View Full Version : Is this jacket warmer than a fleece jacket?

01-27-2007, 00:55
Montbell Womens U.L. Down Inner Jacket


It's a whole lot lighter, but I need whatever is warmest. I have a 200ct fleece jacket, but think I may need a down jacket instead (mainly for camp/sleeping in). Anyone have any experience w/it? Thanks.

01-27-2007, 01:14
My girlfriend received this very item from good-old Saint Nick last year. She loves is definitely an understatement. She takes cross country skiing and hiking and to the beach in january. I just asked her to compare to the typical patagonia style fleece she had on will sipping her beer and playing with her new cell phone. The response--YES.. Warmer. I asked her to elaborate for your benefit. She said its warmer in general but also is more wind resistant as well because of the nylon outer fabric. She says the wind goes right thru the typiccal fleece but only a little bit thru the montbell UL inner jacket.
Hope that helps.
Also I carry the 3oz Western Mountaineering flash vest underneath--best 3oz I carry.


01-27-2007, 05:12
Montbell Womens U.L. Down Inner Jacket

It's a whole lot lighter, but I need whatever is warmest. I have a 200ct fleece jacket, but think I may need a down jacket instead (mainly for camp/sleeping in). Anyone have any experience w/it? Thanks.

I just got one for Christmas. Compared to my XL fleece (2lb 2oz) the UL down (7oz) is much warmer. As GD said it also blocks the wind. My only complaint is that there is no elastic or drawstring bottom. I am thinking of adding velcro tabs (easy) or sewing in a drawstring. Definately for rest break or camp use. And don't set it down on a windy day - there is not much to it. It has a zipper and generous pockets.

01-27-2007, 08:23
If you are going to be doing long distance trips on the AT down is a mistake for everything except your bag. And this is because of the wetness factor. You can go synthetic fill jackets and they are just as warm if not warmer, still warm when wet, and you have the option to wear it under your rain jacket on one of those 33 degree days when it is raining and windy and not carry it all day just for camp. They are making our clothes so light now that we can progress to a four layer system instead of three. Long underwear top, light weight fleece top, synthetic jacket, rain shell. Those are incredible options for all kinds of weather and at less the weight than we used to carry for three. Check out the Patagonia Puff Jacket, I have been wearing them since 1994 when they first came out and they have never failed me.

01-27-2007, 08:32
I disagree. I was jealous of the people who had down coats -- they were all nice and warm, with less weight and more room in their packs, and I was carrying a heavy, bulky 1-pound fleece which wasn't nearly as warm as their down jackets.

You should have something "just for camp." That way, no matter how much you sweat, you know you have something warm to climb into at the end of a cold day. And it's not all that hard to keep a couple of things, like a down sleeping bag and a down jacket, dry.

Take extra precautions to keep it dry, and go for it! I have a down jacket now, and I really wish I had it when I did my long distance hike!

Actually, my jacket looks similar to this one you're asking about, and I will say that it's definitely warmer because of the wind factor. Wind really does go right through fleece.

01-27-2007, 11:12
If you are going to be doing long distance trips on the AT down is a mistake for everything except your bag. And this is because of the wetness factor.

IMO this is not a piece to wear while hiking. AFA wetness, it seemed to shed a short drizzle without difficulty. Cold and wet is cold and wet. The longer I am out of the army the more down friendly I have become (ie not everything needs to be bombproof). The montbell UL down is crazy-light and if you tear off thru the woods there will probably be a big poof of down :eek: at the first wait a minute vines. This is camp/break wear for sure. I would stay away from the fire too but that can be said for fleece as well.

01-27-2007, 11:49
My guess is that the down jacket will make a great piece of camp or sleeping gear, as long as it's clean and dry. I wouldn't wear it while hikiing, except maybe in winter.

01-27-2007, 12:00
I agree with both sides. As with all ultra-light camping experience and knowledge has to come first for safety reasons. If you aren't sure you can keep the layer dry then it might be better to stick with fleece(god forbid) or possibly a synthetic down --see Patagonia Micropuff Jacket for instance as a springing off point for your ideas. The Pat. jacket is Polarguard Delta I believe.
Happy trails---

01-27-2007, 12:25
Michele did say, "mainly for camp/sleeping in." I think in that case the down jacket would be a nice touch, and would compress to about the size of a softball while packed. In the middle months (middle of a typical nobo thru, that is) it's prolly too much. I just take along a cheap & warm polyester flannel shirt, about 11 oz. Works great & it's a bit more versatile than the down. Down is great, within its limitations.

