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View Full Version : Down Jacket for thru hike - can't decide ... help!



darkage
09-01-2011, 02:29
I've been looking over various different brands from montbell, patagucci, western mountianeering etc ... I simply can't decide! Too many damn options, all i know is i want a hooded version ... i'm leaning towards the montbell alpine with 4.5oz fill ...

It'll be used with a base layer, marmot reactor layer then jacket, then shell ... any ideas or brands i may not have looked into? ... I want warmth, since i've hit my 30's i tend to not like the chill, but love hiking in colder weather ...

I'm 6'3 and about 240 ... think linebacker.

Ready to buy asap for winter and test everything out before i begin in march.

Stir Fry
09-01-2011, 03:10
Any of the brands you mentioned are good. Go hoodless and then get a hat from Black Rock http://www.blackrockgear.com/ . You will find there are a lot more times when you will want a hat, with out the jacket, then the outher way around. If you have a good base layer and a puff ball type jacket and a hat you will be ok. You will be surprised how warm a light down jacket is. Try to start more to the second half of March and miss some of the bad wether. One of the first things you will find out is you do not need as much as you think. Think long sleeve top ,light down jacket, and the rain jacket on top. This will keep you warm into the teens easy. Any more then that is over kill. Tempature extreems are mostly at night, and the you are in you sleeping bag. If you are concerened about staying warm, get a 0* bag to start. When you are hiking you will stay warm in a tee shirt and shorts into the 30's. You might be a little cool when you start the day but that not a bad thing. Better to start cold then to be stopping in the first mile to take stuff off, then you are damp and get colder then you would have been. Day time temps are almost never lower than 30*.

atmilkman
09-01-2011, 08:15
I was at Mountain Crossings back in early August and was looking at the Montbell jackets also. I'm 6'6" and 245lbs and the XXL fit me perfectly. Back length, girth, sleeve length, all around great fit if it helps any.

fredmugs
09-01-2011, 08:27
I got this at prolitegear.com

http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2301133 (http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2301133)

This is my first down jacket so I can't compare it to anything else but I love it and would absolutely buy it again. I am 6'3" and around 200.

darkage
09-01-2011, 08:49
The fit is what I wanted to hear, I've noticed the inner was enough for those who bought it so I'm prolly gonna go with that. Alpine light seems like it would be overkill an almost 6 ounces heavier. I'm not an ounce weenie but saving them here an there adds up.

atmilkman
09-01-2011, 08:58
The fit is what I wanted to hear, I've noticed the inner was enough for those who bought it so I'm prolly gonna go with that. Alpine light seems like it would be overkill an almost 6 ounces heavier. I'm not an ounce weenie but saving them here an there adds up.

Look at the Mont Bell EX Light Down Jacket its 900 fill and on sale at Campsaver $115.47 or 132.97 theres some conflict there I've emailed them and waiting to here back.

darkage
09-01-2011, 09:51
I enjoy the hood on my soft shell when in temps below 40 .... so i'm gonna roll with the down inner parka i think ... when i've used my hoodless layer's and beanie it's just not the same for me ... so personally, i know i'm gonna want that hood. And they have it in stock and on clearance which seems to be running out of last year's colors fast ... gonna pick it up now i think.

Two Tents
09-01-2011, 09:51
The Montbell line is a good choice. I have to agree that, IMO, the jacket/down hat combo is a system that you will find more use for. My Montbell fits great with room for layering under. It was an xxl. I am 6' 220 lbs. You most likely will need it for when you stop hiking. If you use it while you are active I fear that is a recipe for disaster. You will find it too hot to wear when moving. After you are out for a few days, if you look at what you have on at any point, you will be surprised at how little you are wearing. Your body just gets used to it. Just manage your layers and keep dry. Add layers when still-remove layers when you are warming up. Don't wait till there is a problem to correct it ie. hot, chills, sweating. Carry a second hat to wear when hiking and the down for when still or sleeping. The hiking hat will get sweated up so dry it when you can.

