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#203000 - 05/11/19 05:22 AM "big" Down jacket for the campsite
Mbphoto Offline

Registered: 01/16/19
Posts: 37
Loc: Switzerland
I'm in the market for a "big fluffy" down jacket (although, I'll take a unicorn too, if you find one laugh )

I already have an OR transcendent down jacket (with hood, but that still works formidably with my 3L Gore-Tex jacket on top) for hiking in the very cold climates and such.

What I'm looking for now, is a jacket to be worn around camp, in the evening/morning, when it's really cold, and for photography of the night sky and Milky Way in lat summer (around freezing and below).

I ordered a collection of Down jackets, because I had no idea how warm each one would be (unfortunately, there's no rating like with the sleeping bags) and because the common reviews would basically sell you every single one of them for a July expedition to the South Pole..

I'm not a gram counter or anything, but if I can get the "same" performance at 2/3 the weight, I'm interested.

The prices are very interesting too, since I got most at a heavy discount.
For the sake of simplicity, lets just use "credits" as a currency, because the relative prices are important.

I provide the weight for a size medium with the down rating and weight and the price below.

- Mountain Equipment Lightline jacket (740g with 296g of 700cuin Down in size large) for 330 credits

- Mountain Equipment Skyline jacket (445g with 180g of 700cuin Down in size Large) for 260 credits

- Mountain Equipment Vega jacket (620g with 235g of 800cuin Down in size Large) for 400+ credits (couldn't find a special offer on that one!)

- Rab Infinity G jacket (488g with 240g of 850cuin Down in size Large) for 260 credits

- La Sportiva Command jacket (536g with 170g of 700cuin Down in a size Large) for 235 credits

- Norrona Falketind 750 Down jacket (460g with ???g of 750cuin Down) for 290 credits

- Norrona Lyngen 850 Down jacket (340g with ???g of 850cuin Down)for 235 credits

I haven't yet received the two Norrona jackets, so cannot say anything about them yet.

Here are my findings so far:
- the La Sportiva Command jacket is simply too "in your face" for my taste. The jacket (orange with orange) is too heavy and the down appears to be too tighlty packed. Also, it sounds like you're wearing a plastic bag.

- The Lightline jacket is a favourite among many, usually selling for a good price and packing a ton of down. I ordered one in Legion blue (gorgeous colour) and one in blaze orange (also very nice!) and realised that size Large is too big for me. The jacket overall feels too bulky and heavy for my intentions. Also, the price I paid isn't very attractive. I'd have to wait for a special offer.

- The skyline jacket came at an okay price, I absolutely love the cosmos blue (my sleeping bag's colour!) and the size Large fits me well (curious thing, same size down jackets from one manufacturer and the same year being completely differen!)
Two things I don't like that much: it also feels a little plasticky and seems awfully thin. (like, I'm afraid it's not "big and fluffy" enough!) Lastly, I would've preferred, if they had the interior fabric in a yellow or orange (like most other jackets, and my sleeping bag!)

- the Vega jacket feels great with amazing quality fabric and I love the orange colour (cardinal orange) but, again, is slightly too large in size Large (but not by as much as the lightline jacket. In fact, I think a size M might be too tight when wearing my fleece 2nd layer underneath. O.o ) Also, the Vega appears to have the "fattest" baffles of all the jackets I've ordered. If I could get this for below 300 credits, I guess I'd go with a Vega. (Does anyone know, if the cosmos blue one has an orange/yellow interior? Because the red and orange ones that I have here both have a contrasting colour interior fabric)

- the Rab infinity G is only here because I found it at a hefty discount online, and got another 20% on top of that (down from 440 credits to 260 credits). Now, it looks a little weird.. (Like the rich and spoiled folks on the skiing slopes with their super puffy and shiny 2'000 dollar jackets with fur collars.)
It also feels a little weird, again making sounds like a plastic bag.
But, man! It's super light and feels super warm and comfortable. (And, once again, a Size Large is okay for me)
I love the colour combo (blue with mustard inside) and the often critsized hood is not an issue for my big head, but the very fragile and shiny outer fabric (along with those weird square baffles in the front) are a buzz-killer for me.

