View Full Version : Down vs Synthetic Jacket

01-23-2015, 12:03
I'm aware of most of the pros and cons of each, but I was wondering what AT hikers typically wore, particularly if I'll be starting in late March in Georgia. Any advice would be appreciated.


01-23-2015, 12:20
I am also starting NOBO late March and have a synthetic Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody. I've tested it snowboarding without a warm base layer and with a Marmot Precip as a shell, and I was very warm.

01-23-2015, 12:29
Bugman--- I have used several different jackets( both down and Syn) and my fav is the Montbell thermawrap ul with the hood. I used that on my 09 thru with my rain jacket as a water/ wind shell and it kept me toasty. On the other hand I completed my section hiking of the trail in 08 using a north face down ( not sure of the model) and it also worked well. There will be as many opinions as there are hikers. Good luck.

01-23-2015, 12:35
I love down. Down sleeping bag, down booties, down jackets around home.

That said, when backpacking, I usually carry a Primaloft jacket or vest, or both, depending on expected conditions. Two main reasons to go with synthetic for jackets:

1) In case I need to wear them while actually hiking - 98% of the time, not necessary, but it has happened. Down does not work so well to be worn while active, especially in wet conditions.

2) Insurance in the event of catastrophic gear wetting. Not something I've experienced, a modicum of care avoids generally this problem, but the potential is there for the totally unexpected disaster. Having a usable insulation option in such an event could be life-saving. When backpacking, you seldom have the option of hiking back to the car or going indoors in case of the unexpected.

Wool works as well, but is heavier and bulkier.

01-23-2015, 12:43
+1 Down at the campsite.

MontBell UL Thermawrap vest over 200 Icebreaker merino wool and windshirt anorak over the top hiking, beanie hat and gloves if cold weather

01-23-2015, 12:45
+1 to what Lyle said. I have a down sleeping bag and synthetic jacket in case of some horrible wetting accident.

01-23-2015, 15:40
My answer also is "both". I carried a down vest on the AT, but never wore it while hiking. It was good for camping in those spring blizzards in the Southern Appalachians. I mailed it home in mid-May. For hiking, I used a Marmot Driclime jacket and carried that the whole trip.

rusty bumper
01-24-2015, 10:34
I copied Garlic's plan. On really cold days I wore both a short sleeve and long sleeve synthetic t-shirt, followed by the Driclimb wind shirt and then my rain jacket. I carried a down vest the whole way but only wore it a couple times in camp; but it served as a good pillow most nights.

Just Bill
01-24-2015, 15:53
My rule of thumb-
Sleeping bag and wearable insulation.
One is down, one is synthetic. Both can be synthetic, but both should not be down.

Fer safety and such.