darkage
09-01-2011, 09:59
Thanks for the tips, but i am aware of all of that ... been doing this for awhile now ... when i hike in cooler temps all i'm wearing is a long sleeve thin poly and tshirt over it ... jacket is for camp and rest stops ... and yes, i always start cold ... i heat up rediculously fast when in motion .... like i said, while in camp, i've prefered the hood on my soft shell which will be replaced by the down jacket/shell combo ... I have montbell sleeping bags, so i know the quality is top notch ... just didn't want something that was overkill, or not enough ... ya know. First down jacket ...

scope
09-01-2011, 10:06
++on the Montbell, good stuff. The only thing I am familiar with that I might choose over MB would be the Mountain Hardware Phantom. It is warmer and puffier and more expensive. It also fits short in the torso, which can be a real negative for some, and I'm guessing it would be for you.

darkage
09-01-2011, 10:11
Yeah, short on the torso wouldn't be a good thing ... wanted to keep it in the $180 an below price range too ... just sitting here deciding which one to grab, the EX or the UL down inner parka ... ahhh stupid choices ... my heart is telling me the parka, but the weight saving idiot in me is saying EX ... but i'm not convinced its enough to keep me warm enough ... i've already decided the light alpine was overkill ... gah ...

atmilkman
09-01-2011, 10:31
Yeah, short on the torso wouldn't be a good thing ... wanted to keep it in the $180 an below price range too ... just sitting here deciding which one to grab, the EX or the UL down inner parka ... ahhh stupid choices ... my heart is telling me the parka, but the weight saving idiot in me is saying EX ... but i'm not convinced its enough to keep me warm enough ... i've already decided the light alpine was overkill ... gah ...

Contemplating the exact same thing (lol) still waiting to hear back on the price discrepancy have emailed twice

darkage
09-01-2011, 10:32
Alright, welp ... i'm gonna go hit up some stores and grab some stuff i need and when i get back i'll check the forums and see what else ya'll have to say between the two .. my main concern is the EX not being enough to keep me warm, other wise i don't think i can go wrong with either option ... Wife said i should get the EX cause it comes in blue only and the down inner is in green ... lmao, silly woman!

darkage
09-01-2011, 14:39
Talked with a rep from montbell in denver about the two, and with the wind blocking, added warmth of hood when needed and slight edge in fill i went with the UL inner ... the 7d he said was so thin its doesn't block wind very well and i'd want a wind shirt for under it ... or a good shell over it ... main reason i went with the thicker shell ... i might not want my shell on with it often .... what makes me cold in my experiance is wind ... killing two birds in one jacket, lol ... don't think i could of gone wrong with either option, but for my needs ... i think i made the right choice ... i might grab the EX too, compare and find out.

atmilkman
09-01-2011, 14:47
Talked with a rep from montbell in denver about the two, and with the wind blocking, added warmth of hood when needed and slight edge in fill i went with the UL inner ... the 7d he said was so thin its doesn't block wind very well and i'd want a wind shirt for under it ... or a good shell over it ... main reason i went with the thicker shell ... i might not want my shell on with it often .... what makes me cold in my experiance is wind ... killing two birds in one jacket, lol ... don't think i could of gone wrong with either option, but for my needs ... i think i made the right choice ... i might grab the EX too, compare and find out.

darkage i just bought the EX im just looking for camp warmth after hiking and added sleep warmth if necessary it nearly took an act of God but i got it for $115.47 i think i did good too.

darkage
09-01-2011, 16:10
Yeah, same here atmilkman ... i know me tho, i generate alot of heat and don't require much while hiking ... but when i stop and in camp i get chilly and the fact the EX is a 7d and no wind blockage and no pockets or hood ... I took the wind shedding 15d, and hood for the oh **** its cold kinda night's ... it just came down to my own wants/needs ... obviously other's have other needs and wants and what works for one won't for another .... but i know this much ... neither one of picked a bad a choice. Both are A+ ...

STICK
09-01-2011, 19:52
Little late to the game...

I bought the MB Down Inner Jacket. I loved it. The fit was perfect (5'10" ~ 200 lb ~ Size XL). It was pretty dang light (7.6 oz) and warm. Plus, it shed wind like nobodies business! Plus, it was black and dangit, it was just sexy... perfect...

