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#201901 - 10/11/18 05:00 AM Down Jacket Question
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 127
Loc: Portland, Oregon
It appears I may have a little money to spend on gear soon, and I've been looking at lightweight down jackets. I have several, but I want one with a hood, and I'm not very confident of my ability to add a hood to an existing jacket. I've been looking at the MH Ghost Whisperer and the Montbell Superior Down Parka.

Which brings me to my question. I notice the newer lightweight down jackets have the sewn-through seams spaced very closely together. It seems as though that would make it much less wind resistant. Is it just a style thing, or am I missing something?
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#201903 - 10/11/18 06:09 AM Re: Down Jacket Question [Re: Bill Kennedy]
GrumpyGord Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 885
Loc: Michigan
Since the YUPPIES took over most of the outdoor clothing manufactures have catered to them. They are a much larger market than the outdoor folk and they replace their clothing much more often than the outdoor folk. Most of my backpacking clothes is years old and looks like a homeless person. Example: North Face is fashion, not function.

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#201904 - 10/11/18 10:39 AM Re: Down Jacket Question [Re: GrumpyGord]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1809
Loc: Napa, CA
Or is it that you don't want to be seen in the same clothes as those people you disdain on the street? What experience have you had with recent TNF clothing that failed?

My experience is that the newer equipment is often lighter than the older stuff...and I worry about it lasting. But I also enjoy the fact that I can carry a much lighter pack today than I did 25 years ago. And I have not had any of my newer equipment fail on me....
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#201906 - 10/11/18 01:39 PM Re: Down Jacket Question [Re: balzaccom]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1582
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I tend to fall in to the group that wouldn’t take the new North Face stuff on the trail. I do have to admit that a lot of that feeling is because I remember when TNF was what we all aspired to own: great tents, outstanding backpacks (Dana Design was the only one in their league), and sleeping bags (revered in the way we feel about Western Mountaineering today.)

Then they quite making gear and the clothing side sold out to the college-campus, outdoorsy-look wannabes fashion trend, and for quite a while, their stuff was junk - lots of cotton, fashion-first design that looked great. I’ve heard they’re getting better.

Eventually, they re-entered the outdoor gear market, and tried to step up their clothing game. I had a friend who bought one of their half-a-rainfly tents; it failed miserably in the first night of showers. I talked to people who found their backpacks uncomfortable, and their sleeping bag ratings optimistic (to put it mildly.) I’ve heard they’ve gotten better.

My own clothing evaluation is that they’re now offering items that are built to take outdoors, but that are missing details. I’ve seen “down” (mostly duck) vests that don’t have elastic armholes and that use snaps instead of zippers, and sweater/jackets with no adjustment to tighten the hood around your face.

Can you make their stuff work? Probably, and in fair weather it may work great. I’m still not confident enough that I’d take it on a trip where I had to rely on it. They do seem to be getting better, though. (For what it’s worth, I feel the same about Eddie Bauer, Columbia, and LL Bean. Eddie Bauer is totally fashion; Columbia is great if you ski, not so much backpacking; LL Bean is good stuff, but heavy and mostly for car-camping.)

I still keep looking at what they offer; it’s just not what it used to be (and you might be well-advised to ignore that particular bias.)

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#201907 - 10/11/18 01:45 PM Re: Down Jacket Question [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1582
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I would feel that it would, too. Having said that, I’m not sure it matters; in fact, the last jacket I bought (OR Transcendant Hoody) had the narrow baffles. I notice that the 2019 version of that jacket has baffles that are about twice as wide.

So why don’t I think the wind proof-ness of the down garment matters? Because, if it’s windy, I layer my Pertex rain jacket over it as a windbreaker - eliminating any potential problems with the insulated jacket.

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#201908 - 10/11/18 02:34 PM Re: Down Jacket Question [Re: Bill Kennedy]
JustWalking Offline
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 194
Loc: PNW
I'm a fan of the Montbell Superior Down Parka (I own one and have taken it on a number of trips this year). Not such a fan of the MH Ghost Whisperer (had one a couple of years ago, got rid of it pretty quickly). FWIW.

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#201911 - 10/11/18 03:17 PM Re: Down Jacket Question [Re: JustWalking]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 127
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I have the Montbell "down inner" which I think was the precursor of the Superior Parka. If it had a hood, I wouldn't even be looking, and it's certainly less expensive than the Ghost Whisperer.

What didn't you like about the Ghost Whisperer?

I've been following Dixie on the CDT (Homemade Wanderlust channel on YouTube) and I've noticed that she's been using the Ghost Whisperer all along, sometimes hiking in it and sleeping in it, and it's held up well. I think she used the same one on the PCT, which certainly speaks well for it's durability despite the very light fabric. I'm kind of impressed that apparently the water-resistant down treatment works.


Edited by Bill Kennedy (10/11/18 03:50 PM)
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Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#201912 - 10/11/18 03:28 PM Re: Down Jacket Question [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 127
Loc: Portland, Oregon
_________________________
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#201917 - 10/11/18 10:45 PM Re: Down Jacket Question [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 294
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
As I recall someone did some fairly careful measuring of various sewn-through down jacket configurations and did NOT find that the increased number of quilt panels changed anything. Quite a surprise and that is why I remember it. Probably the Backpackinglite.com site. They tend to be somewhat scientific or at least are careful about measuring things and reporting results. All that being said; i purchased a "My Trail" 800 fill power hooded down jacket to replace one I lost on the trail. I had done lots of research and it was a very high quality jacket at a reasonable price. I am stoked about it and carry it always in my pack (14 ounces). I wrote a review for MyTrail but don't know if it was ever posted. it turned out PERFECT for me replacing he one I lost.
https://mytrailco.com/collections/mens-down-jackets/products/down-ul-hooded-jacket-ms
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