View Full Version : Montbell Parkas

01-12-2010, 15:47
What models of montbell jackets/parkas does everyone have experience with. I am looking at the alpine light down parka, and the ul down inner parka, and am trying to figure out which one to get.

I know there are other options out there, but the montbell seems like a good product for me, and this is something I am not looking to skimp on.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks All.

01-12-2010, 15:51
I suggest that you look for reviews, on sites like backpackgeartest.org (http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Clothing/Jackets/) or backpackinglight.com (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/reviews/category_display?cid=48&cat=Clothing%20-%20Insulating%20-%20Down). Based on such reviews I recently purchased a Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka; it seems excellent just from first impression, but I've not had a chance to really use it yet.

01-12-2010, 16:03
I bought an alpine light and wish I had bought one with the hood.

01-12-2010, 17:30
What are you going to use it for? My understanding is that the "alpine light down" is a bit heavier and warmer than the "UL inner down".

I second dmax's suggestion, you definitely want to buy the version with a hood.

I have the UL down inner parka and could not be more pleased with it. I would describe it as a minimalist insulation layer for 3-season or mild winter use. It really is an "inner" layer and should probably not be worn on its own without a shell to protect it. It has almost no features whatsoever aside from its incredible warmth/weight ratio.

My t-shirt, driclime, UL down, rain shell layering system keeps me toasty warm down to 0*F while inactive, but I have a feeling I am more cold tolerant than many people. I got an XL so I can also layer a fleece underneath it without compressing the down from the inside, and I expect that would keep me warm down to at least -10 or -15*F, but haven't had the opportunity to test that theory.

I typically only pull it out at night or during rest stops, and I have yet to encounter temps cold enough to allow me to hike in it. But again I think I'm pretty cold tolerant and your mileage may vary.

It's an awesome awesome jacket. Just be aware of what it is and what it isn't. It will keep you warm, will hardly be noticeable in your pack and won't take up any space at all compared to a fleece of similar warmth. It won't make a good all-around jacket due to lack of features and fragile shell fabric. It's basically a lighter, more packable, warmer replacement for a fleece.

01-12-2010, 18:32
Make sure to buy one size larger than you normally do.

01-12-2010, 19:16
I have the Mont-Bell UL Down Jacket and had the Mont-Bell Alpine Down Jacket at one time. Mon-bell makes great jackets for the money. Which one of the two I would recommend depend on what conditions you plan on using them in. Are you using this as part of a sleep system?

According to the testing done by Richard Nisley over at the BPL forums, the Clo ratings are as follows:

For refrence

Polartec 200 Jacket 0.76
Polartec 300 Jacket 0.92
Patagonia Down Sweater (similar weight to the Alpine Light) 2.31

Mont-Bell UL Down Inner Jacket 1.78
Mont-Bell Alpine Down Jacket 2.51

01-12-2010, 19:17
That should read:

Alpine Light Jacket is 2.51

01-12-2010, 21:01
I have the UL Inner Parka and love it. It replaced a heavy bulky fleece that just ate up too much space in my pack. This thing is much warmer than a fleece and is only 7oz.

01-12-2010, 22:46
One of my MontBell clothing pieces is an XL UL Down Inner Jacket weighing just under 8oz with a little over 2 oz of down. As long as it's not too compressed it makes a fine layering or outside piece. Wouldn't plan on using it without a protective shell to bushwack through a briar patch though. I layer it over a mid wt Smartwool tee and Icebreaker 120 wt long sleeve shirt with an available wind/rain shell for added protection. Also carry a merino wool beanie and gloves and I'm good to go to about 20 *. On established trail like the AT and with a little TLC in packing and while wearing I see no reason why it couldn't be used on the AT as an exterior piece.

01-12-2010, 23:25
I wouldn't dare consider it an exterior piece, much too delicate for that. One snag and you are molting.

Also, because they are single quilt construction, they must have an outter shell to keep the heat in.

01-13-2010, 08:39
I use it as an outer piece. Just don't go running through the woods in the dark with it on.

The single quilt constuction hasn't bothered "my" heat retention. I usually have to unzip it to keep letting heat out. The only time I put my rainshell on is if I'm on a ridge and it gets really windy and the windchill is really cold.

01-13-2010, 08:43
Also for the "OP"....It depends what time of year you plan on leaving Springer. If I were leaving in March I might go with the inner parka. I don't own the inner parka yet, so I hope that wouldn't be a mistake. But I think my alpine light might be a bit much for must of the situations I would use it for. But either way you go I think you'll like your purchase.

01-13-2010, 10:28
The loft is only 1". Under a shell, I use it alone to about 20F.

It's very warm as a fleece replacement.

Now I'm looking for an outter 800 down parka... maybe a RAB?

01-13-2010, 13:09
I would mainly be using it 3 season to replace my fleece that I normally carry. Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone, I think I will probably go with the UL. It is mostly for sitting around camp after hiking, so I just want something to put on that is warmer than a fleece.