Montbell UL Down Inner jacket (http://sticksblog.com/clothing/jackets/mont-bell-ul-down-inner-jacket/)

Then I decided I had better go with a Parka...bottom line, this was my main insulation. My layering system on top goes like this: Patagonia Cap 2 long sleeve--> Patagonia R1 Flash Pull Over--> Montbell UL Down Inner Parka--> Hard shell. This should be fine for me here in the SE as I am not expecting temps to be much below 10F (0 with the wind chill). The way I looked at it is that I am not rich enough right now to own both the jacket and the parka, so I would err on the side of a little extra warmth.

The parka is the same as the jacket, except it has a hood and it weighs a little more, about 1.5 oz more. Fit is the same and warmth is the same. However, I had to go with a less than sexy green color...(why can't the parka be in black?) Still, color is no issue on the trail, and even so, this green is not a bad choice by no means (beats a bright neon color!)

Montbell UL Down Inner Parka
(http://sticksblog.com/clothing/jackets/mont-bell-ul-down-inner-parka/)
In the meantime, I purchased the Black Rock Gear Down Hat...Of course, it was light, warm and in black (super-sexy). In retrospect, this hat with the jacket would have been sufficient, but I have decided to still err on the side of a little extra warmth.

Black Rock Gear Down Hat (http://sticksblog.com/clothing/hats/black-rock-gear-down-hat/)

As well, I also got the MB Alpine Light Parka to wear as a more so around home type jacket, but still have the option to take it on the trail if I think I really need it. I like that the shell is 30D so it is a little tougher than that of the UL Down Inner. Plus it has almost twice the down fill. This thing is huge, and now that I have it, I cannot see myself needing it on the trail. My XL version weighs in at 16 oz so it is not the super lightest either (although it is still lighter than the thinner synthetic jacket I used to carry as this insulating piece!) However, I am just as pleased with the parka overall. It seems to be constructed nicely. No loose hems, everything is lined up as it should be. Although, I do wonder if I a large would fit me ok. The XL seems to be a little baggier on me than the Down Inner's, but maybe this is because it is just a thicker, bigger coat.)

One thing about the UL Down Inner's though is that they do leak down. I noticed it occasionally on the back of the jacket. It seemed to be worse if I sat back against something for a while (such as when sitting in a chair and leaned back against the chair's back). But they both compress really well and loft back up well. Holding them up to a light source they both seemed to be filled in at all corners, so no empty baffles. The only mod I have made to my Parka is that I cut out the cinch cord in the bottom (waist) hem. I would never used it and it saved me about 0.2/3 oz!

It seams like the general consensus for temps with the UL Down items is about 30F, but for me, with the cap 2 long sleeve shirt, and the R1 beneath it, plus with my hard shell over it, I can easily take it down to single digits (again, here in the SE). Also, the reason I went with the UL Down Inner pieces over the Ex Light is because I gotta have my hand pockets. For me it is a much more comfortable (not to mention natural) feeling for me to rest my hands inside jacket pockets rather than pants pockets.

darkage
09-02-2011, 00:47
Little late to the game...

I bought the MB Down Inner Jacket. I loved it. The fit was perfect (5'10" ~ 200 lb ~ Size XL). It was pretty dang light (7.6 oz) and warm. Plus, it shed wind like nobodies business! Plus, it was black and dangit, it was just sexy... perfect...

Montbell UL Down Inner jacket (http://sticksblog.com/clothing/jackets/mont-bell-ul-down-inner-jacket/)

Then I decided I had better go with a Parka...bottom line, this was my main insulation. My layering system on top goes like this: Patagonia Cap 2 long sleeve--> Patagonia R1 Flash Pull Over--> Montbell UL Down Inner Parka--> Hard shell. This should be fine for me here in the SE as I am not expecting temps to be much below 10F (0 with the wind chill). The way I looked at it is that I am not rich enough right now to own both the jacket and the parka, so I would err on the side of a little extra warmth.

The parka is the same as the jacket, except it has a hood and it weighs a little more, about 1.5 oz more. Fit is the same and warmth is the same. However, I had to go with a less than sexy green color...(why can't the parka be in black?) Still, color is no issue on the trail, and even so, this green is not a bad choice by no means (beats a bright neon color!)

