Which Down jacket-ff frontpoint or Rab positron?


Original Post
akafaultline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 225

Looking for a warmer down jacket than what I have. I have the Patagonia Fitzroy and it's just not cutting it for some trips. So what would you get out of the Rab positron and the feathered friends frontpoint and why? The Rab has 1.5 ounces less down but is lighter. I have the nilas but it's more similar to the to the Fitzroy than I was hoping and really I just need to sell one of them.

I'm looking for a jacket for zero degrees f and below and something a little more durable for belays. The Fitzroy is so thin anything gets a hold of it and you have a tear. Where the nilas is more durable but not warm enough for standing around at -15 f IMO. Weight is a concern because in looking at some Nepal trips, alpamayo and more Alaska. If there are some other jackets that I'm not thinking of let me know. Thanks.

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

Why are you climbing at -17c???? If you are looking at 0F and colder i would go for the icefall parker.

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10

I'm not sure they are comparable. The Positron is Pertex Endurance which is generally a fairly thin water resistant shell like the jackets you have. The FF parkas are Pertex Shield. The Rab Resolution is more similar: Shield along with more down fill and (obviously) it weighs more.

I think you're gonna have to deal with the weight unfortunately if you want something both warmer and more durable.

Others: if you're going for one of the big boys the Eddie Bauer Peak XV is well liked and frequently on sale for $250-$300. Even heavier at 2.5lbs though.

Do you think you're going a bit overboard to compensate for your current jackets? I can't tell you you'll be warm in a certain jacket because you might just run cold, but FF suggest the Front Point for Denali which is pretty arctic. Even the Volant has 3+ ounces more down fill than your Nilas if the online specs are correct. You'd save a bit of weight.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165

I don't know how much you used the nilas but it's plenty warm for the things you mentioned. Myself and another climber on my denali team both wore a nilas and were plenty comfy. He also wore his up alpamyo.

I've worn mine on a 5 day winter backpacking/ice climbing trip in norther MN which only had one day above zero and we had a low of -30, -50 with windchill.

Also wore it for multi day camping and 14er climbing in January in CO. Plenty warm.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

FWIW The FF Frontpoint is fully baffled the RAB Positron is not.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483
Allen Sanderson wrote:FWIW The FF Frontpoint is fully baffled the RAB Positron is not.
Positron is only stitched through on the sides of the body and arms, and box in the torso/back where it matters most. I doubt it will be much of a step up from the Nilas though, if any at all.

If I can't compare jackets side by side I look at the volume of fill. The fillpower number is the cubic inches displaced by one ounce of down (from my understanding).
For the volume of down multiply fill power by fill weight. Keep in mind the cut of the jacket also, a longer jacket will have less total loft for the same fill volume (but also be better in the real world if it covers your glutes).

Nilas 6,460; 850fp x 7.6oz
Positron 8,000; 800fp x 10oz
Rab Resolution 9,280; 800fp x 11.6oz
Frontpoint 10,795; 850fp x 12.70z
AlpineIce · · Upstate, NY · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 255

I previously owned the Nilas & sent it back for the same reason - For me, it just wasn't warm enough for my intentions. I went back and forth with down and synthetic belay jackets since I returned the Nilas a couple years ago.

Currently, I'm wearing the Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket (250 grams, 800 fill, hydrophobic down.) If temps bottom out & I'm climbing in 10ºF or less, I pair it with a Nano Puff or another smaller, thinner down jacket from Rab: The Continuum Jacket (138 grams, 850 Fill, hydrophobic down.)

I tend to run on the super cold side when static and not moving = Belays. Once climbing, I heat up really quickly. A little annoying.

As far as the Positron goes, I've read a lot of reviews that people weren't a huge fan of this jacket because of the stitched-through sleeves. People have complained about the sleeves not containing enough down insulation, which lead to cold arms/hands. Rab advertises the Positron to be used in some pretty cold places & many feel because of the sleeves, this jacket doesn't cut it.

My experience is down keeps me warmer and much faster than any synthetic I've tried. When I wear a down jacket, I feel the reflective, trapped heat almost immediately. Not the case for me with synthetics. I notice that with synthetics, it takes much longer to feel the reflective heat when I'm already cold.

There's definitely something to be said when you pair a lighter synthetic with a larger down belay coat. The synthetic, which sits closer to your body, is good to absorb most of the moist body heat before it reaches the down. Great for drying gloves between you and the synthetic insulation too.

Whether you agree with the technology or not, just remember, Feathered Friends does not use any hydrophobic technology in their down.

