View Full Version : Down jacket or no jacket

03-15-2015, 23:27
For spring break I'm doing a section on the AT before Hot springs and I'm wondering if I should still bring a down jacket. It says it's going to be a low of 40 in hot springs and since I'll be higher up I'm just wondering if I should bring it or not.

kayak karl
03-15-2015, 23:58
I don't carry a jacket in the winter, but if you hang out at camp maybe. I like a micro fleece in that temp.

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2

Feral Bill
03-16-2015, 00:16
I'd bring a down vest or light jacket. Weighs very little.

03-16-2015, 00:19
Depends on how acclimated you are to the cold. If you've been out in the cold a lot this winter, 40 will feel warm. But if it's a light, compact jacket, you might as well bring it. Otherwise, a fleece jacket and wind/rain shell would likely be sufficient.

03-16-2015, 00:29
Better safe than sorry!

03-16-2015, 00:51
How long are you planning on standing around camp? Camping at lower elevations helps, and avoiding spending extra time sitting still when it's cold will as well. Part of the reason ultralight works for some people and not others is the way they carry out their trips. For those who prefer to spend long days hiking, you can get away with less insulation.

03-16-2015, 02:27
Wlhy not? Being cold sucks.

a down hoody is always in my pack. 7oz of toasty warmth.

03-16-2015, 07:09
There an old adage I tend to follow in these kinds of decisions, "If there is a doubt, there is no doubt". If you are questioning if you should bring something that keeps you warm, dry, starts fire, holds more water, or basically anything that adds to your safety, bring it. If you don't have a question of bringing it, don't.

03-16-2015, 07:11
What sort of sleeping bag are you carrying? I often count on my insulation layer to supplement my sleeping bag. This time of year, I'd definitely be bringing an insulated layer, but that's just me. Have a great hike. :)

kayak karl
03-16-2015, 07:18
this is how people end up with 50 lb. packs. at some point you need to make decisions. they will be easier once you settle into you hiking/camping style.

03-16-2015, 08:01
I would bring an insulation layer. Fleece or down. If it's 40 in Hot Springs it might be 30 first thing in the morning on the ridges. It has to be really warm before I don't bring any insulation layer. Even 40 can be pretty chilly if you're sitting around and it's raining and/or windy.

03-16-2015, 08:33
I would bring my ul down hoody. Weather is variable and unpredictable at this time of year in that area. However, My insulating layer is a supplement to my sleep system during cold months as mentioned above.

03-16-2015, 09:09
Just another vote: I always bring some sort of down insulation layer, much lighter than an equivalent fleece jacket, lots of choices out there, I like the Montbell line. Even in fairly consistent warm weather I take my 4 ounce down vest, in potentially chillier weather, my 6.7 ounce down "sweater", then in potentially colder weather, a 9 ounce hooded down "jacket". I virtually never actually hike in any of these, but they sure are nice in the evenings around camp, and first thing in a chilly morning during coffee/breakfast and breaking camp, plus as said, to supplement a sleeping bag's rating.

03-16-2015, 09:30
Colorado_Rob, what are your 4 ounce vest and 6.7 ounce sweater options? My only down jacket now is a Feathered Friends Helios (16 oz). I'd be tempted to grab something lighter to sub out for a fleece when budget allows.

03-16-2015, 09:37
I say this on all these threads, but how you wear your clothing is so much more important than what you bring. A novice might carry three layers of brand new expensive insulating clothing and get them all soaked with sweat in the first two days. An experienced winter traveler will keep insulation dry in almost all situations, has a tried-and-true layering system, and knows how to get out of trouble if something accidental happens.

Without knowing your other layers, sleeping insulation, camping style, backcountry capabilities, and overall health and fitness, it's really hard to recommend what kind of jacket you should carry, if any.

03-16-2015, 11:10
Colorado_Rob, what are your 4 ounce vest and 6.7 ounce sweater options? My only down jacket now is a Feathered Friends Helios (16 oz). I'd be tempted to grab something lighter to sub out for a fleece when budget allows.Yeah, a 16 oz FF down jacket is probably way-overkill, given your spring break plans.

My vest is a Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, and I just weighed it and it's 4.6 ounces (sorry):

http://www.backcountry.com/mountain-hardwear-ghost-whisperer-down-vest-mens?ti=U2VhcmNoIFJlc3VsdHM6ZG93biB2ZXN0OjE6Mjk6ZG 93biB2ZXN0&skid=MHW006S-HYPBL-S

The 6.7 (correct weight) is the MontBell ExLight down jacket (some call a down sweater):


Heed garlic's words, keep them dry. Easy to do really, just don't wear them hiking so you don't sweat in them. A typical chilly morning, I pull mine on first thing, eat breakfast, pack up and I might even start hiking with it on, but usually remove it in about 5 minutes or less. Then when I stop and make camp, sometimes late and it's cooling down again, I pull it on for around camp until bed time. Patagonia makes the same line of stuff, but they don't fit me well. I really like the Montbell line. I even have a 9 ounce synthetic-insulation version of the jacket, the "thermawrap" I use in the winter when sweating is more likely (because you're more likely to have to hike with it on).

03-16-2015, 11:20
I'm not the OP, so no specific trip in mind at the moment. The Ghost Whisperer is interesting (I actually have the anorak shell from that product line and like it a lot) but it frustrates me that they don't list how much fill it has. At that price I'd be tempted by the FF Daybreak or Hyperion. Montbell's products look great too, and they do list fill specs. Thanks for the suggestions.

03-16-2015, 12:11
if you are doing Davenport to Hot springs, it can still get cold up there with the elevation.

If you will be in camp and you do have a light down it is a good idea. Fleece for hooving it.

Off the top of my head I don't remember any exposed areas except a couple before Jerry's Shelter.

Have a great hike.

03-16-2015, 15:15
I just use a down vest and it is nice for wind on top of a light fleece hoody low of 40in hot springs means below freezing on max patch.

03-16-2015, 15:20
I am planning on bringing a down vest which is under a pound! Then I'll have a quarter zip fleece to wear while hiking? Then I have a non-cotton t-shirt. And a Colombia long sleeve base layer for sleeping in. I think I should be pretty comfortable in this weather considering the fact that I live in northern Illinois.