Montbell UL Down Inner Parka
(http://sticksblog.com/clothing/jackets/mont-bell-ul-down-inner-parka/)
In the meantime, I purchased the Black Rock Gear Down Hat...Of course, it was light, warm and in black (super-sexy). In retrospect, this hat with the jacket would have been sufficient, but I have decided to still err on the side of a little extra warmth.

Black Rock Gear Down Hat (http://sticksblog.com/clothing/hats/black-rock-gear-down-hat/)

As well, I also got the MB Alpine Light Parka to wear as a more so around home type jacket, but still have the option to take it on the trail if I think I really need it. I like that the shell is 30D so it is a little tougher than that of the UL Down Inner. Plus it has almost twice the down fill. This thing is huge, and now that I have it, I cannot see myself needing it on the trail. My XL version weighs in at 16 oz so it is not the super lightest either (although it is still lighter than the thinner synthetic jacket I used to carry as this insulating piece!) However, I am just as pleased with the parka overall. It seems to be constructed nicely. No loose hems, everything is lined up as it should be. Although, I do wonder if I a large would fit me ok. The XL seems to be a little baggier on me than the Down Inner's, but maybe this is because it is just a thicker, bigger coat.)

One thing about the UL Down Inner's though is that they do leak down. I noticed it occasionally on the back of the jacket. It seemed to be worse if I sat back against something for a while (such as when sitting in a chair and leaned back against the chair's back). But they both compress really well and loft back up well. Holding them up to a light source they both seemed to be filled in at all corners, so no empty baffles. The only mod I have made to my Parka is that I cut out the cinch cord in the bottom (waist) hem. I would never used it and it saved me about 0.2/3 oz!

It seams like the general consensus for temps with the UL Down items is about 30F, but for me, with the cap 2 long sleeve shirt, and the R1 beneath it, plus with my hard shell over it, I can easily take it down to single digits (again, here in the SE). Also, the reason I went with the UL Down Inner pieces over the Ex Light is because I gotta have my hand pockets. For me it is a much more comfortable (not to mention natural) feeling for me to rest my hands inside jacket pockets rather than pants pockets.

Thanks for the post sticks, watched your video reviews on the products btw ... post is well said, exactly why i went with the one i did and glad i left the alpine out as an option ... while warm, it sounds overkill ... cant wait for mine to come in the mail!

darkage
09-06-2011, 14:10
Got my parka in the mail today, first impressions are wow ... love it ... exactly what i wanted, i was worried about the XXL being way too big or the fit being retarded, but it fits great ... which is hard for us big athletic type builds to get ... It is less lofty than i expected ... but when i tried it on in the air conditioning, you could instantly feel the warmth just begin to build up inside .... i think it's gonna be a great peice for my layering system. Thanks for all who helped me decide which to roll with, i love ultra light gear, but i won't go as light as losing features like the EX ... pockets and hood were something i wanted, even if other's don't think they do ... HYOH ... see ya's out there in march!

ChinMusic
09-06-2011, 14:46
If you are anything like me you will appreciate the down jacket for camp/breaks. I am fine while moving at almost any temp. I just got tired of being chilled/cold at camp. It cut into my enjoyment as I would have to hit the bag early. I now go with a VERY warm Nunatak Skaha with a couple ounces of overfill. I ain't cold anymore.

The parka allows me to go with a lighter sleeping bag as I am comfortable easily down to 20 in my 30 bag when I am wearing the parka. This helps to negates the weight difference between the Skaha and say the Montbell.

I would drop the parka when things warm up.

yappy
09-16-2011, 12:28
Oh geez now I want 1 ! Lol

Burklow
09-21-2011, 21:23
Used a Patagonia down sweater last winter, but sold it and just bought a Montbell down inner jacket on clearance. The Montbell is half the weight 12.1oz vs 6.0oz for both size small and cheaper than the Patagonia sweater.

No really cold days yet to try it out, but I am very pleased with the quality and construction of the Montbell so far.

darkage
09-21-2011, 21:57
Yup, can't go wrong with montbell ... my brother just ordered one cause he liked mine so much ...