/ Advice wanted- best insulating jacket
Belaying where? Halfway up some wind-blasted high Scottish cliff whilst ice or mixed climbing? Get a belay jacket: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1375 But if you mean for general cragging, not mountaineering then you can be less fussy.
If using as a belay jacket, I would go synthetic, primaloft being the benchmark. You can throw a synthetic jacket over everything else and not worry about it getting wet.
I am a couple of years out of date on current jackets, I like my Haglofs barrier zone, 130g primaloft in the body, long fit and a nice big hood.
ME Alpamayo (Womens fitzroy) for the UK, ME Citadel abroad. Done deal.
Had an optimus, hood not good for a belay jacket unless drastically improved recently!
Most people will go for a synthetic fill garment, as down although having the best warmth to weight ratio, looses much of it's heat retaining properties when wet. Waterproof down garments do exist but the waterproof shell adds considerable weight, bulk and cost. More details on insulation here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=5105
So synthetic fill is probably best, but how much do you need? Well this will depend on how hot you run and what other layers you are using. However as a generalisation most brands go for 100g in the body, with perhaps 60g in the arms.
As I said above if you want a women's specific jacket then you have a shorter list to choose from. However, as a belay jacket is designed to go all your other layers, a womens's specific cut may not have much relevance as the jacket simply needs to be 'big'. Also on cut, just like men's jackets, various brands will have differing interpretations of a female cut, and therefore trying the jacket on is vital to find one that fits you, especially when your wearing your other gear.
Female specific, synthetic belay jackets to consider (some already mentioned above) listed roughly in order of warmth:
Mountain Equipment Women's Citadel Jacket: http://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/the_gear/clothing/insulation/womens_citadel_jacket---719/
Arc'teryx Women's Atom SV Hoody: http://www.arcteryx.com/Product.aspx?EN/Womens/Atom-SV-Hoody-W
The Mountain Equipment Women's Alpa Mayo Jacket is also good but not as warm as the Citdael. http://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/the_gear/clothing/insulation/womens_alpamayo_jacket_---282/
The North Face Women's Meru Jacket http://uk.thenorthface.com/tnf-uk-en/women-s/shop-by-category/jackets/summit-series-jackets/women-s-...
Jacket that are also good but designed more as a mid layer.
These sometimes get used as belay jackets for people who don't need as much warmth or because the warmer jackets out there are all aimed at men.
The North Face Women's RP Optimus Jacket
Montane Women's Flux Jacket
Marmot Women's Dena Jacket
Rab Women's Photon Hoody
Haglofs Barrier II Q Hood (Women's)
Berghaus Women's Ignite Insulated Hoody
Above all I would get to as many shops as possible and try lots of jackets on. Hope this helps.
Alpkit filo http://www.alpkit.com/shop/cart.php?target=category&category_id=301 £120
Phd made to measure or off the shelf choices with amendments to your size http://www.phdesigns.co.uk/index.php £140 upwards!
Also there are some deals on womens Arcteryx Atom SV which will fit your bill really well- saw one at £126 v's £180 rrp. Nice colours and superb jacket (was pissed off the deal was only on womens- think it was with Snow and Rock).
Hope this helps
Thanks guys, that really helps. I run cold, really cold, even in summer. And I don't ice climb (yet). Definitely got some things for me to think about, then off to the shops to try them out!
Wife has an ME Alpamayo that's never off her back - she's never complained about the cold on a hill day in the Scottish winter since she got it.
I have just sold mine as it was slightly too small on my arms, buying the next size up, and my wife has one and she loves it, Patagonia Winter sun hoody:
Awesome piece of kit that I have used for belaying, ice climbing, skiing and my other half has used hers to go to Asda but she does love it!
There are several Primaloft variants: make sue you're getting Primaloft One (Haglöfs / Arcteryx proprietary name variants are also ok)
... and in numerous other articles on the same site. (Dane also pops up here occasionally)
The down vs synthetic question is now complicated by the appearance of effective water resistant down, e.g. Berghaus' HydroDown, used in their Ilam down jacket. Sadly, I can't see a women's version... Oh, there is one.
Other manufacturers are also using similar down treatments, making down items that are less vulnerable in wet conditions.
Partially due to my under active thyroid and medically poor circulation, but yes I should generally be a little more active and healthier!
I agree that the 100g body/ 60g arms type spec is what many/ most people want from a jacket like this, but I personally want more warmth than that. By the sound of it Jenni, you may too.
Me and my ex both have Arteryx Kappa hoodies, which have substantially more insulation and the design is excellent (e.g. big and very adjustable hood). Otherwise, the ME Citadel; some will prefer its Pertex shell over Windstopper.
> Partially due to my under active thyroid and medically poor circulation, but yes I should generally be a little more active and healthier!
Sorry I didn't mean to imply you were lazy or overweight :(
Actually the opposite - what I meant was you should eat and drink plenty of fatty calories in the cold to fuel your body and wave your arms and legs about to get warm!
Damp conditions not massively cold: A North Face optimus jacket RP jacket.
Damp conditions, cold and windy: A North Face optimus jacket RP jacket with a good wind proof over the top.
Dry and cold: A Montane Men's North Star Down Jacket
ps. she adores her Montane down jacket
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