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What down jacket?

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:33 pm
by Npike
Hey all,

I'll be in the market for a new down jacket soon and wanted to ask for some reccomondations. I'll be wearing mine on trips in the summer only and around town during the winter, so mainly temps into possibly 20's? What do you like/ dislike about yours? I have a flexible budget as I know this is something I'll have for quite some time. Any advice helps. Thanks!

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:00 pm
by AlmostThere
I have three of the basic down jackets - from Rab, Marmot and one other which the brand escapes me right now. They are all good to maybe freezing, somewhat below. Then I add a layer underneath 'them.

If I wanted a down jacket for below 25 or so, and expected to spend a lot of time at those temps, I would spring for something box baffled instead of sewn through, probably spending $300 or so instead of the 80-150 range jackets I currently have.

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:58 pm
by Asolthane
I have only ever had 2 down jackets, a Marmot Zeus and a Marmot Quazar. I use the Zeus around town and keep the Quasar with my kit for the backcountry. The Quazar is more expensive and lighter with a higher fill down, and is about as warm. I got it for half off from I like the fit. If I had it to do over again I would have strongly considered the version with the hood.

My guess you get what you pay for, generally speaking, and you should look for something on sale that has the fit you like.

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:34 am
by steiny98
I really like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer. I have used this with a long sleeve thermal underneath and been warm in the 30s. I will also throw on my rainshell for added warmth. I found this to be one of the better products for warmth:weight ratio. I had my eye on this product and nabbed it on sale... otherwise it can be very expensive. When shopping for down jackets, always compare the down fill type (600 vs 800, 800 being warmer) and the fill weight (you want more fill weight). I've also heard that the Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket is quite good.

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:07 am
by MarchingOn
I have 4 down jackets that vary in use and style. I'll try to be brief in what I like and the descriptions.

1. I also have the Marmot Quasar. Marmot Mediums fit me incredibly well. 5'11' 165 lbs. (I also own a few of their fleece and a soft-shell. I did go with the Quasar Hood version and I love having the extra head warmth. When i bought it, it was marketed as a 900 fill down, but Marmots website now describes it as a 800+ fill. It is upwards of $300 but I also got mine at a discount from Moosejaw. Packs down small, is very light and warm. Here's what you might consider the negatives but they are not deal breakers in the least. Elastic only around the hood. No drawstring but it stays snug around your face. This is my go to for backcountry outings.

2. Sierra Designs Super Stratus (with Hood), (I don't know if this is still commercially available) This was one of the first Dri-Down jackets on the market I think. It is 800 fill. This is a bit longer than the Quasar and help keeps your backside warm. Sleeves are a bit longer with thumb holes. Really nice feature keeps the sleeves from riding up when putting your hands in and out of the pockets. The full neck zip up is really nice and is separate from the hood. This is really comfortable when wanting the warmth of being fully zipped but keeping the hood off. (Something the Quasar is not as comfortable doing.) The hood is fully adjustable. It also has inside pockets. This is by far the most comfortable to wear of the jackets I own. (This is no longer represented on SierraDesigns website. There was a Stratus and Super Stratus. This Super Stratus had more down and a hood. It still might be available from some retailers)

3. Marmot Stockholm. This is a big puffy. But still compresses down well (enough). It is 650 fill down. I did use this in the backcountry a coupe times before I bought my Quasar. It is not practical to wear with a backpack, just used it for keeping warm at camp evenings and mornings. The fleece cuffed sleeves are incredibly comfortable and warm and help keep draft out and sleeves down. The hood is detachable. Not very practical for backcountry though as its heavier and bulkier, mainly marketed as an "around town" jacket.

4. Mont•bell U.L.DOWN This pack down incredibly small. It is really just a down sweater though. No pockets, no hood, cut just at the waist line. Really just works well as a base layer under a shell due to the higher hem line. This doesn't get much use.

Depending on factors such as the zipper type, your body type, etc, some zippers will bend outward when you're sitting down or bent over. This was a complaint I remember reading about one of the Patagonia down jackets . And was also my experience. I bought this jacket and returned it for the same reason.

My wife wears the Mountain Hardware Phantom which is 850 and I think the Men's version would be a good option too.

I highly recommend the Quasar. It is the most expensive ($300+) but is my favorite for backcountry. It is probably warmer than the Stratus as I think the Stratus is sewn-through and not baffled. The really nice thing about the Stratus is the quilted design. All the quilted squares keep the down from moving around, like it does in bigger baffles.

Here's few quick links for visual reference

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:26 am
by Snowtrout
I bought a Eddie Bauer Men's Downlight StormDown Jacket. Great light jacket, works well in temps from 30-50 degrees and bought it on sale for under $100. Wife also bought one last year (on sale) and saw lots of use. I also liked and nearly bought the Montbell Alpine light down jacket before finding the EB one.

Another possible inexpensive option is look at your local Costco. Some stores will have some ok down jackets and vests for $30-40.

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:09 am
by Npike
Very good info, some of these jackets are on the list of ones I want to check out on my next REI visit. Unfortunately that's the only outdoor store near me, so I'll wait until they have another 20% deal, usually around thanksgiving. But the marmot jacket is 45% right now on backcountry. Might have to pull the trigger and take my chances!

Anyone have experience with western mountaineering gear? Very (very) pricey, but like someone mentioned, you get what you pay for!

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:32 am
by MarchingOn
I haven't owned any WM gear. They are "down only" specialist. One of their sleeping bags is on my wishlist though. The WM jacket looks pretty comparable to the Quasar in quality and price, nearly same weight and fill rating. Marmot does not provide their fill weight, only overall jacket weight. The WM has similar quilted design that the Super Stratus has. Good luck! I think $210 for the Quasar is a good deal!

Wanted to add that the Quasar fits pretty well under Marmot ROM soft-shell, without feeling to tight or constricting. Unlike a puffier jacket that may not work well with a hard or soft-shell being over it.

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:00 pm
by AlmostThere
I don't think I have ever heard a complaint about WM -- people think they are too expensive, but those are just the people who don't actually own the gear. Other brands you will hear all kinds of things about being underrated, but never heard that about WM, usually just the opposite. I'm pretty sure if I was not happy with the quilts I have that I would be saving up for a WM bag and never utter a bad word about it.

Re: What down jacket?

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:40 pm
by maverick
Hi Nick,

You very well may be able to afford that Western Mountaineering Jacket, or others: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=11017 ;)