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10
AlpineIce green wrote: As far as the Positron goes, I've read a lot of reviews that people weren't a huge fan of this jacket because of the stitched-through sleeves. People have complained about the sleeves not containing enough down insulation, which lead to cold arms/hands. Rab advertises the Positron to be used in some pretty cold places & many feel because of the sleeves, this jacket doesn't cut it.
Honestly it seems like one guy who admits he's not a climber posted the same review complaining about sleeves on Backcountry and Rab's website. Maybe it's applicable, maybe not. Maybe it's an issue shoveling the driveway with a T-shirt underneath and less so with a shell and a couple of layers. I've not used the jacket but using many others I can say that a lot of parts of me get cold but I don't think it's ever been my arms.
AlpineIce · · Upstate, NY · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 255
jdejace wrote: Honestly it seems like one guy who admits he's not a climber posted the same review complaining about sleeves on Backcountry and Rab's website.
I read that review from Backcountry I think. I also read about issues with the Resolution's sleeves from a UK climbing blog or two who used the Positron in Scotland and in the Alps. Both complained about the sleeves leaving them cold.

Not sure if you own this jacket or have owned a jacket where you've felt extremely cold air penetrate, but I have and I know how annoying it is when you pay $400 for a down jacket and it doesn't live up to its reputation or price tag.
akafaultline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 225

One other problem I've had with the nilas is the lack of a two way zipper. Great for weight but not the most adaptable. I used the Patagonia jacket this week in -10 to -15 degree temps and it just didn't cut it. And again, the problem I'm finding is its so thin (the shell material) that if your going through alders and Devils club, the Patagonia is so thin that it just grabs on anything so I just take it off and stuff it in the pack. Most of the climbing in south central Alaska that I've been doing is in areas that's very heavily wooded so I want something with a more durable shell

I am tending towards feathered friends because I am worried about the non baffled sleeves of the positron. I've thought about the peak xv but I think it's an additional 10 ounces heavier-specs are limited which is a shame.

Is it just me or is there a lack of 6000 meter down coats from a lot of manufacturers?

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10

There are plenty of jackets with more down fill than yours, I think durability is the more difficult criterion to fulfill. Most manufacturers use ultralight fabrics in this application. I've not seen the Fitzroy in person but the specs are 20d Pertex Quantum which seems pretty typical. Is it a ripstop grid (I can't imagine it isn't)? The Positron is also 20d Pertex though they use the laminated Endurance for water resistance. Nilas is a proprietary 15d shell. Shield (Feathered Friends, Rab Resolution) is a bit burlier. You just have to be careful with down jackets. This is one of the advantages of a continuous synthetic parka; you can rip the shell and your insulation won't fly away.

Re: Peak XV specs it's 38oz in medium with 361g down fill.

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10

I like that Nunatak offers hydrophobic down where a lot of the smaller manufacturers (FF, PHD) in this category don't.

I tried to order a Vireo with overstuff from Feathered Friends earlier this month. They wouldn't even take my order - too backed up for the holidays apparently. They said call back in January. I don't know if the person on the phone was having a bad day but I wasn't impressed. They have a good reputation so I want to think my experience isn't representative and I wouldn't let it dissuade you from buying one of their well regarded parkas.

Anyway, I asked Nunatak if they'd make me something like a Vireo and they said "sure, sounds like a fun project." Extensive email string on a Saturday to get all my desired custom specs. Can't personally attest to the quality yet, but they're exceptionally accommodating and you'll certainly get a fully custom piece.

George W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 8

I love my Rab Positron which I got 35% off and I have used it in 0ºF and below all day cragging in the shade in Hyalite and Ouray (lots of standing around). In those temps I like to wear a breathable synthetic jacket beneath it, and I've been comfortable.

Notice that Rab claims it's suited for sub 6k meter peaks. So, for Nepal and AK I instantly think it's inadequate and the FF Front Point is better because it's more durable and warmer. I look at it as a commitment issue. In the canyons and things like Rainier, its great. But, any higher than that is typically more committing and potentially more extreme.

I bought the Positron knowing that I'd buy the FF Front Point later for bigger adventures when that time comes. For me, I knew I couldn't afford the expeditions in the near future, so it made sense. For you, it's probably best to go big now. I hope that helps.

Dan White · · Western CO · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 125

I bought a positron a few months ago mostly for Utah/Colorado winters. I am not much of an ice climber. I got it mostly for belaying and overnight stuff and overall I love it. My biggest annoyance so far is the zipper. The main thing that goes out on any of my jackets or tents is always the zipper, and the zipper on this thing seems especially sticky after a few months' use. The arms aren't a problem so far that I've noticed, but I haven't been wearing it in sub-zero F or windy conditions yet.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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