- From what I've read so far, both the Norrona jackets have below 200g down filling, and will therefore likely not go into round two.

My current verdict:
- If I could get the Vega jacket for 300 credits (around 230 GBP) or less, I'd definitely go with that one, in a size Medium, despite the weight increase of roughly 120g over the Rab Infinity G. I believe, the Vega would last me longer and it seems to be warmer still, while looking prettier too laugh
(the conversion for our Swiss Francs (credits) to USD is basically 1 to 1 right now, and 1 CHF is 0.76 GBP and 0.88 EUR.)

- If there's no chance of finding a Vega at such a "low" price, I'll probably keep the Rab.

Since you guys have much more experience, what would you suggest?
Unless it's the real deal, please don't throw even more jackets into the mix wink

P.S.: I know that a jacket can be "too warm", just like a sleeping bag. However, just like a sleeping bag, one can open the zipper to regulate the temperature easily and comfortably. If the jacket, on the other hand, is too cold, you're kinda fugged.
So, I don't need an expedition down jacket with 400g of 1000cuin Down, but I'm happy to carry 400 to 600g of jacket in my backpack, if I'm kept warm and cozy around camp in the evening.

#203002 - 05/11/19 03:08 PM Re: "big" Down jacket for the campsite [Re: Mbphoto]
Bill Kennedy Offline

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 262
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I have no experience with any of those jackets, but it occurs to me that since they're all fairly heavy you might consider using two lighter jackets layered.

Personally, I get cold easily, so always carry a down jacket. Sometimes, though, it's too much. So, a thin down jacket plus a thin synthetic jacket works better for me because it's more versatile. Also, I like the idea of having a synthetic jacket in case of a worst-case situation where things get wet.

Having a hood is definitely desirable. I'm not sure if all the jackets you mention have hoods, but I'd eliminate any that don't.

At the risk of muddying the waters further, Montbell has some you could look at. Maybe the Alpine Light parka.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

#203003 - 05/11/19 03:58 PM Re: "big" Down jacket for the campsite [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Glenn Roberts Online   content

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1866
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I’d second Montbell. If their puffier pieces are half as good as the Superior jacket and pants I’ve got, you can’t go wrong.

Have you considered down pants, too? With pants keeping your legs warm, you might get by with a lighter jacket (works for me, but not everyone reacts to the cold the same. If my legs and feet get cold, I can’t find a warm enough jacket. With a light pair of down pants and down booties keeping them warm, I can get by with a light jacket.)

Down pants, booties and jacket also add 10+ degrees to my quilt’s warmth.

#203004 - 05/11/19 04:37 PM Re: "big" Down jacket for the campsite [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Mbphoto Offline

Registered: 01/16/19
Posts: 37
Loc: Switzerland
All of them have hoods. I wanted the Transcendent not to have one, because that's the "light down jacket to use with my gore-tex 3L for everyday hiking and wet weather" and it's easier for a midlayer if it does not have a hood, but I kept the hooded one bc it's not an issue.

I don't think 488g is very heavy, though, since my CMP down jacket (my daily jacket for the current season) weighs 450g with the stuff sack and contains maybe 100g of down.

I'm considering a pair of puffy Haglöfs shorts (synthetics) for skitouring and camp sitting, but my legs aren't the issue.
With my merino first layer, I wasn't cold even up at 4'500m in Nepal, where people's drinking bottles froze..

#203005 - 05/11/19 05:39 PM Re: "big" Down jacket for the campsite [Re: Mbphoto]
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Does your "cuin" designation mean "fill power" of each down. ((for example,900 down is 90% down vs feathers) Weight of the down alone differs depending on fill power. Goose down is the most expensive and the "gold standard" of down. Duck down is a lot less pricey- never had it but I hear it does smell a bit more and the loft does not last as long. They now have down treated with a waterproofing, so there still is some loft when wet. You did not say what kind of down in each jacket. Another big consideration is the baffle construction. Overlapping baffles are warmer than sewn through baffles. Small construction details also make a difference, such as how the cuff closures on the arms, size of zipper baffle on the front. And hood design is also a factor in warmth. The denier of the fabric will also impact the "breathability" of the jacket. So there are a lot of other factors than weight and fill-power.