01-27-2007, 14:55
At 33-F and raining, I wear as little as possible under my rain jacket and rain pants while hiking. Just a lightweight wool base layer is almost always enough. It's all going to get soaked anyway from exertion. Any sort of insulation top is going to be far too warm under these conditions.

A down jacket is great for camp, and helps stretch the comfort range of a sleeping bag. (Rather than wear the jacket, try draping it over your torso inside your bag. You'll get more loft and coverage this way. Just be careful to keep it on top when you roll over.) I also like the down jacket for rest breaks on cold days (unless it's raining, in which case it's best to just keep walking.)

The Montbell UL Down Inner is a nice jacket. Realize that it's fairly low-loft, so it'll be warmer than the usual 200-wt non-windblock fleece, but not as warm as a big puffy down jacket. Still, a good layering piece for camp and sleep. The Montbell Alpine is a little loftier, while remaining fairly light (12oz?). You can usually get a good deal on the Montbell jackets on their web site, look at the web clearance page.

01-27-2007, 18:46
I bought a Patagonia down sweater at 10 oz. It is still on its way so don't know how I will like it. Hot burnt orange colour in case I got lost in the woods. So wear shades if you see me coming.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
01-27-2007, 19:36
Michele, the down will be warmer for the reasons stated. Since you plan to use it mostly for camping and sleeping, put it in with your quilt / nest or pea-pod which you will already be having to keep dry. Hope to see you as you pass thru my area this spring.

01-30-2007, 10:08
Hey thanks everyone! I think I'm going to lose the fleece and get this coat. I do have the Puffball Vest, but found on my shakedowns that I needed something over my arms as well (in camp/sleeping)...and it wasn't as warm as I thought it would be.

To clarifiy, I'm not planning on wearing the down coat while hiking. I've got a layer system (camisole, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, Frogg Togg jacket) that works really well to keep me warm while actually hiking. It's in camp/sleeping that I battle w/being cold, not so much while hiking. I was also concerned that my only wind protection (if I used fleece in camp) was my Frogg Togg jacket, and if I'd been hiking in that all day in the rain, I wouldn't be throwing that on to sleep in with my down bag, so I felt like I needed something else that could provide wind protection in camp. And...I get to lower my pack weight even more...so it's a win win.

Hey GREAT idea Mrs. Dino about putting this coat in w/my hammock quilt! I've got plenty of space in my snakeskins (that Hammock Engineer made for me) so I think I'll do just that. Thanks again for all the input everyone. Just making last minute gear adjustments as I consider what I learned on my shakedowns....39 days till I leave for Georgia!!!

01-30-2007, 10:12
seems like a great item for camp! my down jacket is much warmer than any of my fleece jackets for sure

01-30-2007, 11:03
Thermawrap parka (a down alternative) was also recommended on this site. Anyone have experience with it and do you know how it compares to the Montbell Down Inner, or Alpine jackets that have been mentioned. I stay warm while hiking in as well --but I about freeze in camp. I bought a 650 fill down jacket and returned it b/c I didn't feel it was any warmer than my ski bomber jacket (which isn't quite warm enough for me anymore).

01-30-2007, 13:42
If you want almost the same warmth and very low weight ( like 1/2 of fleece) consider the Montbell therma wrap jacket... My large is only 10.2 oz and is comfortable to about 32 easily.


01-30-2007, 14:13
My $.02 is that you'd be happier with a synthetic filled ul jacket in the long run. If you hike in down, your body moisture will condense somewhere in the garment, eventually minimizing the potential loft. Moisture also builds up in synth. garments, but does not affect the loft nearly as much. Unless both garments are soaked thoroughly, recent tests have shown that down can dry as fast as synthetics. Of course, the down garment, in the meantime, would not be as warm/lofty as the synth.

The upside to down is that it lasts much longer than synth. insulations, especially if stuffed repeatedly (most especially in hot weather). The loft is built into synth. fibers by crimping and heating them (a perm, if you will). Stuffing them and heating them (as in a stuff sack in a hot car) will over crimp the fibers, reducing the loft. Drying them in a hot dryer will have a similar effect on loft, but will allow the fibers to relax, straighten out, and lose loft. I learned this stuff from working at REI as well as much study and an unfortunate personal experience (using a hot dryer on a sleeping bag). I use down only in my sleeping gear and extreme cold weather clothing (mostly for camp use).

01-30-2007, 14:13
Ditch the fleece, this down sweater is warmer. I own one in red. I never wear it hiking though, I'd sweat too much. It's a good choice for around camp or sleeping.

01-30-2007, 16:37
go for it michelle...you will love it for around camp!