy should it mess up.

I bought it only because it was on sale and I had $20 in return credit, but this has legitimately become my first pick over my North Face fleece or shell because it packs so small and works in everything but super-cold weather. The only thing I haven't done is try it with a helmet.

Andrew Uz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0

Arcteryx atom lt. Best jacket I've ever owned. I got mine for ~$180 at an REI sale, but the jacket is worth retail price too. It isn't down though. If you want a lighter jacket, look at the atom sl (it's new). A heavier one is the atom ar

mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 550

The Atom Lt and Sl are both probably too light for what the OP describes.

BD Access Hybrid Lt is 40g/m just like the SL above. Awesome mild weather piece. Can be had for sub $100 if you shop well

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 25

one thing no one has mentioned is FIT ...

a 650 fill down jacket that fits well will be warmer than an equivalent 800 fill jacket that fits poorly anyday

with poor fit you have dead air spaces suck up the heat, and possibly a "bellows" effect pumping out the warm air with every move ...

now a belay poofay needs to be sized a bit looser ... but for anything else it should be decently snug after putting on your other layers) with big gaps or loose openings

youll know if it fits the moment you try it on ... if theres any doubt then it doesnt fit ...

;)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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