My husband has a North Face Expedition jacket that he actually uses with an elephant's foot instead of a sleeping bag. I am very envious when he simply wears it on cold mornings and I have to crawl out of my cozy down sleeping bag. You may want to consider this sleep system- your jacket doubles for sleeping and sitting up. By the way- down jackets around sparks of a campfire = potential damage. Be careful! Always have a few stick-on nylon patches so you can plug those holes.

In considering cost, it depends on how much you use the jacket. If it is your main jacket and you will use it for years, I think a moderate difference in price should not be a factor. Just get the best. I have often choked on the price of an item, but once used, never regretted it.

Is Mountain Equipment MEC (the Canadian equivalent to REI?) IF so their brand stuff is reliable quality.

What you call "weird square baffles" that you do not like may actually be warmer than others. I would not get hung up on looks or color. We who choose discount priced jackets often have to put up with less favorite colors.

You may be competing with Glen as far as who owns more backpack equipment! LOL.

#203006 - 05/11/19 08:08 PM Re: "big" Down jacket for the campsite [Re: wandering_daisy]
Glenn Roberts Online   content

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1866
Loc: Southwest Ohio
So, Daisy, are you hinting that I need to spend more time in the shops and less on the trail? smile

#203007 - 05/12/19 03:00 AM Re: "big" Down jacket for the campsite [Re: wandering_daisy]
Mbphoto Offline

Registered: 01/16/19
Posts: 37
Loc: Switzerland
You got something mixed up there.

The Cuin rating is the "fillpower", as it tells you how many cubic inches (cuin) a certain weight (1oz I guess?) of the down will fill.
So,1000cuin is the best there is, but 650 to 850 are more common.

All the jackets listed have a 90/10 or better ratio between down and feathers and most are afaik goose down.
Also, all have zipper baffles but none is a boxwall construction. I guess, that's not common with these lightweight jackets.

You should definitely check out Mountain Equipment, they have superb quality products at reasonable prices. Not a company to bombard you with ads like some others, but definitely one to consider.

The rab infinity G has nikwax treated goose down, but only a 7 denier pertex quantum fabric. It's very delicate.
The Mountain Equipment jackets all have weather resistant 20/30/40 denier nylon shells but untreated down inside.

As a last resort, I can always put my gore-tex jacket on top.

P.s.: I don't own all of these. I ordered them and will send all but one back once I made my decision. We don't have any stores where you could find more than two of those big fluffy ones at once.

Edited by Mbphoto (05/12/19 03:48 AM)

#203016 - 05/14/19 12:15 AM Re: "big" Down jacket for the campsite [Re: Mbphoto]
Rick_D Offline

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2879
Loc: NorCal
Am fond of the Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer line of down gear. The men's down jacket is about 8 ounces w/ 800ci, moisture-resistant fill and 7D fabric. Do NOT scrape against ragged granite.

My Trail, formerly GoLite, has more affordable yet still high-quality options. To be honest, there are infinitely more options than ten, fifteen years ago when we had Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends and a scant few others to choose from. Good down used to be very hard to source and the super-light fabrics simply didn't exist. At some point, the shell becomes the main weight, not the fill.

#203017 - 05/14/19 01:08 AM Re: "big" Down jacket for the campsite [Re: Rick_D]
Mbphoto Offline

Registered: 01/16/19
Posts: 37
Loc: Switzerland
The ghost whisperer seems to be a significantly slimmer cousin of the Rab infinity G.
I'm sure this is great during activities and in the summer evenings, but not something to wear in the alps in late fall/winter when sitting around camp.

If we ever get there, I want the jacket with me when we hike Kilimanjaro.


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