I'm in the market for a "big fluffy" down jacket (although, I'll take a unicorn too, if you find one
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
with 296g of 700cuin
Down in size large) for 330 credits
- Mountain Equipment Skyline
with 180g of 700cuin
Down in size Large) for 260 credits
- Mountain Equipment Vega
with 235g of 800cuin
Down in size Large) for 400+ credits (couldn't find a special offer on that one!)
- Rab Infinity G
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
(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
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.